Friday, June 26, 2009

Killzone 2 Review

Killzone 2 had some big shoes to fill when it came out. Between all of the trailers we've seen up til then, and the infamous pre-rendered trailer from 2005, people were expecting that world and more from the game. Putting all that aside, let's take a look at the game as it is, for what it is, and put aside all of the hype surrounding it.

Graphically, the game is amazing, if you go back and take a close look at the 2005 trailer then you'll most likely agree with me when I say the final game looks even better! Not only are the textures insanely high-res, not only do the models have near perfect bump mapping, not only is the lighting amazing, but we also have great animation. Characters move realistically, flags blow and sway in the wind, facial expressions are done with such pristine quality that you can see the ripples of flesh moving on their face. If there is ever a prettier game than this, then let that game be called the best looking game, but for now, Killzone 2 holds the title.

In terms of gameplay, it's pretty much your standard First-Person shooter fare, you run, take cover, pop out, shoot someone in the head, go back in cover, rinse, repeat. The controls seemed a little awkward at first, and they definitely take some getting used to, but once you do, it's all good. The gameplay is really amplified just by how nice everything looks, it creates a great sense of atmosphere, and the game does a great job of making you feel like you're actually there.

The story is pretty basic, you go here, shoot some dudes, go there, shoot some bigger dudes, go somewhere else, blow up a tank, get on a turret, shoot some more dudes... basically, it's your standard First-Person shooter fare. However, it definitely benefits from the well done presentation and the intoxicating atmosphere of the game. They do try and make the story as compelling as possible, but the characters are pretty forgettable. Later on in the game, some big events happen that they want you to care about, but you end up just being like "whatever, I'm just gonna shoot some more dudes". Overall, though, I enjoyed the single player for what it was, and it definitely didn't come off as a bad story, and it even had a solid ending to it, but the best part of it wasn't the cutscenes, it was the action. When your commander radios in and tells you some Helghast are coming your way, and then they all come out after you, it's always really cool, and pretty intense.

The multiplayer component is no slacker either, and is probobly my favorite part of the game. Each room can support up to 32 players, and all of the maps are just the right size so you feel not too close to each other, but not too spaced out either. After each match, you rank up. Staring at the lowest rank and working your way up, earning different badges for doing specific things, like a certain number of melee kills, or a certain number of headshots. The whole thing feels very much like Call of Duty 4's online play, but there's more to it than that. Each multiplayer game has a few different modes that it will switch through, and depending on what happens in one mode, it will tie it in with what the next mode will be... for example, both sides are trying to place propaganda speakers on the other team's side, depending on who wins the round, the mode will switch to seek and destroy, and one team will destroy the propaganda speakers that were placed in the last game. This all happens in a single game, without taking any round breaks or anything like that. Also, after ranking up enough you begin to unlock new abilities, like a medic gun, or a cloaking device, or even a saboteur ability, allowing you to disguise yourself as the other team. This gives the online some more depth, and makes it feel a little bit like Team Fortress. This is all topped off by a complete lack of lag, and graphics that match the single-player campaign.

Overall, Killzone 2 is an amazing game with stunning visuals, intense action, compelling multiplayer, and is definitely something any PS3 owner should pick up.

I give Killzone 2, a 5 out of 5.

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