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'Killzone 2' is a beast with beauty

April 8, 2009

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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If it's one video game genre that seems to get more attention than any other, it's the first person shooter genre. It seems every developer on the planet is looking for the next big FPS.

We've seen every gimmick in the book thrown into first person shooters in the hopes that they stand out from the crowd. Few are actually successful.

So it's interesting that Guerrilla Games' 'Killzone 2' is so by-the-books. Even more surprising is that despite doing nothing new (gameplay-wise, at least), Killzone 2 is a damn good game.

Killzone 2Killzone 2 takes place two years after the events of the first Killzone, with the ISA (that's the good guys - we still haven't figured out what it stands for) invading the planet of Helghan in the hopes of capturing the planet's leader, General Visari, and ending the threat altogether. The Helghast soldiers (those are the bad guys, of course) are a bunch of mean-looking, red-eyed characters that want nothing more than to rid their planet of the ISA.

Players take control of Sev, a soldier who's as conventional a character as they come. Just as conventional is Sev's arsenal of weapons and the environments he traverses. If you're looking for originality, Helghan is not the place you should be. But if you're looking for rock-solid first-person shooter action, grab your machine gun and grenades, because you'll have a blast playing through the relatively short campaign.

The biggest thing going for Killzone 2 is its visuals. This is probably the best-looking game to hit home consoles ever, and from the opening sequence, right down to the final credits, players will be in awe (and we do literally mean that - the final credits are a work of art in their own right). Playstation 3 is less then three years into its lifecycle, and for Guerrilla to be putting things on screen that look like they do in Killzone 2 is reason to be in awe.

The environments are all incredibly detailed, character models look absolutely fantastic, enemies are plentiful, and there is rarely any type of slowdown whatsoever. This really is one of those games where it's worth it to appreciate all the little things when the action slows down; take a look at the scarred Helghast terrain, admire the amazing lightning effects in the sky, heck, just look at the gun in your hands and the reloading animations and blur effects when you zoom in.

Killzone 2Killzone 2 also employs what proves to be a pretty great cover system. Like in Rainbow Six Vegas and its sequel, holding down a button has your character stick to whatever piece of cover is closest. But unlike R6V, you don't move to a third-person view. In Killzone 2, you stick to cover but you're always in a first-person view. It works extremely well and truly does add to the authenticity of the experience. There's nothing like ducking behind an overturned vehicle, your head peeking out of the top, and just praying you're covered enough for your energy to regenerate as bullets fly by and explosions rock the ground near your position.

The problem, as mentioned earlier, is that there's nothing new here. No active reloading, no noteworthy weapons, no co-op (a travesty in this day and age!) ... the best Killzone 2 has to offer is the Dualshock 2 controller and its motion sensing technology, which is used occasionally throughout the game. You can turn valves with it, and keeping it steady is important when sniping, but that's about it. It would have been great to see something new here, but as it is, shooter fans will have to be happy with Killzone 2 doing a great job at everything that's been done before.

Our only other complaint is with the last section of the final level (and the final boss), which are both about a hundred times more difficult than anything and everything in the rest of the game. It's almost frustrating enough to not want to finish it. A bad game design decision.

Killzone 2Besides the single player campaign, there's a fairly robust online portion to Killzone 2. As is the theme here, nothing really new, but Guerrilla Games has taken bits and pieces from countless other FPS's to make something that is sure to keep fans playing for many months to come. Killzone 2 multiplayer supports clans, has five different game types (that, in a cool move, can be played in any combination back-to-back), several maps, and even plenty of stuff to do by logging on to the game's official website. It's here that you can send messages, view stats, check what friends are doing ... it's done very well.

In the grand scheme of things, and as better looking games inevitably get released, Killzone 2 likely won't be remembered as much as other, more original shooters released over the years, but in terms of games released in 2009, it's worth playing simply for the eye candy alone.

Shooter fans won't be disappointed, but if they can see past the stunning visuals, they'll find that there's nothing new to see here, either.

 

Killzone 2
Format: Playstation 3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Official Site: http://www.killzone.com

Rating: 8 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.