Developer: Gurreilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Also on: N/A (PLAYSTATION 3 Exclusive)
Console Played on: PLAYSTATION 3
Release Date: Friday February 27th 2009
Rating: PEGI 18, BBFC 18
Nearly 6 years ago, there was wind of a certain project that was not only Sony’s first foray into the FPS genre but it was rumored to be at last a Halobeater, it could finally take on Halo and be out the same year as Halo 2.
It was known at the time as Project Kin and was in development by Lost Boys Games. Oh how things have changed in 6 years. Project Kin has become Killzone, Lost Boys Games are now known as Gurreilla Games and are now a 1st party studio to Sony’s Worldwide Studios compared to when they were part of Game Republic.
Killzone though wasnt the success that everyone had hoped for, at Sony, Gurreilla or the gamers themselves. It got timid reviews giving it 7 – 8/10 with so many bugs and glitches, it was clear that the world wasnt ready for Killzone.
5 months after the release of Killzone on the PlayStation 2, Gurreilla teased fans of the series with a teaser trailer showing the next chapter in the series for PLAYSTATION 3, in “real time”. However, it turned out that it was just a render trailer and now, most gamers would be skeptical when they see a real time trailer of the game now compared to the E3 2005 trailer.
Now, 6 years after we heard of Project Kin, nearly 5 years since Killzone on the PlayStation 2 and nearly 4 years after that infamous trailer at E3 2005, Killzone 2 is finally here. The talk can stop and the hype can stop.
The question however is Killzone 2 the game which was hyped to be?
In 3 simple words…
Hell. Fucking. Yeah.
You play as Tomas Sevchenko, Sev to his comrades. Sev is second in command of Alpha Squad which is headed up by Rico Velasquez with your comrades in Alpha being Shawn Natko and Dante Garza.
It’s two years after the events of Killzone and Killzone Liberation. Within that time, the ISA have been planning a invasion onto the Planet Helghan to stop the Helghast steam machine from rolling on after the invasion of the Helghast on Vekta. Within two weeks, the ISA’s invasion is in full force, the objective being the capture of Scolar Visari, the leader of the Helghast.
Let me start on the story by saying the introduction of the game is amazing. While it aint in real time and is just CG but with assets from the game included, it is amazing. Brian Cox’s speech as Visari is simply unreal, it is truly an epic performance by him all round, not just in the intro but whenever he appears in the game each time he does.
Killzone 2′s story starts out slowly, you enter the capitial city of Pyrrhus (the level shown in the demo), but with each level, it works its way up getting better and better to the end of the game with an ending that sets up Killzone 3, and maybe even Killzone Liberation 2 for the PSP, absoutely perfectly.
However, for the next Killzone game, please be rid of Rico. As you progress through the game, you’ll know what I mean. That quite frankly is my one and only quelm with what otherwise is a strong and epic story.
But once the story is over, you can either do a new campaign for more trophies or you can move forward to online of up to 32 players or a offline mode known as Skirmish which sees you and 15 bots take on the multiplayer mode of Killzone 2 offline, but we’ll get to the online and Skirmish in detail near the end of the review.
Killzone 2′s gameplay is very good. Granted, it does take time to get used to, particuarly when using the scope and the SIXAXIS controls but they do come good and you will get used to them eventually. However, the SIXAXIS stuff at the start of the game takes a while as you need to figure out how to work them, even with instructions at the start of the game.
If you still feel the default controller layout isnt up to scratch for you, change it to the way you feel that pleases your style of play. You can even change it to a style, should you wish to, that feels more or less like Call of Duty 4.
The weapons in KZ2 are an excellent arsenal to go through the game with. You have some great weapons such as your ISA M82 riffle, VC32 sniper riffle (keep the SIXAXIS steady and you may get a perfect shot, its a nice touch) and even a VC21 bolt gun you get in the middle sections of the game but nothing can be as more powerful in the game as the Electricity Gun. With infinite ammo, one bolt of lightning can bring down several Helghast soldiers.
But even then, your so used to your M82 that it would be hard to let it go for another weapon, even if it’s a powerful one like the Rocket Launcher.
The Helghast are tough, really tough bastards, and they want you to know about it. Your on their planet now, their home turf, and they have several advantages that you dont have. One of them being harnesing the energy coming from the planet itself and transfering them onto mobile Arc towers which shoot lighting to bring down ISA forces, example of this can be seen at the start of the second level.
The AI for Helghast is absolutely incredible, probably the best I’ve ever seen for a game of this scale or even for any game. They will flank you whenever possible, they will throw in grenades to flush you out, they will do a barrel roll to avoid any grenades that you throw at them, they even know when to take cover whenever possible and will fire at you from cover.
The game starts out easy enough but AI is still intelligent enough to do all of the above but once the last 3 levels kick in at the end of the game, your gonna be throwing your controller at the wall, particuarly the end of the last level, you will be tearing your heard out at these bits.
I dont think I have to tell you this but I’ll tell you anyways, Killzone 2 is the best looking game on the consoles on any platform. The bar has been set for anything to beat it on a graphical scale, be that on PS3, Xbox 360 or hell, Nintendo Wii.
