Jul 03 2009

Unreal Game Review: Killzone 2

Published by at 10:00 am under Reviews,Video Games

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Yes, I’m once again behind the times on this game review, but I’m hard pressed these days to get quality time with a PS3, much less enough to play enough of a game where I feel like I can adequately discuss its merits.

Well, fortunately, I found time to play though nearly all of the PS3’s future-shooter opus, Killzone 2, which is universally agreed to be one of the system’s best games. After a rocky start, I really started to love it, and now I just need a few more hours to see it to completion, but I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of it at this point.

Honestly, I had never even heard of Killzone when the sequel came out, and couldn’t tell you if it was a game for PSone or PS2 or even ever existed at all. I would have thought to lump it in with the “generic shooter” category of games like Resistance and Red Faction who don’t have particularly loyal fan bases.
And the fact is, Killzone 2 is a generic shooter, but it’s the absolute emperor of all generic shooters, and executes its gameplay nearly flawlessly, to the point where almost no critiques are even possible.

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How the game feels would best be described as Call of Duty set in the year 2400. The aiming, running, crouching, grenading and shooting is nearly identical to Modern Warfare, which is without a doubt a good thing. In Killzone 2 however, the enemies appear to be a bit smarter and more ballsy, often sneaking around behind to knife you while their buddies distract you from afar.

The only real complain in gameplay is that when shooting someone, it doesn’t quite feel as real as it did in COD. Enemies took fewer bullets then, but their pinpoint accuracy and sheer numbers made them dangerous anyways. Here, you can often empty four or five bullets directly into a Helghast’s skull before they fall, but then on other occasions, one pop from your generic pistol will drop them.

Even though most of the weapons in the game are pretty generic lead shooters, the variety in power, firing speed and accuracy make no two guns all that alike. There are a few fun ones tossed in like the flamethrower (the best executed version of the weapon I’ve seen in a game) and what I like to call the “**** you “ gun, which quite literally shoots a bolt of lightning instantly frying anything nearby.

But outside of one or two cool armaments, there is nothing inherently original or innovative about Killzone 2 in the least bit. This is best demonstrated by the incoherent story, where a bunch of generic grizzled humans fight a bunch of Nazi ghost aliens who are all voiced by a British Darth Vader and have the misfortune of having a uniform designer who thought it would be a good idea to put glowing lights on all of their faces. A “please shoot me in the head” sign would have been more subtle.

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The Nazi aliens are building a giant lighting weapon to do…something, and you have to trek through a series of environments which range from grey and destroyed to brown and super destroyed in order to stop them. I didn’t see how it turns out, but I’m guessing there’s room for a sequel.

The main selling point of the game from the get-go has always been its supposedly revolutionary graphics, but honestly, that’s the aspect of the game I noticed the least. Yes, everything looks pretty great, but honestly, I saw no difference between this game and Farcry 2 or Gears of War 2, and even on a 1080p LCD TV, there weren’t any scenes where I found myself in revered awe of the scenery. It looks good, but it’s not going to change your life.

But polish and plot aside, is Killzone 2 fun? Yes, absolutely, it’s a blast. It’s a much more in your face shooter than “hide behind this and pop out” Gears of War or “jump up and down like a goof in order to not die” Halo 3. I felt like I could be more of a Rambo, running around kicking ass and taking names, rather than a cowering infantry grunt forced to hide behind a parked car until everyone else ran out of ammo.

It’s a definite notch in the PS3’s belt, which is in desperate need of worthwhile exclusive franchises as most of its old staples jump ship. There’s no reason why Killzone might not hop over to Microsoft for the next sequel, but for now, Sony should relish their victory.

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5 responses so far

  • Madison

    I played this only a few times on PS3 and I mostly agree with your review. It *is* generic, but the visuals and gameplay are top of the line. Plus, it’s friggin hard.

  • jake

    Killzone is developed by Guerrilla Games (a subsidiary of Sony) and published by Sony. I doubt this series will be seen on anything but a Sony system…

  • minus

    I own an Xbox and call of duty is probably my most played franchise, so when i go to my friends i have a chance to play killzone 2 for the ps3 and i gotta say the real highlight of the game is its online play. as for the feel the controls seem to be a hell of a lot looser, but its definitely one exclusive franchise closer to getting me to shell out the money for a ps3.

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  • KierzoSBC

    Although I get that you like this game, I feel you’re actually being a bit unfair.

    Firstly, the graphics (upon release) were better than anything I’d seen this gen, some of the cinematics, open scenery views and especially the feeling you get when in an open or closed batlle scenario seem epic.

    I found the story to be good aswell, I’m not trying offend anyone but really, you’d need to be a moron not to know that the Helgast are from a diffrent planet (ie aliens) and not Nazis or Ghosts. I played the first and for the introduction of a recognisable face or 2 from the first one was enjoyable but you wouldnt have got that either.

    Lastly, the gameplay. How anyone can consider this game to be similar to COD is beyond me. It’s stiffer and set to be more realistic. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily better but it certainly isnt the same.

    A few things you didnt touch on. As minus briefly mentioned, the Online play is top notch. The way the games are set out and scenarios involving the maps is, imo, better than any FPS i’ve played online. Another thing, which I cant believe you never touched on is the cover system. It works really well and gives you a slight feeling of safety in what is actually a generally difficult game to stay alive in!! This alone makes the game revolutionary (as it has yet to be used in another FPS) and basically shows that for anyone to call this game “Generic” either hasnt played it, is swayed by their love of something else, or is just plain stupid.

    Sorry.

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