Killzone 2: Review

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In the midst of all the excitement and hype, in a way you kind of feel bad for Killzone 2 and the journey it’s taken.  Starting with an initial outing for the franchise on the PS2 that never really lived up to the hype, though still technically impressive, people wondered if K2 would suffer the same fate.  Before a successful PSP title in Liberation, came the 2005 E3 trailer fiasco casting more doubt on the games chances at success that was to be eventually released almost four years later.  Even the days leading up to the release, people wondered if this was finally the exclusive FPS that would help further ignite PS3 sales in North America.  As Killzone 2 ultimately releases with all the weight on its’ shoulders, Console Creatures takes on the Higs and put them and all the wondering to rest (hint: it’s awesome).


The Pros

Many have said that Killzone 2 is the realization by Guerilla Studios of what Killzone should have always been.  If that’s the case, what dreams of grandeur they have always had.    Watching internet trailers or viewing screenshots of the game really doesn’t do the graphics any justice.  Once you experience it for yourself eyes-on, straight from your PS3, you will only then begin to realize that this is probably (technically) the best looking game you have seen so far.  But what compliments the graphics so well was the effort into the details and environments.  From the truly destructible surroundings, to each and every bullet trail that is represented visually and audibly, nothing was left out in creating the truly immersive war environment that is Helghan.

The tagline for the K2 campaign has been touted as “war perfected”, and each and every battle set you encounter reinforces that claim.  As you are thrown into these battles, you are enveloped in the frantic pace and the urgency of that specific situation.  With bullets coming at you from every direction, teammates and enemies yelling at you, constantly moving enemies, and attacks coming every which way, the feeling of being in the middle of full scale war (and not just one man’s mission within it) is what you’re left with. The enemy AI is intelligent and reactive, constantly moving between cover points in the interest of their own survival and positioning for attack.  In the single player campaign, you are provided with a cover mechanic yourself that proves to be intrinsic for these encounters adding to the realism and strategy.  Though it takes some getting used to, the cover system does help provide a unique game play experience adding a more strategic element in the single player along with the realism in the weight of the guns, their individual recoils and reloading times.

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As you play the protagonist Sergeant Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko in the single player campaign, the game never really forces a type of personality for him allowing you to personify the character as you please creating a first person attachment to the story.  The supporting cast is stereotypical for shooters but does their job in creating an overall mood for the game and helps the story progress nicely which eventually leaves you satisfied.

The multiplayer portion of the Killzone 2 is as deep as they come with up to 32 player matches, expansive levels that provide multi-layered access (vertically) with all the nooks, crannies and obstacles that will provide to be beneficial to your strategy and quest to consistently rank up through the 7 classes, unlocking new weapons and abilities as you move along and progress.

For the stat nuts, the game also links directly to the  Killzone 2 website for all the stats and rankings which is consistently uploaded.  Players are also able to create clans and tournaments via the website.  Also included is a neat battle replay feature that allows you to watch previously played multiplayer matches in a top down 2d format to  study and adjust your strategy or just for kicks.


The Cons

For those who like the run and gun type of a multiplayer shooter might be turned off with the more cerebral form K2 takes.  Regardless, though it is a rewarding multiplayer experience those looking to reap the benefits of those rewards are expected to be in it for long haul as each unlock takes quite a bit of time and specific experience to do so.

The one thing you’ll notice throughout the gameplay is the little loading hiccups here and there as you progress through the level.  Though it definitely does not hinder the pace of the game, it can get a bit annoying.  One would think if they added an optional install feature, this little nuisance could have been removed for those who were distracted by it.

With a lot of Sony published games, there seems to be the obligatory sixaxis motion control implementation and Killzone 2 is no exception.  With no real major role in the main game play, the motion controls seem a bit too tacked on and is somewhat unresponsive.  This is most noticeable when you enter a motion control sequence in the middle of the firefight and end up dying before doing what is intended of you via the sixaxis.


Here’s the Deal

My world of video games includes more than the genre of first person shooters.  However, for those whose gaming world doesn’t, this is a must buy.  The game stands out not because of a unique gimmick of sorts, but because it does everything a FPS should do extremely well.  Any PS3 owner should be proud to have this in their collection and should be taken as a sign of what the PS3 is capable of and possibly as a turning point for the system as a whole.  9.5/10  Sean C.

~ by consolecreatures on March 7, 2009.

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