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Review

Killzone 2 [PS3]

April 7, 2009

Long has it been since my days of the console, and yet through my phone breaking..again and a strange turn of events one of which involved a dot matrix printer circa 1980, i find myself in possession of Killzone 2, the game which almost broke Amsterdam’s power supply during its final development phase by Guerrilla Games. Luckily Sony did provide a diesel engine to provide the, originally only 50 Guerrilla Games developers now 200 game developers, working on the PlayStation 3 exclusive.

I haven’t been much for consoling in comparison to God’s gift to man known as the PC. Maybe it’s because it has only been up until recently that i’ve found myself with a next-gen console. Granted since my consoling experience started with Super Smash Bros and Zelda and continued through to LANs involving Halo play-offs between School Students and Teachers while i was still at school, i’d think i’ve had enough experience to say i’m representing the perspective of the average gamer. Now….

That being said, the story of Killzone 2 could have been predicted if you just looked at the fact that it was released after Halo. You’re a Marine (evidently the fact that you aren’t in a full trunk of armor seems to be an original feature of the game), who travels to another planet to fight in what quickly becomes impossible odds, you have teammates who occasionally help you out and generally fulfill some form of militant stereotype. Hold on i when did this become Gears of War 2. However all that generic seems to do well for games nowadays, a survey i did last year did in fact suggest that overall, gamers aren’t too phased about being presented games like this so long as it isn’t too lucid.

Killzone 2 feels like you’re thrown into a movie half way, similar to how you’d feel if you were thrown into Halo 2 or 3, with no idea about what the story is about. As much as the story is quickly flicked passed you so you have the briefest of introductions to “Killzone: The Story, for Dummies” since we’ve established it was released after Halo, we can make some hypotheses over what it is about.

It does present some interesting elements though, and so on the whole it kept me entertained and intrigued enough to keep playing, even if it did get a little tedious when the Auto-save dropped me right in the middle of a firefight every single time.

Now lets be honest, gameplay is never as good on console as is on PC. Sony then take it a step further because of the SixAxis. Why do they decide to make the controllers so hard to hold properly. It’s like sticking your hand in a toaster, it’s got the potential to keep you warm but you’ll still burn your hand every single time while trying to find a position that’s comfortable (kids don’t put your hands in toasters).
They do get some things right such as right stick for look, left stick for movement. Another thing is the use of the SixAxis which i’ve generally heard appalling things about. When setting detonation packs or even just turning valve wheels, you use both triggers to grab hold of the wheel, then turn your controller to turn the wheel, then let go and go back to turn again.
There’s also some good mechanics such as the Take Cover/Crouch situation. I’ve not always been a fan of having controls change except when you’re entering vehicles, but this was done really well. When you go crouch against an object you take cover against it, then using your left thumb stick you can quickly look over or around cover, and if you spot an enemy then by hitting your ‘Fire’ button you immediately pop your head and gun out to fire.

I remember one instance in which i had taken cover against an old smashed wreck of a car, and hearing gunfire i peaked through the broken glass windows to see the enemy with his back against an oil drum firing the gun over his head. Of course then i shot him, and it was quite satisfying. It’s gameplay elements like this that make a game different to the others i’ve been playing recently. It adds a new tactical edge to playing, and as i found running in with guns blazing make of worked some times, but not for others. Flamethrower at point blank range has splash damage, see life skills being taught. Don’t stand next to the big blue glowing electric spider or it will bite you.

Speaking of which this whole electric theme that runs through the game is very visually eclectic. Big Lightning Arc Weapons that shoot down ships, it’s all very cool. The positive of having a console such as the PS3 is that everything can be very graphically stunning, and i found that this was quite the case with Killzone 2. Although it has a very gritty brown industrial wasteland to it, it wasn’t something i got tired of. I enjoyed the cut-scenes immensely, to the point where i was sad that i actually had to start playing the next level. But it was a driving force to persist, to make it to that next cut-scene.

Apart from the Single Player Campaign the game also features two formats of Multiplayer, Warzone and Skirmish. Warzone is like Killzone 2′s own version of Team Fortress 2, providing 7 classes with different equipment and skills; and a number of game formats such as Search & Destroy, and Assassination. This multiplayer mode was designed specifically to be played with large numbers such as you would find in clans, and has its own clan tournament system built into the game.
Skirmish on the other hand is like Singleplayer on Battlefield 2142, play the maps against bots. That’s basically what it’s used for and seems more like an extra feature strapped on than anything else.

Well there you have it, Killzone 2. Although at first glance it seems a little generic, the story is interesting enough to warrant a play, and unfortunately it feels like the multiplayer side had the potential to be bigger than what it probably is, even if that’s only the case here in Australia. Still, if you want to play a game let me know and i’ll whip it out when i’m not away from my keyboard putting my hands in toasters.