Killzone 2 for the Playstation 3. Developed by Guerrilla Games, Published by Sony
For me, first-person shooters are as irresistible as the siren’s song. For the past thirteen years, I’ve had the privilege of playing a large majority of console FPSs, from the abysmal (Hour of Victory) to the tremendous (Call of Duty 2 and 4). No matter how critically reviled a shooter is, I have a perilous compulsion to spend at least a few hours with it. Occasionally, a game with pedestrian review scores, will completely captivate me, reinvigorating my obsession.
With an engaging single player game, a carefully crafted multiplayer campaign, and some of the best FPS graphics seen on a console, Killzone 2 for the Playstation 3 will likely avoid a sub-standard aggregate review score. While the game doesn’t contribute anything radically new to the genre, it’s one hell of a thrill ride, and offers owners some of the best firefights found on Sony’s console.
As typical with console shooters, players use the left stick to move, while the right stick aims your weapon. With the default controls, a click of the right stick toggles zoom, while the ‘L2’ button crouches. If the player is close to a wall or obstruction, ‘L2’ will initiate a cover mechanic, astutely readying the player for a assault on the game’s foes. Unlike some FPS’s which inspire the player to run haphazardly through a level, Killzone 2 rewards the player who takes cover and judiciously dispatches his enemies.
Unlike many console FPS, Killzone 2’s adversaries are no mere cannon fodder. Helghasts, the games red-eyed antagonists, will bound from cover point to cover point and move realistically throughout the landscape. Your squad mates also display a level of AI beyond the typical console shooter, taking out enemies and generally staying out the players way.
Wisely forgoing the ability to use cover, Killzone 2’s multiplayer aims to keep the pace lively, yet still satisfyingly tactical. Maps are gratifyingly large, and offer a gratifying vertical element, allowing for additional stratums. As players increase their frag count, experience points are earned, allowing the gamer to move through an elaborate and fulfilling promotional system. Gradually, different classes, each with unique loadouts are unlocked. Players who persevere can create a custom class, which combines multiple abilities.
When Killzone 2’s ‘target’ cinematic was shown at the 2005 E3 show, many were skeptical if the Playstation 3 was capable of delivering such a visceral experience. Amazingly, the final build comes remarkably close to this high benchmark. Environments show a variety of urban architecture and are expertly textured. One of the title’s high points is its formidable explosions that send shrapnel flying realistically, and lingering clouds of dark smoke. The designers were kind enough to leave a liberal amount of explosive red canisters throughout the game’s levels. The one caveat we had with the title was the game’s inability to keep a consistent framerate when the action heats up, but the game’s utilization of motion blur helps to disguise this debility.
Overall, Killzone 2 is a must-buy for Playstation 3 owners who crave some first-person bloodshed. The game’s ten hour single player game offered a series of consistently amazing set pieces, while we barely scratched the surface of the game’s multiplayer depth. Unlike many FPS’s, that deliver a relatively static experience from level to level, the title expertly allocates its engaging nuances to maintain the gamer’s interest level. Innovation be damned, Killzone 2′s power comes from its skillful execution.