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Killzone 2: As reviewed by Karl Rosner

*After hearing about how this review could possibly be edited the bit mod staff I deiced to post it here. It originally went live on my site but it was self edited with out any external input. It was a tricky bit of business considering my minimal experience with editing.  Regardless, I hope you enjoy reading.

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A while ago a friend suggested that I take a closer look at Killzone 2. Favourable reviews, his among them, and a good playable demo convinced me last month to purchase it. Since then I’ve played a lot of Killzone 2. So now it’s time, I have to ask the question.

‘Was it worth the cash’?

Well that’s a tricky question; let’s see if I can answer it.

Like I usually do, I started off with the single player campaign. It began with a magnificent looking introduction sequence, which delivered me straight into the action. The presentation was smooth and polished and crafted an visual experience that was hard not to enjoy.  So the game’s graphics looked amazing but I wasn’t on Helgan to site see. I was there to kick ass and take names.

Thanks to the demo I had a good handle on Kilzone’s control scheme and got right to the ass kicking part. Regardless I soon concluded that the pacing was slow yet steady. After dying a few times I learned that running up and gunning guys down, while fun, was not a good way to progress. The game went out of its way to teach me that the usage cover was the key to survival. Once I adopted the mentality of ‘cover equals life’ I found myself enjoying combat far more than I had previously.

After a bit more practice I exchanged my rather cautions approach for a bolder one. I started using grenades to flush out enemies from cover, flanking mauves to get around them and sometimes even direct assaults. However those kinds of mauves are best done delicately as the game lacks reliable auto aim snap. Because of that most my approaches resulted in failure but when they succeeded it felt awesome. After a while I struck a balance between offence and defence and soon afterwards I really began to fly through the game.

In time I invariably found myself identifying with certain weapons and began choosing them above the others. This choice was crucial as I was only allowed to carry a single primary weapon at any given time. The saving grace of that mechanic is your back up side arm, a high powered revolver with unlimited ammo.  Armed with the right gun and a bit of caution I soon powered though the rest Killzone 2’s single player campaign. It took me about ten hours.

During that time I never really got attached to any of the characters and upon reflection the characterization was rather weak.  Rico, a squad mate of Sevs, is a particularly good example of that weakness. His dialogue was often poorly written and vulgar. Both of those factors generally made his character forgettable. When all was said and done I enjoyed fighting on Helgan, regardless of the bad one liners or the terrible weather.

Check mark off the single player campaign, it was worth the money. But was multiplayer wroth it too? Well to find that out I’d have to try it. So right after the credits rolled I jumped online. That’s right; I set my sights on multiplayer.
For most people multiplayer is what they bought the game for. So its quality of either makes or breaks the purchase. I recognize the importance of good multiplayer and agree that if it’s not worth a damn then you just blew your cash.

In this case multiplayer was unlike anything I’ve played on my PS3. Killzone 2’s online component, called Warzone, is something like a mix between Team Fortress 2 and Call of Duty 4. In a nut shell, Killzone’s multiplayer is a class based, objective oriented, game with an experience point unlock system.

In an unexpected twist you won’t be using cover online. To keep matches ‘fast passed’ it was removed. I think that choice works towards the games benefit even if I do miss the lean and peak firing I had come to rely on.

Now all of that is pretty weird, but that’s nothing compared to how matches are structured. Instead of choosing beforehand what kind of match to host, you rather choose which modes will be included in your game. The game then randomly cycles though all the selected modes ‘live’ mixing things up. There are five different objective modes, they are Assassination, Body Count, Search and Destroy, Capture and Hold and Search and Retrieve.

Each of the ‘modes’ featured are effectively modified variant of their traditional counterparts found in other games. Body Count, for example is a simple team death match. Assassination has you kill or defend a selected player. Search and Destroy is essentially bomb mode from counter strike but with unlimited bombs. Capture and Hold has you capture areas around the map and by doing so gain points over time. The first team to the target point count wins that mode. The final mode is Search and Retrieve; it’s like a reversed capture the flag. The scoring zone is next to the enemy’s spawn making you run towards the enemy, rather than way.

Okay you got your ‘Russian Roulette’ of game modes, so what about the levelling and classes?  Well you start off with as a basic solider. It has no real benefits other than the ability to use almost all the weapons available online. Unfortunately you’ll have to unlock these weapons by completing the objectives and by killing enemies. Both of which earn you experience points. Obtain enough ‘exp’ and you’ll level up and unlock new weapons and eventually classes.

The first class you’ll unlock is the medic who can revive fallen players. Like all the extra classes he has a second ability which is, of course, locked. You’re going to have to earn it. You can do that by reviewing 5 people in a match, eight times. That unlocks the medic’s secondary ‘badge’ the health pack.

A secondary badge, like health packs, can be swapped out for another class’s secondary badge. To do that however, you are going to need to unlock the ‘right’ to modify the class in question. That’s a bit confusing, here is an example. I want to have proximity mines on my Medic, so I need to unlock the health packs secondary unlock. To do so I will need to heal five people in a match, eight times. I will also need to have unlocked the secondary ability ‘proximity mines’ and the class who possesses them, the Saboteur.

Now I could go on about each class and all the abilities, but that could fill a text book. So, I’m just going to list them off real quick. First you got the Medic, you’ve already seen what he can do. The second is the engineer who can lay turrets and repair guns and ammo creates around the map. The third is the Tactician who can drop forward spawn grenades. The fourth is the Assault that has extra armour and full health regeneration. The fifth is the Saboteur, who can disguises himself as the enemy. And the last is the Scout, who is the obligatory sniper.

Take all of those guys, put them in superbly designed levels and make them work as a team. Mix well and you have one seriously complex game. But does it work well? Yes…yes it does. In fact I’ve spent a lot of time unlocking everything available just to answer that question, and in doing so had a blast. Although I have some misgivings about things like spawn grenades, smaller 20 man games are always fun to play.

When all was said and done I had fun with Killzone 2, a rare occurrence between me and modern games. If I had to classify it, I would say it’s an experience akin to a roller coaster. You get on on and it starts, though expert usage of pacing it builds up your anticipation and then tosses you down for an action packed ride.

The story is nothing special and the characters are kind of bland. That doesn’t matter much though, as the world and enemies won’t give you enough time to care. I rarely see a title with as much love applied to its design as Killzone 2. If you own a PS3 you should at least rent it, assuming you can find it in stock. And if you can, I recommend purchasing it.

So there you have it, it’s worth the cash.

-Karl Rosner


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