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Killzone 2 review
A damn fine shooter


Who would've thought that it could actually satisfy with all the hype behind it?
Let me say that games that get overhyped to bloody hell like Halo 3 and Kingdom Hearts 2 are generally... below expectations and leaves me screaming in agony over how disappointing it was. Halo 3 had awesome multiplayer, but a boring campaign that required one playthrough before either going online or chucking it into a bargain bin, whereas Kingdom Hearts 2 was basically a button masher with Metal Gear Solid 2 syndrome (as in an overabundance of cutscenes where they aren't needed - yes you could skip them, but the point is, most of the scenes can be summed up with "who cares"). Naturally, I felt indifferent to Killzone 2. But when I loaded it up on my PS3 and played it, I was actually psyched! Literally! Playing through it was freaking intense! The AI actually fought back intelligently! They... They actually act like regular human beings! The weapon selection was normal, but the impact each bullet or stream of fire made on the enemy just felt bloody satisfying. Hell, for once, I actually cared about how awesome the graphics are in a PS3, because there's just so much to experience and a hell of a lot to immerse yourself in. To sum up my opinion on Killzone 2, it's an amazing first person shooter, and if there was one first person shooter I was allowed to play and the rest were infected with plague, I'd pick this one.

Okay soldiers. I want you all to kill some Helgast. Do you copy?
Killzone 2 picks up straight after the original. The Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA - good guys) had one of their colonies taken over by the Helgast army (bad guys), so they head on over to the Helgast base on their own world to give them hell back. Expecing a low morale for the Helgast, the ISA believe themselves to be invulnerable, but boy are they in for a surprise...

OK, so the main plot isn't all that great. But hey, it's a first person shooter, and all that's really needed is the ability to wreak havok and cause chaos throughout the area with the blood of the enemies and some gunfire and awesome gun selections and OHMYGOD SCREW THE STORY THE REST OF THE GAME IS AWESOME!

Killzone 2 overkills the original. That's a fact!
The original Killzone was nothing more than a typical first person shooter with a few too many technical problems to be considered a gem, so beyond being prone to disappointment, I was indifferent because of how the original was, plus I was way more into Resistance than any other shooter (possibly because I don't have a 360). When you choose a system that isn't stockpiled up the ass with first person shooters, you can actually appreciate them and feel for how awesome they are, even if they end up bland by the time their awesome sequel comes by and blows you away with awesome graphics and intense action.

Now get out there and kill some goddamn Helgast!
At its core, Killzone 2 is nothing more than a first person shooter...much like that of Call of Duty actually, just better, that's all. With weapons ranging from pistols, to machine guns, to shotguns, and even the awesome-as flamethrower, you'll have one hell of a time killing Helgast soldiers.

Throughout levels, you'll have these objectives to complete, such as taking over (or just flat out destroying) bases and buildings, annihilating certain flying robots and such, at times, fighting in some mechs or in a tank, causing a lot of chaos throughout. Ooh yeah, gotta love the tanks and mechs for blowing stuff up or running down some Helgast... Of course, you fight on foot as well, with your gun out and your mood set to KILL. Dammit guys, I'm getting a boner, let's kill some Helgast with the sick as hell pistol!

Controlling the game is fairly easy. You have the usual shoot, weapon change, duck and sprint buttons (among others) and there are a few setups, so if one setup doesn't feel comfortable, just go to another setup and see how you like that. There has to be one for everyone, like the Call of Duty sort of one, or the Halo sort of one; whatever the case, SOMETHING has to feel comfortable. Getting past that, the controls respond very well and they have a sort of feel where if you die, it's because you buggered up, because the controls are just so tight, you know... One neat little thing incorporated into the game was a cover system - holding L2 allows you to cover behind something then pop up and shoot. It's kind of like in a third person shooter, but - holy crap, it actually works pretty well in a first person view! Yes, I know this was in Rainbow Six: Vegas (another first person shooter), but they switched to a third person view for covering there whereas Killzone 2 didn't, they stayed in the first person view. So overall, it controls very well.

You kids wanna see a dead body?
One thing I really enjoy about Killzone 2 is just how it's not easy, but at the same time, it's not "RARGH IM PULLING OUT MY HAIR!!!" hard either; it's actually just more challenging than the average first person shooter. In other words, the game is challenging to the point where you're getting your money's worth.

