Killzone 2

kz2Sony and Guerilla games have combined to produce the first must have game for 2009. Killzone 2 is a non-stop thrill ride that is easily the best first person shooter developed for the Playstation 3 console. The game follows up the events of the first game as well as the popular Kilzone: Liberation for the PSP.

Killzone 2 takes place on the Helghast home planet of Helghan. In response to an attack on a colony of the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance or ISA, a large group of soldiers has been dispatched in an effort to capture the Helghast Emperor and bring an end to the conflict.

Players are put in the role of Sergeant Tomas Sevchenko or “Sev” He has unit are dispatched behind enemy lines in an effort to pave the way for the main attack force. No sooner do you land when players realize that the hostile enemy is not the only thing facing them, as the planet has a very harsh and severe ecosystem that will hamper their war efforts.

Players work with other A.I. controlled soldiers to achieve strategic objections such as opening flood gates, knocking out rocket batteries and incoming armor divisions all the while running and gunning against the battle hardened enemy soldiers, who clad in their dark armor and Nazi Stormtrooper like helmets and glowing red eyes make for an intimidating foe.

Thankfully players will have a wide assortment of weapons to aid in their battle ranging from assault rifles, pistols, rocket launchers, grenades and fixed weapons. I was very grateful to liberate an enemy machine gun nest as being able to turn their own weapons on and advancing legion as well as cut a building to shreds around entrenched snipers really gave me a sense of satisfaction.

Players carry two weapons at a time, but are able to pick up and exchange their weapons at several points during the game by finding a weapons supply area or taking the weapon from a fallen enemy. Players do have a default pistol that they are unable to swap for and do have the ability to melle with enemy players should they become low on ammunition.

There are also some well placed strategic opportunities for players such as the one time I found myself facing a horde of enemy units with only my pistol. Thanks to a well placed shot at an abandoned fuel canister, I was able to dispatch my enemies and reload from the weapons they dropped.

The levels of the game are combined with animated sequences that advance the storyline and setup future missions. There is also a ranking system that provides in mission challenges and awards ribbons at the completion of levels.

Another great feature of the game is the ability to operate vehicles and I really enjoyed the first time I was able to command a tank and turn the big guns lose on enemy infantry and armor. The outdoor missions worked better for me than the indoor ones as even in HD, I found that some of the interiors were a bit to dark for my taste.

I did most of my review on a Test Sample of the game that was sent to me by Sony. I did find some lag and jumpiness in the controls which I attributed to the build I was playing, but I did remember that the original Killzone had such issues so I hope this will be resolved in the final build.

The gameplay was solid and I enjoyed the way that I had to use my Dualshock 3 control at times to manipulate objects, set charges and so on by holding down buttons and tilting and turning the control.
The enemy A.I. was solid but not as good as I had hoped for as some of my opponents did seek cover and attempt to use the lean and peek cover system that I was able to deploy, but many simply charged at me and made themselves easy targets.

As the game went along I found myself enjoying the action, but I was never fully drawn into the story as I have been with some First Person Shooters such as F.E.A.R. and the Half Life series. This is not to say that the game has a bad story, but rather that there was nothing really fresh or compelling. It was the standard storyline of a player taking on an army of bad guys with few twists and turns to flesh out the experience. That being said, for action lovers, Killzone 2 delivered the goods as I was never at a loss for action and the designers focused on giving players the most carnage and mayhem possible.

The game does feature a checkpoint save system which has never been a favorite of mine, as I hate having to repeat portions of a level should you die. I tend to prefer to go in with guns blazing and had to adjust my style to use more stealth than I used to, and use the sites to take down enemies from afar rather than up close.

The graphics in the game are solid, aside from the dark interiors I mentioned earlier, and the ability to shoot of the helmet of your enemy was a real thrill. The voice acting in the game is solid and many players will also enjoy the boss battles that arise in the game.

The game offers Warzone which is a class based multiplay system that offers six classes for players to select from as well as a squad based function. Currently there are no plans to offer co-op play in the game which I hope will change, as being able to play the game with friends and connect via a Blu Tooth would truly make this game standout.

In the end, despite some blemishes and shortcomings, Killzone 2 is an action lovers dream and is a must have for any Playstation 3 owner, and is destined to become a classic.

4.5 stars out of 5.