I never played the original Killzone on the PS2 but I heard it wasn’t very well received. I did however play the PSP version and really enjoyed the tactical top-down shooter. It was tough, but satisfying advancing bit by bit to your next objective. Although Killzone 2 looks fantastic, initially I wasn’t too happy with the game until I realised I was playing it in the wrong way. If you attempt to run and gun in this game you’ll die instantly, as the Helghast are all fantastic shots and will take you down quicker than Barack Obama’s trying to take down Guantanamo Bay. This game’s all about being tactical, finding cover and flanking your enemies. Be patient, clear out each area and only then moving forward is the best way to play here.
So in this sequel the Vektan army’s taking the fight to Helghan and trying to get their hands on Emperor Visari. Of course, similar to some recent real war scenarios, they weren’t expecting the Helghan to put up quite the fight they do so there’s plenty of carnage as you fight onward to take their land, secure their technology and stop them using a big bomb against you.
If you’re used to playing Call of Duty and the like you’ll find the controls a bit sticky and sluggish here, but when you’re used to it, it all adds to the feeling you’re moving about with heavy armour on like a real soldier. Of course your Legion squad’s the usual bunch of meatheads we’ve seen before in Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3 and they all behave in the way you’d expect. And for some reason your character Sev is really short. The perspective’s a little odd and it seems like you’re hunched over or crouching throughout the game. Did they motion capture Tom Cruise or something?
Weaponry ranges from machine guns, rifles, shotguns and sniper rifles to flame throwers, rocket launchers and some of the Helghan’s own technology such as their electricity gun. You’ve also got some handy grenades to chuck to blow up your enemies or make them run from cover. I’m very impressed with the enemy AI here. They take cover just like they should and sometimes rush you if they spot you’re reloading. It’s a pity your teammate AI isn’t as good. More often than not they’ll stand in the open only to get downed and need reviving. Weirdly you can zap them back onto their feet with a little ray gun but as you break cover, you usually end up dying yourself.
There’s nothing brand new here and it’s all quite derivative, yet it’s all made very well with fantastic presentation, tough, tight gameplay and a superb action movie soundtrack. Single player will keep you going for a fair while but it’s a shame there’s no co-op mode. There are times in single player where you can choose high and low paths or go separate ways and it would have been great to see a Gears of War style co-op mode to take full advantage of this gameplay mechanic. Thankfully there is VS multiplayer where you can about more freely playing the usual matches against friends and strangers alike.
Killzone 2 surprised me and won me over the more I played it. If you want a game that’s more tactical and visceral than Resistance 2, here it is – just wait until the 27th of February to get it. Killzone 2 gets a brilliant 9 out of 10.