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- Game: Killzone 2
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Reviewed Platform: Playstation 3
- Developer: Guerrilla Games
- Publisher: SCEE
- Overall Gameplay: A
Looking for the definitive show of the PlayStation 3's power?
By Sam Bishop
February 09, 2009
Source: Total Playstation
The action returns for PS3 in KILLZONE 2(2009).
© Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Killzone 2 is many things: a bombastic, interactive action flick; a technical showpiece for the Sony's big ol' black brick; a "toldja so" retort from developer Guerrilla Games meant to silence all those that said they'd never hit their CG target render; a very, very good shooter. It is not, however, especially different in what it does. Killzone 2 knows it's a shooter, knows it's a big, dumb action movie (complete with laughably bad dialogue so laced with expletives you'd swear the writers just discovered cuss words), and yet it's comfortable in being just that: a shooter, and damn fine one at that.
Two things will likely hit you upon your first few minutes of firing up the game. The first is that it is, in no uncertain terms, gorgeous. The introductory cinematic and its complementary rousing speech (delivered with aplomb by Brian Cox) is nothing short of breathtaking. Starting on the "good guys'" home planet of Vekta (which was invaded by the "enemy" Helghast in the first Killzone game, and then were pushed back in the PSP continuation, Killzone: Liberation), then pulling back into space, swinging around and then drilling down into the mire of Helghan itself, the CG intro to the game is the perfect thing to get you pumped for what's to come.
The second thing that'll hit you upon finally gaining control of leading man Sev as he hooks up with fellow squadmates Garza, Natko and Rico is the controls. Now, most will likely find them plenty acceptable, but none will deny that there's a definite sense of weight and momentum involved in just looking around (which make some sense; Helghan is a denser planet and thus has more gravity than a normal Earth-like planet).
From the moment you and your buddies crash (literally) into the fray surrounding the first of many, many skirmishes on the way to capture the Helghast leader, Scolar Visaril, these two main themes will tug at you constantly. The game is absolutely stunning, replete with plenty of motion-captured animations, an intelligent and wholly welcome cover system that makes fights less run and run and more stop and pop, and more than a few set pieces meant to hammer home the point that, yes, Guerrilla Games has delivered on the visual promise of that infamous trailer a few years back. At the same time, precision aiming becomes a bit of a problem, yet so too does turning quickly. Killzone 2's controls occupy a nebulous middle ground that's neither razor sharp nor especially swift. And so, even as your eyes will drink in countless visual wonders, your fingers may well fail you in just trying to draw a bead on the enemy.
These issues persist (and to a degree are exacerbated) online, where other players move in decidedly non-straight lines, but here too the game's presentation is absolutely phenomenal. There's no discernible drop in fidelity or complexity to the world; plaster buckles and cracks, bullets bloom bright orange as they strike walls and then fade to realistic holes, debris flutters around the bleak, unforgiving landscape. And here too, the online modes are anything but new. Capture the flag, capture and hold, deathmatch, assassination, demolition... again, nothing that hasn't been seen before in a game, but all pulled off wonderfully.
And then there's the progression system in the game. As you gain experience points for gunning down enemies, completing objectives or just being on the winning side (which gives you a 1.5 multiplayer to whatever points you earned that round), you'll rank up, and as you do, you'll unlock new classes with their own innate abilities. Medics can revive, snipers can actually cloak, engineers can set up turrets and so on. Yet another layer is added with badges, progressive awards for, say, being near the top of the rankings per round or helping your teammates. All three of these core aspects mix into a heady mélange of constant goals to shoot for.
And then there's what you can do with those rewards. Badges offer class-independent gains like more grenades upon respawning, while the classes themselves determine your base skills and equipment, but you're free to mix and match up to two different classes' skills, letting you heal while you throw down turrets, or unleash a hovering bot to gun down enemies while you sit cloaked in a high perch and pick off targets.
It's the combination of these two elements, the offline play with its scripted events, sense of scale and awe-inspiring set pieces, plus the online experience with a constant carrot being dangled out in front of everyone playing in the form of progressive unlocks and rewards that makes it all just meld into an absolutely killer package.
For more details on both the online and offline parts of the game, plus more specific gripes about how the game was executed, be sure to check out the full review on TotalPlayStation.com.