I actually downloaded the demo for Killzone 2 last night just to make sure this game was worth it, and I was right about getting this game. Finally, another worthy PlayStation 3 exclusive added to my collection. I will divide the review into two parts, the single player which I will cover today and the multiplayer part at a later date. I think its a good idea to get used to the game play first before going online against the “pros”. Oh, and for those who have never heard of Killzone 2, its a sci-fi first person shooter first appeared on the PlayStation 2 and a sequel, Killzone: Liberation on the PlayStation Portable PSP.
Game play and story
The story takes place in a planet called Helghan, the Helghast invaded Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) colony. Two years later, the ISA launched a counter attack on Helghast’s homeworld Helghan and in an attempt to capture the Helghast leader to bring the war to an end. Its a pretty straight forward bad vs evil scenario. That’s the “crash” version of the story. For more info on Killzone, visit the wiki for the game.
The control scheme is one of my “minor” complaints for this otherwise perfect sci-fi first person shooter. Probably because I’ve spent too much time playing Call of Duty 4 and got used to the COD 4 controls, after about 2 hours of intense battles I am still having trouble getting used to the controls. Although there are different schemes to choose from, there isn’t really one that fits me perfect like Call of Duty 4 and there is no customization at all which forces players to adapt to one of the preset control schemes. For example, the crouch and take cover is now L2 as oppose to circle in COD 4 which is, in my opinion, much more convenient. L1 is now your close combat which is another inconvenient setup. As a result I constantly mix up the zoom and close combat buttons during gun fights which are mostly intense. I guess I just have to get used to it, its just a matter of time.
Initially I thought the AIs in Killzone 2 were pretty dumb based on the trailers I’ve seen. But I was wrong, the AIs are actually pretty competitive, they will hide, or even camp a bit and wait for you. When in groups, one will throw a grenade at you and the other will charge towards you. They will also take cover and perform blind shots at you. You can take cover as well but I find it a little bit slow, you have to hold L2 to stay covered and you need to move your aim outward so that you can shoot while staying partially covered. You can also zoom in while in this mode but its easy to mess this up. So don’t think about going all Rambo at the AIs because chances are you won’t be able to last long, specially when there is no auto aim like COD. Also one thing to point out is that your movements are much slower compare to COD even if you max out the x and y axis sensitivity, in COD you are much more agile, even with the light machine gun. I guess its because you are wearing all these sci-fi gears so it makes sense that you move slower.
Just like COD, you can cook your grenades by holding down the throw button, what Killzone 2 does better than COD is that there is an indicator on the grenade that will tell you how “cooked” the grenade is.
Beside the grenades, there are also your standard rifles, rocket launcher, mounted machine guns (MG) which you can take cover behind as well as driving a tank. I don’t like the way they name the rifles though which consist of a bunch of letters and numbers which makes it hard, at least for me, to know which gun I have currently. By the way, you can only have one primary gun and a secondary hand gun which has unlimited ammo, but pretty weak.
There are instances where you will have to utilize the SIXAXIS controller to perform operations like rotating a valve or planting a bomb on the door. These little things add up and make the game more interesting and so you are not just running and shooting all the time.
I have finished 2 levels so far, and in between levels, the loading screen can also be tilted like a hologram with your SIXAXIS controller. Its pretty neat because you can do “something” while waiting for it to load. I have no problem with the loading screen between levels but I really hate the sudden lag cause by the load between sections within the same level.
Graphics and audio
The graphics are simply amazing and jaw dropping. Although the game only runs on 720p as oppose to full HD 1080p at max, the details of the characters (specially the Helghast), the buildings, landscapes and vehicles are all very detailed. I particularly love blowing up air tanks or gas barrels, watch the explosions and the enemies fly in all directions.
In the audio department, nothing has impressed me yet so far. In my opinion, the conversations between your comrades and enemies feel “lively” with all the F and S words flying all over the place, but not overly used. Your enemies will also “talk” to you during gun fights so again you are not just running around and shooting things.
Killzone 2, a near perfect sci-fi first person shoot will not disappoint existing Killzone fans as well as fans of first person shooter. If you are looking for something different from the COD or Halo series, Killzone 2 will be your perfect alternative. By no means I am not saying Killzone 2 is superior compare to the two series but its a nice change of style, more so when comparing to the COD series. If you are still debating, stop waiting and download the demo!