|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Guerrilla Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 27, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-32||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Killzone 2, actually the third installment in the Killzone series after Killzone for PS2 and Killzone: Liberation for PSP, is an action-packed, squad-based third-person shooter for the PS3. Developed by Amsterdam's Guerilla Games, this title pushes the graphical envelope and sets the bar for future FPS titles on the console. Outside of the immaculate visual presentation, Killzone 2 also sports an engaging story, varied level design, quality A.I., and a multiplayer offering that is as good as the competitions'.
Unlike the events that transpired in the previous Killzone entries, the ISA is now taking the fight to the Helghast on their home-planet of Helghan. Nearly two years after the invasion of Vekta, the ISA have come up with a plan to shift the front away from their planet, control the Helghast capital of Pyrrhus, and capture the evil dictator, Emperor Visari. Players will take on the role of Sev, as he and his mates from Alpha Squad take the fight deep into Helghan. As players will soon find out, the Helghast know their planet well, are entrenched, and have employed new technology that will harry the ISA advance. Surviving in such a harsh place has made the Helghast formidable, and players will be challenged to get the job done.
The single-player campaign is made up of ten missions that will test your FPS skill through varied levels. Fighting through buildings with a couple wingmen, clearing out fortified Helghast positions, taking out machines of war, and cutting down waves of Helghast in brutal vehicle segments are just some of the ways gameplay stays fresh, fast, and challenging. The story progresses lickety-split, bolstered by the logical progression of mission-specific objectives you will complete.
Gameplay in Killzone 2 is utterly enjoyable. The simple cover mechanic works very well, and the way your bullets rip through the enemy is very satisfying, indeed. Hucking grenades and plinking dome-pieces will come naturally to any FPS fan, and taking the fight to the fire-eyed Helghast is a joy. This is emphasized by the quality enemy A.I. implemented by the devs. The Helghast do a nice job of taking cover, flushing you out with grenades, and utilizing their fortified surroundings to their advantage. That said, I never found myself stuck in any one place for too long. That's because the Alpha Squad team is made up of a handful of gritty veterans that know how to get the job done - these soldiers seem to always be one step ahead of the evil they're fighting. This gives players the sense they are a heroic badass, which is very gratifying. What's more, while Alpha Squad definitely exudes testosterone, the characters are still believable and interesting, rather than being too over-the-top.
The only downsides I found with Killzone 2 are that the single-player campaign is short, the weapons are a bit lackluster, there are only a handful of controller configurations, and there is no co-op play. Each of the ten missions can be played in more or less than one hour. As a result, players will likely wish they had a bit more content to wade through, especially because what is there is so fun.
I also wasn't a big fan of the weaponry. The old standby M82-G you start the game with is the most efficient firearm you'll use, as the multitude of Helghast weaponry strewn about the levels is fairly clunky and ineffective. The assault rifles, SMGs, and even flamethrower are novel to use initially, but you'll quickly realize they make the job a lot more difficult to get done. As such, you'll likely only use these weapons when you run out of ammo - a fairly frequent occurrence. I especially didn't like the sniper rifle in the game; getting headshots with the standard issue armament was a lot easier. I will admit, however, the loads of high-rate of fire weapons do feel realistic in their inaccuracy, but it does takeaway a bit of the satisfaction.
Though controls are certainly very respectable, I was dismayed by the fact there are only a few, preset layouts from which to choose. Granted, the layouts provided by the devs are sensibly put together; I just like to have a bit more control to shift things about and hone them to my liking. Of course, these are pretty nitpicky complaints, but when a game is this good, you have to find something.