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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Guerilla Games

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

February 27, 2009

 

 

- Certainly looks and sounds awesome

- Doesn’t wear out its welcome; relatively short single-player

- Multiplayer good enough to have been released by itself

 

 

- The use of the motion control in most cases is completely unnecessary

- View of the action feels kind of restricted – there’s a lot going on but you don’t get to see much of it

- Can’t escape the first-person clichés like bad-ass space marines spewing profanity

- Weapons that don’t carry over from previous levels

 

 

Review: Gears of War 2 (360)

Review: Legendary (PS3)

Review: Star Wars: Force Unleashed (PS3)

 

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Killzone 2

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

The early buzz of Killzone 2 almost completely killed any anticipation I had for it.  After listening to a few podcasts and reading a handful of reviews the framing felt wrong, like it was Game of the Year material – within the first two months of 2009.  It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but the early exposure certainly set the bar high in terms of (unrealistic) expectations.

 

killzone 2           killzone 2

 

Killzone 2 begins with the invasion of Helghast by ISA Forces… you know what? Forget it.  The setup and story doesn’t really matter – you’ll invest about five minutes of your attention into the story and realize there’s nothing there to hold onto.  This is about shooting things and making them very dead.  Sometimes you’ll make them dead in locked rooms or break waves upon waves of enemies as they rush toward you – there’s never a time where you’re left wanting for targets, whether on foot, manning a turret, or driving a tank or EXO suit.  The game offers

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bucketloads of visceral thrills, but those bucketloads start to wear out their welcome during the relatively short story campaign.  Thrills are not a bad thing, but they become less effective when they’re piled on top of each other.

 

My other issues with Killzone 2 relate to the first-person clichés like bad-ass space marines spewing profanity that suddenly get all

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emotional when the shit hits the fan in an effort by the writers to reveal the humanity of the characters.  And I really don’t like having my weapons taken away from me!  I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything because it’s bee covered plenty elsewhere, but there’s a point in the game when you acquire a lightning gun with unlimited ammo.  At the end of the level the developers yank it out of your hands and shove something else into them.  Why do the developers do such a thing?  Why are gun racks liberally scattered around the environment?  Well, it’s so you’ll have some experience with all the different guns so that when you shift to multiplayer you’re not completely lost as to the capabilities of each weapon.

 

If you’re not the online type – the service is free! – developer Guerilla Games created some get bots to play against.  The AI offers a great challenge and on occasion you could almost swear human players were controlling them. (This is in stark contrast to the AI of your squadmates in the single-player portion, who seem to be just slightly above turkeys on the intelligence scale.)  The “real” fun is playing against human opponents.

 

killzone 2          killzone 2

 

Barely controlled mayhem reigns over most of the multiplayer maps.  There are a few wide-open areas where there is a definite ebb and flow to the action and keeping a squad together as you move toward an objective is possible (with appropriate voice communication), but on the smaller maps, with 32-players on each side it’s very often the case that you’ll spend a lot of time dying repeatedly under attack from the opposition and friendly grenades.  Sticking with the chaos can be a challenge, but the structure of the ranking system and special abilities should be enough to keep players coming back.  Even better is that most of the matches I’ve played so far have been generally free of lag and nearly always full of players.  As of this writing, there’s no party system in place – you can’t migrate from game to game with a bunch of friends – but a patch could take care of this feature and in my mind it’s not a make or break feature but some will surely groan about its absence.

 

There’s certainly enough in the multiplayer portion of Killzone 2 to extend its shelf life beyond the relatively quick single-player Campaign and makes it worth your time.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(March 19, 2009)

 

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