Sunday, September 15, 2013

Killzone 2 Review - The Darker Face of War

Killzone 2 – The Darker Face of War
Published  on and Copyrighted by Blast Away the Game Review on 9/15/2013
Review Written by Dustin Murphy 

  • Graphics that stand above everything even to this day
  • A storyline that is well written, scripted, and leaves gamer’s hungering for the sequel
  • Controls are easy to learn and use for players to adjust to. The controls can changed up through premade settings.
  • Multiplayer even to this day is still very much alive

  • Six-axis mini-game takes away from game immersion by requiring players to tilt their controller left and right to arm bombs.
  • Multiplayer even with the in depth true-to-the-setting maps can at times be hard to learn for new players, which could be a potential turn away.
  • Voice overs at times can be hard to understand and will require subtitles

Final Verdict: 7.5 out of 10

Final Opinion: Besides being a well-rounded title with a story that sets it worlds apart from other games of the First Person Shooter genre; Killzone 2 is a major accomplishment in graphics, narrative, and storytelling. The game will give players a true feel for epic battles and a more grim reality behind what war looks like. From the well rounded use of the PlayStation 3 hardware, this title is one that any PS3 owner should have. When it comes to the multiplayer, this is only suggested for veteran players. The learning curve for the multiplayer is high and requires patience versus the common run and gun of Call of Duty.

Replay Value: Moderate

  Killzone 2 is what could be considered a masterpiece when it comes to graphics, sound quality, music composition narrative, and story. The story puts players two years after the events of Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, players will find themselves taking their first steps into a retaliation fight against the Helghan after their invasion of Vekta. For players unfamiliar with the titles, I have taken the time to find a source that lists the information from beginning to end, and of course will fill in any gaps that players may not be familiar with. However, thanks to the lack of story in Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, players are not missing out much, but recommendation is there to play them at least.

Emperor Scolar Visari of the Helghast Empire
  Killzone 2 is something unique when it comes to storytelling, realistic characters, and a believable narrative that gives player a dark side to war. In the game it was something that drew me in as the characters interacted, built relationships, and of course responded to the events around them from character deaths, to invasions of their own personal bases. With a very realistic war against the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) and the Helghan army only known as the Helghast, players will experience a story that will quickly remind them of World War 2, but on a galactic scale. The title follows the story of Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko and his squad as they hunt down the top end leader of the Helghast Army, Emperor Scolar Visari a leader who many could easily relate to leaders such as Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.

  Through the campaign I found myself quickly introduced to the games improved control system from cover use as well as a newly improved lean mechanic, several of these will be lifesaving, while some of it will unfortunately be a death sentence. This however changes based on the difficulty setting players will pursue, for myself it was the hardest difficulty, allowing for a true teeth gritting, hair pulling experience that lead me to understand that this game truly stands out in the FPS genre. In Killzone 2 much of the game is experienced on the Helghast homeworld of Helghan, a planet that is so inhabitable due to exotic radiation, high-gravity, and the lack of resources that the Helghast have adapted and overcome this industrial planet. Players will see firsthand the towns, mines, factories and even the wastelands beyond that the Helghans endure on a daily basis. This while good, interesting, and even exciting can leave players having to adjust to the new atmosphere based conditions where they are at. From dark hallways, burning buildings, and even dust storms, each combat terrain will give players a feel that they have moved across widespread lands in order to bring justice upon Emperor Scolar Vasari as well as his treacherous General Radec who has no better goal than to see the ISA suffer for what they did to the Helghans (this will be discovered through journal logs, story, as well as background narrative if you listen to the Helghast when they talk before fighting). 

  My experience with the campaign was unique in many ways and because of such I want to break it down into several sections so as to highlight and emphasize on these points, but also so I can give you all a brief idea of what to expect. As far as the multiplayer, I will barely touch on it as I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked with it, and this is because of my having not purchased the DLC so finding matches was difficult.

-Cover and Lean System as well as Six Axis Use-

  In Killzone 2 players are introduced to multiple forms of tutorials that will inform them of multiple changes from the earlier installment (Killzone: Liberation is a over the head shooter, hence why installment was mentioned) that were very welcomed. This is primarily the cover system that was touched on with Killzone, however hardly used. The cover system allows players to crouch against barricades, walls, trenches, and of course any form of debris nearby turning it into cover so as not to take damage. This part of the game works wonderfully, so much that players will overuse it, and unfortunately get themselves killed when they should be constantly moving or at least thinking of doing so as enemy forces grow in size. This however, is not suggested when fighting Helghan vehicles or drones, it will get you killed. With using the finetuned cover system, players will find themselves blind firing their guns while waiting for health to recover and or before lobbing a grenade into groups of enemies. Did I mention that enemies will also use this system against you? The games AI does a good job at this causing players to tunnel vision on them while another AI will flank, and at times – swarm you to end your progression. It is something that can grow frustrating and at times cause players to feel turned off from the title, but fear not it will be something that can be overcome through changing up tactics. The lean is something that helps quite a bit with this issue thanks to not being able to hug onto walls like many of the third person shooters such as Gears of War or Uncharted. 

  The cover system luckily allows players to stand behind walls and lean out so that they have just enough angles to shoot an enemy down then move on. When it comes to larger scale battles though? This is something that can be a life saver when it comes to enemies running down staircases, jumping ledges, and or just straight up mindlessly rushing ahead. Remember, all these tactics can be applied to the multiplayer giving you a step up against enemy players.

