Killing Time with Killzone 2

The PS3 definitely had a rough holiday season in 2008. It seemed as though every major exclusive Sony had was riddled with either network bugs or a sub par single player. Killzone 2 is the first game of 2009 poised to pick up the slack with its debut on the PS3 February 27th. After playing the demo many many times (the demo consists of about 8-5 minutes of game play) it seems as though Sony fans may actually have the killer app they have been waiting for. Now that is not to say that it will be the Halo killer that its predecessor was hyped to be. Instead Kilzone 2 has tried to carve its own niche in the shooter genera by creating a gritty shooter that combines tactical cover systems with beautiful cinematic lighting and effects.

Hit the jump for more impressions and a possible bump in the road.

As was present in Black, Killzone looks to be an amazing display of explosions and particle effects. If you unload on an enemy without taking careful aim, your stray bullets will kick up dirt and grime which will linger long enough to obscure your view of the target. This leaves the player guessing as to whether or not the enemy was killed in a hail of gunfire, or simple waiting to reply with a well tossed grenade. In a similar fashion explosions in the game provide the same effect but on a massive scale. One hand grenade wont obscure you view too much after going off, but if you happen to set off an explosion of small propane tanks (which the Helgans seem so fond of scattering about their home world) you will create a huge and beautiful explosion full of briefly lingering smoke. By creating these explosions however you also create a nice smoke screen that helps the next wave of enemies take up positions safely. Its unpredictable elements like this add to the intensity and immersion of the game, giving players a more dynamic battlefield.

Along with the fun particle effects, there are many other interesting game play elements which help add to the immersion of the game. One of my favorites is the implementation of jumping in the game. Rather than your standard jump to instantly move vertically, your character actually dips down briefly in order to gain upward momentum. In addition to this you are not allowed to shoot or even switch weapons while jumping. Although you could do this in real life, no military expert would suggest it. By giving this one simple action such a realistic feel they have removed jumping as combat technique alla bunny hopping, and have instead limited a simple tactical maneuver for gaining better cover.

The cover system in KIllzone 2 feels similar to the one in Rainbow 6, which happens to be similar to almost all other cover systems, just locked in a first person perspective. It is a much more limited perspective than those found in its third person counterparts, which leads to a more immersive and claustrophobic feeling. While safely tucked behind a concrete barrier or wall you are only able to see a fraction of the action in front of you. Also Unlike Rainbow 6, and many other cover systems, you are not allowed to just blind fire while safely tucked away. Killzone 2 forces you to actually aim rather than just spray and pray toward approaching foes. Because of this you need an aim that is always true in order to survive the onslaught of Helgan forces.

Unfortunately this leads me to an issue which I feel must be addressed. Many people have been claiming that there is some lag between the controller and actions on the screen. Some have even posted videos demonstrating this phenomenon. I was never able to really notice it until I tried looking for it, but it is there none the less.

It seems to me that this is something you really have to be looking for, but it is definitely something which should be brought to peoples attention as it may effect those split second kill or be killed moments. This issue however has only been seen in the demo at the moment, and it could be that it is not based on the final review code which may have fixed this issue.

Beyond this minor/major hiccup I have really been enjoying the demo. It is very easy to beat since they only allow you to play the second easiest of the four difficulty setting, but even beating it with knives and pistols has been fun several times. Combined with a supposed 10-12 hour single player, and what it being called one of the best multiplayer experiences on consoles today, I am very excited to see how the new effort by Guerrilla Games plays out.


3 Responses to “Killing Time with Killzone 2”

  1. Wow…that lag test seemed like it took alot of work.

    I can’t wait to visit and try the game out for myself, but I know I prbly won’t enjoy it as much as you do 😛

  2. I remember watching a movie with some Killzone 2 gameplay and the first thing I noticed was how realistic the jump looked.

    Too bad the PS3 is so much more expensive. I can’t justify getting one.

  3. I think I’m an RPG-fanatic that loves FPSes at heart…if only someone would do a good job meshing the two (see Halo / Final-Fantasy mashup)…

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