The enviroments around you are absoutely amazing, be that in the dark grey and dirty scale of Visari Square to the sandy outback of Helghan, they look honestly incredible. The character models do looks great, be that in game or in cut-scenes during the game.
And the lighting is simply second to none, it’s just simply jaw-dropping, especially in the first and last level of the games as well as the opening of the second level in the game, Blood Redian, it’s just amazing to look at. It also has nice little touches, an example of this is the color on your M82 scope changing each time with the enviroment, simply nice.
The only games I can see beating Killzone 2 in the graphics department is either the new Team ICO game, Heavy Rain or Uncharted 2 and thats just on the PS3, so other consoles could have a pop and see but simply, nothing can touch Killzone 2 at all, nothing.
The voice acting and musical score in Killzone 2 is astonishing. The voice track is anything from averge at some points to absoutely great acting. Some great digs in Killzone 2 as well in Garza and Natko, they take a dig at each other whenever possible and it’s great to hear.
But without a doubt, the name who stands out is Brian Cox. His brillant performences in the game is simply one that deserves an award or something, hopefully the VGA’s in December will recognise that, it is simply incredible acting from Cox.
And the musical score as well is simply matched for the occasion. The tempo for it gets better and higher the more dramatic the situation is at that point in the game. A special mention goes out to the main Killzone theme you hear in the E3 2005 and E3 2007 trailers, it has recieved a re-working and it is simply amazing when you hear it at the start of the second level, can not love this any more personally.
But we’re still missing one big thing that is in Killzone 2: multiplayer.
Online, you get 32 people of a choice of up to 8 maps in a mode known as Warzone, 5 multiplayer modes mushed into the one mega mode which consist of Bodycount (Team Deathmatch), Search & Destroy (one team defends, the other trys to destroy the objective), Search & Retrieve (which sees both teams try and go for a propaganda speakerbox, the more parts a certain team gets, the louder said propaganda can be heard from that team, be that ISA or Helghast, depending), Assassination (one defends the assassination target, the other trys to assassin said target who gets picked at random) and Capture & Hold (does what it says on the tin).
Although we highly love Warzone alot, there are options to turn off certain playtypes. So if you just want Bodycount and Assassination, its there for you.
Each time you play a match in Warzone, you get points for each match your in. Every certain milestones, you unlock ranks as you start from Private to General, you get certain badges which unlocks more classes you can play as such as the Scout, the Sabatouer and Medic, it’s a very good system of ranking up online for the game.
As well as the above, Gurreilla have set up an extensive community on Killzone.com (which can be also accessed from a in-game browser link) which could easily rival that of Halo 3 and Bungie. Clan support, stats from multiplayer and campaign and more, Gurreilla have set it up perfectly.
Meanwhile for Skirmish, if you dont have online or dont wanna play online, no worries. Gurreilla have set up Skirmish so you and 15 bots can try out the multiplayer of Killzone 2 all without going online with every map and every game type there available to play.
Whats also intreaguing is that the AI is based from the difficulties from the Single Player of the game, based from Easy to Elite so if you want a challenge, your covered.
From whatever time we have had in the multiplayer so far, we have not had any lag at all whatsoever, it runs perfectly smooth so even if your on the slowest of broadband speeds in the land, you should be alright, just make sure your not on 56k (if you are, why the bloody hell are you?)
Overall, Killzone 2′s multiplayer, be that online or offline is absoutely amazing. If Campaign doesn’t meet you needs, Warzone is easily still worth £40/$60, it’s multiplayer is simply the best on PLAYSTATION 3, Resistance 2 has met its match.
Final Thoughts: Simply put, Killzone 2 is a must buy, even if you have a PS3 or not.
The story in Killzone 2 does start out slow but it gets better and better all the way to the hard and epic finale of the game with an ending that sets up Killzone 3 brillantly, gameplay that, admittingly, does take a while to adjust to but in the end comes good and with some fantastic AI in the Helghast, spellbinding graphics, musicial score, decent acting with an Oscar worthy performance from Brian Cox and an online mode which easily takes on the best in the industry.
What more could you ask for?
Story – 9: It does start out slow but it gets more epic by each level setting up an epic finale which sets up Killzone 3 perfectly.
Gameplay – 10: Controls are a bit on the wonky side but you do get used to them eventually. And intelligent AI from the Helghast just makes this a worthwhile experience. And online, even without the campaign is easily worth the £40 on it’s own.
Graphics – 10: I dont need to say anything on them, you know how brillant they are. Simply the best on any console game.
Sound – 10: A great musicial score for Killzone 2 meets with a good voice cast led by an absoutely incredible Brian Cox as Visari, simply outstanding.
Overall – 10: There is no more to be said on this game. Killzone 2 is simply one of the finest games on the PLAYSTATION 3 and is without a doubt the best looking game on any console by any stretch.
If you have a PS3 but dont have Killzone 2 yet or you dont have a PS3, 4 simple words that need to be written on your forehead with a perminent marker:
Buy. This. Excellent. Game.