Killzone 2: Single Player Impressions

02 March 2009 | killzone 2,playstation 3,preview

I played a lot of Killzone 2 this weekend. I’m going to start with my single player impressions and move on to multiplayer later this week. I have completed 7 Missions (out of 10) so I’m pretty far into the single player campaign.

Killzone 2 instantly does 2 things incredibly well:
1. It is possibly the best looking game ever
2. It absolutely creates the feeling that an all out war is going on and your head is in the enemy’s cross hairs.

The opening cinematic really sets the tone of the game and then the opening mission inserts you into a visceral warzone. The story (thus far) is good. It’s pretty straightforward, and a little cliche. There’s still the final few missions left and perhaps there will be an interesting conclusion or cliffhanger. I do like that the game feels 100% like a mature title. The graphics are grim, the gameplay is chaotic, Helghan is harsh, and ultimately everything has pretty bleak outlook. Killzone 2 is definitely not an uplifting title.

Gameplay wise, Killzone 2 is a mix of 2 parts Call of Duty, 1 part Gears of War/Rainbow Six and a splash of Halo. The biggest thing worth mentioning is of course the excellent crouch/cover mechanic. Unlike Rainbow 6 or GoW, taking cover never takes you out of the first person view. If you’re near cover and crouch, you’ll stick behind the wall or sandbags and if you’re not near cover, you’ll simply crouch and improve your aim and accuracy.

That leads me to the gunplay… there are no brightly colored plasma pistols in this scifi war. Almost every gun uses munitions and has incredible kickback. This is not a run-n-gun shooter….taking cover and picking Helghast off is definitely the name of the game. The guns all sound incredible and as long as you’re OK with the slower pace, the game will please FPS fans.

Some specific highlights from the campaign thus far include:

  • Manning a turret and shooting a building to rubble
  • Driving a Tank for an all too short battle
  • Impaling Helghast with the explosive harpoon gun
  • Shocking enemies with the mighty electricity gun

Some of the most annoying parts for me have been:

  • The boss battle with the ATAC
  • The jolting and very noticeable in-game loading
  • A cheap scenario on a Train where enemies charge you, while a tank fires rockets at you.

It definitely is a missed opportunity not having any co-op for the single player game at all – neither online or offline (in fact there’s no split screen options at all). My guess is that this was a time and tech issue, but it is certainly something that will be needed if/when Killzone 3 is released.

If you have a PS3, definitely pick up Killzone 2. The single player experience is certainly a unique take on the FPS genre and mixes several different game styles very well. The graphics are unparallelled and the multiplayer experience is probably the best available for PS3…but more on that later.

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