When Killzone 2 was announced I was excited, it was one of those exclusives that I thought could be a game changer for the PS3. With the critical acclaim it had garnered before I thought that with all that time and more powerful hardware this game was sure to be a home run. But as they say, this is why we play the games.
Killzone 2 follows the events of Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, and takes place entirely on the planet Helghan, the home-world of the Helghast, who invaded an Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) colony. Two years after the Helghast assault on Vekta, the ISA has launched an assault on the enemy’s homeworld of Helghan. The ISA goal is to capture the Helghast leader, Emperor Scolar Visari, and bring the Helghast war machine to a halt. You will assume the role of Sergeant Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko, a battle-hardened veteran of the special forces unit Alpha Team, an elite force of soldiers they send in when stuff hits the fan.
They told you all that this would be quick and easy and that we would be out in two weeks, well they were wrong and it seems like in war they always are. Your team quickly discovers that the Helghast are a more formidable enemy on their home planet. Not only have they adjusted to Helghan’s hostile conditions, they have also harnessed the power of the freakish lightning storms that always occur on Helghan which they can now use against the ISA. A cold, barren, unforgiving world, Helghan provides a ready defense with thick, acidic air, dust clouds, and violent surgical lightning storms. You and your squad soon realize that your fiercest enemy may just be the planet itself.
Alpha Team, you better recognize.
The story in itself is great and the graphics and cinematics are spot on. The gameplay on the other hand is less than compelling. The controls are not as responsive as you would like and lack of a targeting system really cuts down on the amount of precision you have. In a game where you are expected to use a cover and suppression fire a lot, not having a good targeting system really hurts this game. You start off with an ISA standard issue assault rifle with a nice scope which is good, problem is once you get deep into a mission you will run out of bullets and be forced to use other weapons and those don’t have good scopes. While your team’s intellect leaves something to be desired, the enemy is cunning and brash. They will lay down suppression fire from one side and flank you from the other so watch your back.
The one bright spot, the place where Killzone 2 really shines and shows that creativity and innovation that I wish they would have implemented throught he entire game is in the multiplayer. Warzone as it is called is a fast paced, action packed rush. The multiplayer gameplay is class-based, meaning the player can choose a class of character which is specialized for a specific role to better suit the player’s needs in battle. There are 7 classes in total, which you can mix and match according to your play style.
Now they look like they mean business
Players play as either the ISA or Helghast, with no gameplay difference pending on which team one is assigned to other than character model. Each class levels up with experience gained from killing or completing mission objectives, with enough experience they unlock new weapons, skills etc. as well as a new class that is unlocked. Each class has two badges, the Primary badge selects the class and their specified skill, the secondary badge has an extra skill for the specified class but can be swapped to custom create your own class.
The thing that makes the multiplayer so cool is that Warzone plays out through dynamic matches where multiple game types are played in a single round. The game ships with five different game types including Assassination, Search & Retrieve, Search & Destroy, Bodycount and Capture & Hold. Online matches can connect 2 to 32 players, and they can group into squads of up to four players. Furthermore, two squads can group together as a faction of eight players. If an online match does not have a full 32 players, computer-generated “bots” can be added in to create bigger teams. Killzone 2 also offers a clan system, which allows clans of up to 64 players to compete for “Valor Points”, an in-game currency that clans can use to bet on tournaments. Eight multiplayer maps are included but the developer has stated that further maps will be made available as future downloadable content. Vehicles have also been confirmed to be part of the multiplayer experience and are to be patched post-release.
So what does all this mean? It means that while Killzone 2 was not that homerun I thought it would be, it was a fairly deep fly ball. The game has its highs and lows, but it doesn’t show us anything that we haven’t already seen before in other FPS’s. When someone says FPS, I think COD and when you are going to deliver a best of breed FPS it has got to be on that level or better. Unfourtunately, this means that KZ2 has already made my biggest disappointment list this year. The campaign mode is decent and Warzone gives it good replay value and considering there is nothing else really good out for about a month, this could definitely help you kill time. For all that I give Killzone 2, 4.2 out of 5.0 stars.