Killzone 2Every video game has their appeal – whether it's the story, the characters or fun gameplay, every video game always has something that makes it tick. Grand Theft Auto let you play as a guy who does whatever he wants, the Elder Scrolls series lets you explore the world and the Dragon Quest series lets you grind for six hours before beating a boss. There's always personality or even just a hook that keeps me and you engaged while playing a game, or at least remember it while discussing it by the water cooler.
Not this one. Anytime I play through a Killzone game, I keep getting the feeling that Guerilla Games is a studio that consists of robots who take what could work in a first person shooter and just go with it. In essence, the Killzone series has absolutely no personality. It is the very definition of a game that has the right ideas that are presented without any pizzaz, and that's what really pisses me off! It can work really, really *bleep*ing well if it tried hard enough, but it's just so goddamn boring that I'd rather watch paint dry!
So which one am I reviewing again? Killzone 2? Well, that's what it says when I open up the laggy as hell XMB and check which disc I have in. Seriously, aside from the fact that Killzone 1 was on the PS2 and Killzone 3 has more story, *bleep* if I can tell them apart! All three of them are so mechanical in design that I almost feel bad for them – they each have excellent graphics with a few exceptions, epic soundtracks and serviceable gameplay and set pieces, but the issue is that due to the dull presentation, it's like “eh” because it's just so boring! It should be exciting to blow stuff up inside a mech, but instead, I'm itching to eject the disc and play Homefront, a shooter that sucks balls. Why? Because I can feel something when playing that game – annoyed because they piss away a good story via terrible storytelling and then just tossing it to the side; annoyed because it has more set pieces than gameplay; annoyed because its multiplayer is almost cut and pasted from Call Of Duty with maybe a couple of additions – yeah, *bleep*ing annoyed, but in the end, I'm still feeling something other than extreme *bleep*ing boredom! Seriously, it's better to be shit than to be mediocre!
You know what, maybe Killzone 2 does have something to it that the others don't. It's called being the least stylish of the three, which says a mouthful and a half right there. Why? No *bleep*ing story! Oh, there's a speech by the Helghast leader that really, really sets the scene, but afterwards, it feels like the writing units played through Gears Of War a few too many times, as made evident by the fact that the characters are a bunch of testosterous foul mouthed cavemen, but the difference between Gears Of War and Killzone 2 is that Gears Of War does it to the point of parody while Killzone 2 – surprise surprise – plays it straight and makes me wish I was playing Gears Of War instead! Not to mention, this takes place on their planet, which would open the doors to develop the Helghast, but alas, all we know is that... umm... actually, I don't think you learn anything, other than the fact that all of them are soldiers. It's like Planet Helghan is one big North Korea. I would've loved to have learned more, but nah, that'll get in the way of the shameless and styleless macho tough guy exchanges – so sorry the thought of decent storytelling that could actually make this shit interesting crossed our minds!
Sure, stories and characters aren't the only way to give your game any style, but they tend to help. But maybe the graphics will help? Nope. The world you explore is industrius and cold, just like the game itself. You'll see many machines, factories and shades of brown and gray. Sure, the textures are spot on and the character designs are neat (especially the Helghast – those masks are badass), but there's nothing about them that really stand out. Like the story, there was potential to at least make it interesting, but instead, all we have is technical excellence backed up by dull presentation.
I guess if anything stands out in this game, it's the enemies. The Helghast, as they're called, have fairly good AI that have the capacity to kill you if you don't play it smart. There's no infinitely regenerating Helghast (unless the situation calls for it); just some smart tactics, so if you're quick to rush in to spray and pray, I hope you got a damn good gun, because that's the only way you can kill him without him killing you first, and don't get me started on groups in that situation.
But the same goes for a technical weak spot – the overall sluggishness of it. You move pretty slowly, which is pretty bad for a game that's meant to move at a fast pace. No, it isn't deliberate; it's slow – HUGE DIFFERENCE! If it was meant to be deliberate, it wouldn't feel like I had a 10 tonne gorilla riding on my back; it'd feel more natural, like... well, what we could've had here, which are enemies that are reasonably intelligent and will kill you if you don't approach them with some intelligence.
I really don't think there's much more to this game, and by extension, the rest of the series. Multiplayer is barely worth mentioning because, as you'd expect, it's about you killing other people, either in teams or in a free for all setting, and some modes have objectives like capturing the flag and securing places. Big whoop. Unless I'm playing Counter Strike or Warhawk (which were intended on being multiplayer games), the multiplayer is but a mere accessory in the grand scheme of things.
Three strikes, and you're out. Killzone, you are the weakest link – goodbye!