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Killzone 2


17:3424/02/2009Posted by Zoheir Beig8 Comments

We’ve been here before of course. Back in 2003 the original Killzone was unveiled as the game that would emphatically wrestle the FPS initiative back to PlayStation 2, away from Microsoft, Xbox and the mighty Halo. Blinded as the press and public were to some admittedly impressive technical demonstrations, the game went on to sell well over a million copies, presumably before anyone had the chance to realise how many cracks there were beneath the invitingly shiny exterior and how poorly Killzone compared – if not in looks, then certainly in playability – to Bungie’s masterpiece (a game that appears to take on more and more significance as the years pass).

killzone1Skip forward two years to E3 2005. Killzone 2 is unveiled to an industry as the tech demo – sorry, game – that would cement PlayStation 3’s inevitable market leadership, even with the launch of the Xbox 360 just months away. Sony’s response appeared reminiscent of an advertising slogan Nintendo used in the months before the launch of Nintendo 64: “Is it worth the wait? Only if you want the best!”. As we know, the PlayStation 3 has hardly had an easy ride since.

By now you’ll have already seen the corresponding score. Chances are you’ll have also made up your mind as to this review’s merits, or even those of Killzone 2 as a game overall. So for everyone disembarking at this point, the brief summation is thus: Killzone 2 does very few things that are new and it won’t exactly win the Pulitzer for its attempt at fiction, but it may just be the most accomplished slice of genre gaming this generation has yet produced, with every noteworthy strand of technology and game design collated into one console-defining title. Where others have innovated, Killzone 2 has refined to the nth degree; this approach may be considered cowardly, but it will work wonders for the average gamer.

killzone2What suggests Killzone 2 is such a successful creation is that after a while the soundbite-worthy features that stand out in the initial hours gradually give way to an experience that is all about the feel and the immersion of play, a factor that was sorely lacking from the original game. From the heaviness of movement to the debris that chips off each pillar through gunfire, the world of Killzone 2 is tangible, realistic and incredibly well conceived. The visuals, even after such blog-friendly hype, are astonishing, but would represent little more than a hollow victory were they not supporting this cohesive ethos. Narrative excepted – and it is a big exception – Guerrilla has placed a certain gravitas upon their vision of warfare and ensured that everything works towards this goal.

A case in point would be early on when your squad finds itself ambushed in one small corner of Visari Square by charging Helghast troops. Wave after wave of enemies appear, past the point that other FPS shooters would have reasonably given the player a break, but it never feels unfair; instead it’s the first intense set-piece in a game loaded with such encounters. By the end our ammo was down to single digits, our reaction one of being genuinely relieved to have survived. The final assault on Visari Palace is similar, a sustained battle during which every inch gained feels vital and where retreating even a few steps invites the Helghast forward.

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8 Comments »

  • Seanscythe said:

    “Countless lauded exclusives have spectacularly flopped since the PS3’s launch”
    Which ones? MGS4? Resistance 1 or 2? Uncharted? GTP5? Motorstorm 1 or 2? I’m sorry but which ones? You said Countless, so where is this list?

  • ArbocMata said:

    Great review. Cant wait for its release.

  • Z3M0G said:

    Seanscythe, most of ’08s exclusives were incredible, but that does not apply to the entire PS3 life cycle… Lair, Haze, Heavenly Sword, Socom, etc. Many would still find love for some of those games (as do I) but they did not perform critically like the ones you mentioned. I’m just pointing out that the comment in the review has merrit.

  • CRAZYSPYDER said:

    unlike some,i loved the first one so when the 2 was coming i never for once doubted it would be this amazing.have pre-ordered and will play the shit out of this game on day one!

  • Rebel said:

    This game is Sony’s last gasp in this console war. It better sell 5+ million in the first month. All that is left behind this game in 2009 is such great titles as:

    - Noby Noby Boy
    - Flower

    Watch, I bet the servers cannot handle the minimal load and there are loads of “stats” problems. Just like the SOCOM and RSV2 launches.

  • TexasLottoWinningNumbers said:

    nice review, good post

  • D.O. said:

    @Rebel

    GOW3, Heavy Rain, Infamous, Uncharted 2, and MAG.

    These are but few exclusives that Sony is publishing and only and only Heavy Rain is developed by a company that isn’t owned by Sony. So KZ2 isn’t Sony’s last stand they still have those and other exclusives like DC Universe Online, Free Realms (Casual MMO), The Agency, and the reason I got the PS3 it’s the eventual 3rd Team Ico game.

    Resistance 2 did not have any server issues so technically the online aspects depends on the devs and how well they can develop or control the PS3’s complex architecture.

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