Killzone PS2 Review
I didn’t know what to expect from this game, obviously the name Killzone hinted at a simple action game but it turned out different. After the first few missions the game actually showed a bit of potential. What a shame that things only went downhill from this point on.
Simple but mostly flawed, I will never understand why it would ever take 10 headshots to kill an enemy. Even worse is the way that a simple melee attack, which results in 3 hits with the butt of your weapon, does take the enemy down. Anyway, there are some interesting things in Killzone but most don’t work out too well. For example you will meet up with other guys and a girl that will join your squad up to the point that you can pick from 4 characters for a mission. These 4 all start with different weapons and have other minor differences, which looked great at first. The problem however is that because it takes so many bullets to take out a single enemy, and because there are quite a bit of enemies in every mission, you will soon start to use whatever weapons you can find anyway. In fact I would often replace my starting weapon for whatever weapons the enemy had so I would know for sure that I would never run out of ammo. Just one example of many features that just don’t work. On top of this, this game is one of the buggiest games I’ve ever played in my life. Getting stuck, buttons not reacting and other minor issues will plague everybody sooner or later.
I’m getting ahead of myself; let me get a few things straight. You start off as Templar; he plays like a grunt in every way because of his standard weapon and standard health. Later you meet up with Luger, a female assassin that has absolutely stunning moves like ‘crawl’, which allows her to go prone and move under objects – wow! Gameplay for her should be great, but it isn’t. Stealth just doesn’t work in a game this linear, and even when you do crawl your way behind the enemy you will quickly discover that shooting them in the back isn’t much fun either. She has low health but she is also the only one that can accurately fire a single bullet, which is a lot more effective when facing a single enemy than spamming away like other characters have to do. Then there is Rico, the machine gunner. He also has a lot of health; in fact it seems almost impossible to kill him. For some reason his starting weapon can also fire rockets, which, like a lot of things in Killzone is strange but never explained. Lastly there is Hakha the Helghan traitor. This guy seems to handle Helghan weapons better than others. He can carry more ammo for most Helghan weapons and the crosshair is a more accurate one than when humans use these weapons. Picking one of these characters automatically means that the others will be in your squad as support. They won’t use their weapons very often so usually the best thing they can do is play target while you fire at the enemy. You can’t give any orders to your team mates either so most of the time they are really useless, but they are also immortal so again they make excellent targets.
AI is horrible in Killzone; the enemy is slow and predictable. During my entire experience with this game I found the game extremely easy except for the times that the enemy had grenade launchers. This automatically made the game very hard since the levels are linear; the only tactic is to attack head on. I already explained that your own teammates are useless as well but there are more reasons why the gameplay in Killzone is mediocre. For example the accurate bullet of Luger might be very effective against a single enemy but against hordes she stands no chance, not even when your 3 teammates are standing right next to you. No, to win all you have to do is take Rico and starting shooting away. Unfortunately in Killzone aiming is not as important as firepower. Sometimes your team mates will try and boost this firepower by giving suppressive fire: they will yell “Suppressive fire!” and then miss on purpose.
Still, it is not the gameplay that results in the low score. At the end of the day I am sure quite a bit of gamers enjoy shooting left and right killing scary looking enemies. I can honestly say I had some fun here and there as well. I even laughed out loud when the enemy took cover behind explosive barrels, or when I killed a dozen enemies with a knife. Gameplay is simple, limited and flawed in many ways. Still, it can provide simple and limited fun.
Unacceptable. Sure models look nice and there are some great animations in game as well: Nothing makes sense, but even I thought the shaky camera was neat. The problem is that Killzone rarely runs stable, most of the time it has framerate issues. Because of this I have now a headache. Most animations such as reloading or climbing a ladder make the screen shake left and right. I mentioned this was neat. But when the screen shakes with 10 frames per second, or worse, most players will get a headache or get nauseous. Whether the developers didn’t put enough effort to make sure the game runs fluently or that the PS2 just can’t handle this much graphical violence, releasing a game in this state is pathetic.
In my opinion, this is the only thing done right. For some reason I liked the crazy voices that the enemy has. The voices of your teammates are also pretty good but the dialogue itself is of less quality. Most voices do become repetitive and in the end even annoying, but because they keep yelling left and right about all sorts of things you will constantly be reminded that you are in a fire fight. Weapon sounds were good enough. As for music, I have no complaints here.
Assuming you don’t throw the game out of the window, Killzone can actually last pretty long. You can even play it online, unfortunately it has the same problems online as offline. The single player isn’t shorter than in other shooters and you might even want to replay a few missions with other characters. Chances are you never want to see this game again, though. So even though there is plenty of material, the game itself just isn’t good enough. Pity, without the framerate issues alone this game would last at least 20 hours. Now it will probably last less than 12.
Gameplay is below average but offers simple fun. Bugs, bad framerate, linear levels and horrible AI are responsible for the low overall score. This is the first game I’ve ever played that gave me a headache because of the framerate. Without a doubt, this is the biggest issue this game has. If the developers would try to keep the graphics simple like they kept the gameplay simple, the score would be a lot better. Unfortunately it was decided that a good looking game is more important than having a solid framerate, or better gameplay. Because of all these issues I just can’t do anything else but to recommend everybody to stay as far away from this game as possible.