When it comes to Six Axis, SCEA and Guerrilla pushed for it when it comes to features such as disarming bombs, arming them, opening gate's, using valves, and actions requiring players to tilt, rotate or even move their controller around. For many like myself this made the game a bit more interactive, to others it's a blundering mess that can make them loose some interest in the title. Luckily they will not find themselves using this function often as it seems the games primary focus was showing off how powerful of an engine Killzone represents.

-Campaign -

Killzone 2 by far has to be one of the best and most in-depth games I’ve played until I realized the slight World War II-esque feeling to it. As in the Germans and Nazi’s picking at one another till someone fires the first shot and it all blows up into a rather large scale war. The story is told in the first person perspective of the main protagonist Sev (for short) and his squad which features members, Garza, Rico, and Natko. The story is told through many forms including in game discussions between the main character, the team, as well as other members of the ISA, enemy discussions, com chatter, radio broadcasts, and intel that can be found throughout the areas players will explore as they progress into the story. When it comes to the games Narrative players will come to find a disapproval (at least I did) for Rico who is nothing short of your stereotypical soldier that does everything without cause and effect or the possibilities based on his decisions. This leads to many of the moments where the very well scripted story is portrayed with Rico spouting off, squad members being injured or a tragedy that has occurred and Rico decides it’s time for the team to go gun-ho into a fierce battle that lasts longer than it seems it should, thankfully that is over quickly if player’s can lock down areas and flank enemies when needed.

Thanks to how Guerrilla Games had the story written players will in some ways begin to want to play as the Helghast due to the events that took place in Killzone 2 and sadly that’s not going to be delivered upon. Even though gamer’s will not take the reigns as a Helghast soldier they will however be able to get more insight to the Helghast through logs, audio recordings, video clips which feature Visari and his council, and of course the mysterious and deadly General Radec. In the campaign players will hear many audio broadcasts that are in regards to the Helghast Agenda as well as raising awareness about the ISA invasion. As the story progresses further in players will find them far and few between as they leave the Helghast cities for their factories and mining facilities that are heavily guarded. This will remain to be much of the games experience and won’t be the end of it till the credits roll. 

-Multiplayer -

Killzone 2 provided an interesting take on what it meant to play online in a first person shooter. At the core the multiplayer is very straight forward and basic. Game modes include Assassination, Search and Retrieve, Capture and Hold, Body Count to name a few. Assassination being the first in order is a game mode which reflects heavily upon the VIP game types where each team is after a set target and that target accumulates points to fill up their victory meter. Body Count speaks for itself as a team death match mode where players will hunt each other down for the most kills in order to win. Search and Retrieve is a one sided Capture the Flag where one team is pitted against the other to retrieve intel and get it safely back to base to win. Search and Destroy is just that, teams will destroy their pin pointed target in order to win. Capture and hold is simply holding randomized locations and accumulating as many points as possible over a span of given time while that location is active. 

In the multiplayer players will also get to notice several classes that are set up and ready for them to select these classes include Engineer, Medic, Scout, Rifleman, Assault, Tactician and Saboteur. Each class has specific unlocks that will become available as players level up. For example the engineer gets a sentry boat that can be easily stated to be quite devastating if left to run rampant. The medic gets a revival tool that allows him to heal and friendly players as they are picked off by enemy forces. The scout can after a certain period of being used can go stealth so that enemy players can’t see them as long as they move slowly and or don’t shoot their weapons. Unfortunately this game does not support a offline local competitive mode for those seeking to LAN party.

When it comes to summing up Killzone it can be said the game is quite ambitious, graphically advanced, and very well rounded when all piled together and not being nitpicked. Though the story unfortunately will leave a few loop holes requiring players to either search for the answer online or wait and play Killzone 3 so that they may get a full understanding for what had occurred in Killzone 2. This simply put; is a must have for PS3 owners.

Graphics: Well known for having pushed what the PlayStation 3 could do at the time, Killzone 2 delivers a life like appearance to the game. Delivering realistic Battlefields, appearances, and even movie like acting, the game is superb in every touch of realism it can deliver. Players will not be disappointed at the sight of this game being true eye candy.

Sound: On top of the super realistic explosions, gun fire, and voice overs, com chatter, and the other background effects, Joris de Man delivers a powerful score that resonates well with the games storytelling. In many ways the music portrays how players should be feeling from huge ensembles to the small dull whisper of violin’s playing in harmony with cello’s and trumpets. It is the music in this game that helps truly deliver the emotional value the game deserves and the composer as well as his musicians delivers wonderfully. Thanks to the well-produced and well composed score, the game gets its emotional depth from. Highly suggest using a set of surround headphones to get a true grasp at what the team aimed for with this game.

Controls: Easy to use when it comes to basic controls, however when it comes to perfecting the use of the lean and cover systems players will have a bit of a tough time learning how to perfectly implement both.

Cost: 29.99 to 39.99 USD, the reason I state this is I highly suggest the trilogy edition that Sony and Guerrilla Games Released allowing you to get the 3 console based games on two disks with a digital redemption code for Killzone HD.

Official Twitter: @Killzone

Official Facebook: Killzone on Facebook

Official Website: Killzone Official Page

No comments:

Post a Comment