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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Guerilla

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 2004

 

- Excellent tension during action

- One of the coolest opening movies ever

 

 

- AI might be a misnomer

- WAY too linear for a FPS game

- Could you record more than 5 phrases?

 

 

Review: TimeSplitters 2 (PS2)

Review: SOCOM II - US NAVY Seals (PS2)

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

 

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Killzone

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

The planet Vekta is rocked by the rapid invasion of the Helghast army. The Helghan are humans that have undergone mutation in order to survive the brutal conditions of their home planet. The Helghast army attacks from all directions and begin to devastate the populace with their brutal efficiency and superior numbers. The terrorizing Helghast army is a horrible rip-off of the Jin-Roh Wolf Pack who speak with pseudo German accents – while the imagery is inherently terrifying, the borrowing from other sources is depressing.

 

killzone review          killzone review

 

During the course of Killzone, you can play as one of four different characters: the captain Templar (balanced: quick and strong), the Shadow Marshall Luger (female assassin – looks very similar to Nyssa from Blade II), ISA Soldier Rico (giant with a freakin’ huge gun), and the Spy Hahka (a human/Helghast hybrid with the ability to use Helghast equipment and move undetected in some places). The game approach does change somewhat when you choose different players, but certainly not significantly.

 

The single player missions can be summarized as follows: move forward, encounter enemies, fight enemies, enemies will be reinforced, fight additional enemies, collect ammo and health, then proceed. Sometimes there will be twists where you might need to hold position or find a specific object but for the most part the game follows this formula. The game is very linear, as there really isn’t any way to get lost moving from one objective to the next and you really don’t need to keep checking the objective list, odds are you are going to find it will be in the direction you are heading.

 

Almost every gunfight is best handled by cowering behind some outcropping and sniping at your enemies whenever they step out from cover. The gunfights themselves can be rather intense though. The game shows off some really cool integrated effects such as dust clouds for bullet impacts on ground and concrete. Even more impressive is the amount of effort that reloading takes – the perspective will shift from where your looking to your weapon (which is exactly what would happen in a real gunfight – you don’t get to focus on your target while you reload by feel). Sprinting between covers will cause your vision to blur on the edges and make it difficult to settle down for your first shot.

 

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The in-game cutscenes show off some of the best made-for-a-video-game animation that I can remember seeing. They are sharp, full of action, and help set the stage effectively – especially cool is the opening movie which is just awesome. Surroundings are well developed, all venues look like a cross between a futuristic utopian society and the horrors of World War II where the beautiful scenery is chewed up by the vicious fighting that is taking place. Unfortunately, the 

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great areas are completely wasted by a major problem: there is a wall or fog that you cannot see past for a distance of maybe 400 meters or so. Everything beyond that distance is behind a white wall, and once you head towards it the wall moves with it revealing what it was obscuring. It’s annoying when you are using a sniper rifle to take out enemies in dangerous positions and you have to move closer just to see the enemy.

 

Both the enemies and your teammates are controlled by AI – which is the biggest pain for the game. Your allies are invulnerable for some reason, but that doesn’t make them any more useful. They will alternate between getting shot (and complaining about it) to missing enemies with their scattered gunfire (and then telling me that they need to reload… why bother, just go lay down before you hurt yourself!). In most missions, I managed to out-kill my teammates 15 to 1 and there are three of them. For a “team” FPS, it would have been nice to be able to issue commands or at least have some benefit from working as a unit instead of me needing to grandstand to survive. The only saving benefit of having a useless team is having the enemy be more bi-polar than a supermodel. One moment they fight as a well oiled machine, and the next they will get shot and not move a muscle. It is possible to have a massive gunfight where one enemy will be sniping at you from behind a broken wall while his teammate is standing around and checking out nothing in particular.

 

killzone review          killzone review

 

The in-game sound is definitely not going to win any awards – the sound effects are not loud enough for a war game, especially when you can hear the asinine comments that your teammates and opponents will repeatedly spew out. If there is a next game, I recommend recording a larger variety of comments and responses than the canned ones that they repeat in EVERY GUNFIGHT despite what is actually happening.

 

Killzone is the first game that I’ve ever had the opportunity to play a demo version before the actual release. Not that the demo experience wasn’t enlightening, it just had the effect of tainting my opinion of the game before I had even placed the disc into the tray. My first playing of Killzone was much like my most recent playing of it – I was impressed with the realism of how the surroundings, action and weapons were portrayed but bored to tears after two levels of the same formula repeated over and over. Is Killzone a good game? Yes, but a thin one.

 

- Tazman

(December 5, 2004)

 

"Sir, I volunteer for a suicide mission!"

"You're a brave robot son, but every mission I command is a suicide mission."

             - Bender and Zap Branigan (Futurama)

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