For one, the AI will not just stand there and take it like a bitch unlike other games *coughhalocough*. In fact, it's the opposite - they will *bleep* you up if you play like a noob. If you just rush in there and kill everything, they will shoot you dead. You're not going to live for too long if you play like a first person shooting dummy. Like, if you're not able to use covers or shotguns to your advantage where necessary, you're basically asking for death. Though that's not to say covering is a good idea 100% of the time... They'll just happily chuck a grenade your way, forcing you to come out or just flat out kill you. If you're not keeping a good eye on yourself, you may as well develop one while you're playing. Helgast soldiers will attack you from anywhere. Not only do they have a tendency to come in droves, but they will flat out destroy you if you don't keep an eye on your surroundings; they will flank, surround and blindly fire at you. Aren't they the nicest folk this side of the pond?

Suffice to say, the AI in the game is brilliant, LIGHTYEARS ahead of the original's. As I've said before, you can destroy the original's enemies without any problems whatsoever, but here, it's like "oh dude, we gotta start busting our balls to kill the enemy" because they don't want to be embarrassed like that again... I know I wouldn't want my army to be like that!

Killing each other just gets more addictive as time goes on and everything improves itself.
You'd be thinking "oh fudge, more of the same, well, I'm gone!" Oh no way dude, you gotta check this out! There's some real variety in the game modes, like propaganda (collect microphones and spread propaganda), assassination (assassinating a random opponent), among others and some fusions here and there, as well as the traditional KILL EVERYONE THAT ISN'T THE ENEMY mode. As for other menu related things go, if you're accustomed to Call of Duty 4's multiplayer, you'll be familiar with rankings and how it increases the more you play and the more you kick ass, unlocking more classes and weapons for multiplayer play.

Whether you're playing with other humans or some real smartass bots that flat out kick your ass (aka. some real good practise for human players), you have to make use of whatever's out there on the map while avoiding everybody's gunfire, and of course, the end result is a happy face, because you either pwned some noobs, or you just get a feeling of satisfaction from killing time playing a well designed first person shooter against people.

Only complaint - no co-op. Yes, I know the creators said so, but I thought it would've added another tint of awesome.

The trailer was not a lie.
If you remember the trailer, you would've seen some damn good graphics. Knowing some unrequited love between trailer and in-game graphics with some games (in other words, the in-game graphics looked inferior to the trailer graphics). Uncharted is a good example of this. Well, rest assured, Killzone 2's trailer is not buggerising around; the in-game graphics ARE that good! The character models, the vehicles, the buildings, the environments; oh man... oh man I just puked from excitement. The graphics are bloody awesome!

There's a lot of attention paid to detail here. It's not just in the fact that there are so many textures on everything that it's almost lifelike, nor is it in the fact that nearly goddamn every explosion looks as if it's telling you that you're a badass by looking awesome. It goes to the fact that there are individual strands in hair, facial hair, grass blades and what have you, as well as very well done fogs and reflections. Hell, I'm actually impressed that there's a huge draw distance (on HDTV anyway; if you're on standard definition, what are you doing with a PS3 first off...). In something like Uncharted, you can't quite made out enemies from like millions of feet away unlike Killzone. The draw distance, at this current time and age, is close to godlike. Almost life saving if it turns out they're snipers, gunning you down or shooting grenades your way via grenade launcher...

Better get the killer sound system and crank the volume to 11.
One standout thing about the audio in Killzone 2 has got to be the sound effects. Holy hell, do the gunshots sound awesome or what? Or what about them explosions? Goddamn! And they're very accurate with what they're coming from, so it makes it even more eargasmic.

But when you think about it, the voice acting is a mixed bag. On one hand, it's cheesy, it's so bad it's good, you get the picture, and same with the dialogue. It's got a real campy feel to it, trying not to take itself all that seriously, although war is, indeed, serious business. On the other hand, some people get turned away by its campiness at times, and that's fair I guess. Even if there are some who don't know when to shut the hell up, just try to block them out and plow through every enemy you see...intelligently, of course.

For all you maggots out there who didn't hear me the first time!
Killzone 2 is pretty much just about everything you could expect out of a first person shooter. It doesn't bullcrap around with any hand-holding stages, you get in there and kill every bad guy you see with blood splattering everywhere, all the while, immersing yourself in the loud sound effects, sweet weapons and cheese-corny dialogue. Load times are a huge pain however, but that shouldn't you.

Status report!
Story: 7/10
It serves its purpose of just being an excuse to kill some enemies. