Killzone Review

Developer: Guerrilla Games Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: November 2, 2004 Also On: None

Killzone was supposed to be Sony’s answer to Halo, the behemoth of a FPS that has caused a wave of excitement with its new sequel. It’s obvious now that Sony felt at risk of loosing a chunk of the FPS fanbase, which had been predominately a PC/Xbox group to begin with. Killzone was supposed to change all of that. Did it?

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In Killzone, players will find themselves as four characters: Templar, Luger, Rico, and Hahka. These soldiers are all members of the ISA, a combination of a majority of human colonies. The ISA are at war with the Helghast, who fled for a planet which they inhabited that was contaminated, resulting in the weakening (then strengthening) of their bodies. The Helghast have a super-human strength. When they begin their blitzkrieg on the colony of Vekta, they trounce the ISA forces. The defense shield, located in space, mysteriously goes offline (there’s more to this than is originally presumed). Your immediate goal on Vekta is to locate a spy by the name of Hahka. Hahka is half-human, half-Helghast. Using Hahka can prove useful at times, as he can move through special defense zones, whereas other players would trigger a laser mine.

Killzone will have you start out as Templar. Later, as you meet the new characters, you will be allowed to choose as whichever member you want. This alteration of characters allows for a different experience each play through, though only slight difference will appear. Sometimes members will break up, one or two members doing one thing, while the rest do something else. Depending on your character, you might trek a different path. A fault with this is that you have no warning beforehand as to which location might benefit from playing as a certain character. It’s always a safe bet to play as Rico or Hahka, as they have heavy gun power.

The environments in Killzone vary in several degrees. You’ll begin the game in World War I-like trenches. This is quickly replaced with World War II-like inner-city warfare. A major chunk of the game takes place in the outdoors, be it Vietnam-like swamps, a port, a forest, or a mountainous terrain. Finally, you’ll venture into space in the final level of the game. While there isn’t anti-gravitational gameplay, you will get a nice view of space. The graphics aren’t that bad, besides the occasional issue with loading the foreground. As I said earlier, there are a limited number of character models. The locations themselves seem feasible. The city that you’ll fight in is desolate, leaving you wondering if this war was coming to a close, not just beginning.

One of Killzone’s finest faults is the repetitive nature of the dialogue. The Helghast will repeat lines such as ‘we need reinforcements’, ‘keep shooting’, and ‘advance’. There are not only no voice variations between your enemies, but they have very little noticeable change in character model. In fact, I counted about four different Helghast troops. One is the most common, with the black helmet and orange eyes. Two is the Helghast soldiers that appear to be bald. Three is the ‘super soldiers’, as I call them for their enormous endurance, which wear what look like coats. The fourth is a rocket propeller.

As far as gameplay goes, this is an untraditional shooter, in the sense that it requires a lot of cover. In fact, you won’t be making it far into the game, unless you use proper cover. Rocks, walls, metallic objects, etc. will all be viable sources of cover. Pressing the L2 button allows your player to crouch, further minimizing any chances of injury. The action gets a bit tedious by the time you complete the 10+ hour campaign. The scripted nature of the game, with levels that couldn’t be more linear, are both faults that can’t be overlooked. For example, they took their jungle out of a last-generation development book, by using inter-connected paths, with what look like pasted trees along the way, and try to settle it for something plausible in real-life.

Thankfully for us, despite having to kill practically the same swarms of enemies throughout the strenuous journey, a number of weapons (mounted and not) are available at your disposal. The satisfying glare given off by a guns continuous stream of bullets is a testament to what potential graphical enhancements other games in the genre can embark on. Besides that, it’s just fun to kill the bastards. The Helghast might not be as smart as the Covenant in Halo, but they know how to take cover, throw grenades, and overwhelm you with force.

While playing online, there doesn’t seem to be lag, which surprises me, since even Halo 2 has its hiccups with a person seem to teleport from one spot, instead of actually walking there. Speaking of online play, you can partake in up to 16 player of your favorite multi-player modes. This would include deathmatch, team deathmatch, supply drop, etc. There are a total of 5 team-based multi-player game types. Besides online play, you can also play with computer AI offline, or with a friend.

When the fog of war is lifted, Killzone might not be what you were hoping it to be, a Halo killer. It was never meant to be a Halo killer, it was designed as a ground-up military-themed shooter, that would replicate wars of past. It succeeded in doing so, and as such, deserves recognition. It should be said that the PS2 hardware is not capable of Halo, thus comparing Killzone to Halo is quite unfair to begin with. However the hype began, it has played a disservice to an otherwise decent game. If you’re looking for a shooter to add to your collection, with more length than most, Killzone will serve its purpose.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 3
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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