Killzone 2 was a game that was hugely anticipated long before it was even released. With the weight of expectation, the developers faced the daunting task of delivering a FPS that could live up to all the hype and possibly rival the highly regarded Halo series on the Xbox. Going into this review, I had not played any of the previous Killzone titles or had any idea about the characters or storyline preceding this latest offering by Sony. So I grabbed the proverbial ‘bull by its horns’ and braced myself to tackle the beast head on and see what Killzone 2 had in store for me.
As FPS’s go, the plot behind Killzone 2 involves your faction known as the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) taking the pre-emptive against the Helghast on their planet Helghan, after they initiated an attack on the ISA. Your character Tomas Sevchenko otherwise known as Sev, is part of Alpha Team. This is a special forces unit assigned to take down the Helghan leader Scolar Visari. So with the task set and objective determined, you are thrust straight into the war zone along with your team. From the onset, the action is intense to begin with. There’s no time to ease yourself into the game which starts off at a blistering pace.
The single player campaign mode has a sort of multiplayer vibe to it, in that you are also playing alongside one or more of your squad members throughout the game. This generally works well with the decent AI on the squad members. They will cover your back but may sometimes hinder your progression. For example, at some points during the game, my squad member became stagnate and was blocking my path. They wouldn’t move, so I had to nudge them out of the way to move on ahead. This is being knit picky but it did happen on more than one occasion. Another flaw that I noticed in the game play was the game does seem to slow down whenever your character proceeds to a checkpoint or when the game auto saves. This is fairly apparent throughout the game however it is only a small distraction which doesn’t take too much away from the exhilarating action.
Killzone 2 has outstanding game play which incorporates a good cover system that you will rely on a hell of a lot throughout the campaign. With the cover system I was able to launch grenades and shoot from a distance before going in for the kill and finishing off the remaining Helghast forces. It was just end to end non-stop action battling the enemy as they seemed to attack in large numbers and at times, employed alot of strategy to their attack. There are also four difficulty settings to choose from and let me just say that I found it almost impossible on the hardest settings. But depending on the difficulty settings, your enemy will engage in different tactics while they bombard you with grenades, flank you and rush you from all directions. The best way to fight fire is with fire, and that means firing plenty of rounds into the Helghast.
The single player campaign is a good length and will take the average gamer a good eight to ten hours of solid game play. One thing that did bother me slightly was that Killzone 2 lacked a co-op mode. I found this surprising considering that almost every shooter these days utilises this option. This is not a major drawback though, and the single player campaign is still quite an engrossing experience in itself, but it’s in multi-player where the game really shines.
The amazing visuals in Killzone 2 are one of the games standout points. The character models are all elaborately detailed and well animated. The various environments through to the texture of structures and objects, and the lighting effects on the Helghan planet are quite noticeable and rendered exceptionally well. Explosions on the battlefields, the sun glare making it hard to spot enemies and the battle on top of a moving train come readily to mind. In terms of sheer visual brilliance, I’d put this title up there amongst the likes of Gears of War 2 on the 360. The visual landscape really brings out a feeling that there is a large scale war taking place. There is just so much going on at once that it’s almost like total anarchy on the battlefield. Full credit and top marks to the team at Sony, it’s two thumbs up for me in this category.
Killzone 2 has a fantastic orchestral score that’s so fittingly and dramatically composed. Sony really brings to life all the nuances of war in such a remarkable and impressive fashion. The voice acting is solid with no holding back on the ‘F’ words either. It may be your stereotypical adrenaline fuelled gung-ho style of dialogue, but it fits into the context of the storyline fairly well. During the battle sequences, you can really hear and feel every bullet, explosion and scream with the 7.1 mixed sound. This is all executed exceptionally well.
The single player campaign was intense, but multi-player really raises the intensity up a few notches. I spent countless more hours taking on my adversaries online. Killzone 2 comes with an in depth multi-player mode. There’s deathmatch, search and destroy and assassination just to name a few. There are six classes and twelve ranks that can be unlocked, so this should keep you playing for quite some time. Building up your characters stats is just half the fun. Playing against up to 32 people is epic and one can easily lose track of time when you’re in the heat of the battle. In a nutshell, multi-player on Killzone 2 is up there with the likes of Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare and Resistance 2 as amongst my favourites and the most fun I’ve had in recent times.
Killzone 2 features superb visuals and extremely intense battles. It's not quite Halo or Gears of War but it comes fairly close. There are other games of this genre out there that have more compelling storylines and better single player campaign modes. Having said that, Killzone 2 will take you on an explosive and gripping journey across the Helghast planet that will sure to test even the most experienced players. I must make mention once again how amazing this game looks. It’s just phenomenal and up there amongst one of the PS3’s more better looking games. The game play is tight and barring a few glitches, the omission of a co-op in single player campaign does hurt some what and prevented this reviewer from giving the game an even higher score. The deep online multi-player mode more than makes up for this and there is so much fun that can be had when you are playing alongside 32 people at once. At the end of the day, Sony has come up trumps with this PS3 exclusive title and in my opinion, if you haven’t yet experienced Killzone 2 then I urge you to get onto it as soon as possible.
AAG Score: 9.2/10
1. Outstanding visuals.
2. Superbly composed orchestral soundtrack and top-notched 7.1 channel audio.
3. Intense FPS with good game play mechanics and great cover system.
4. Online multi-player mode with up to 32 players is what makes this game.
5. Fun factor is 11 out of 10.
1. Single player campaign mode may only get one run with the multi-player being so good.
2. Noticeable slow down when the player reaches a checkpoint or autosaving.
3. No two player co-op option in single player campaign mode.
Reviewed and Written By Yuto Hayasaka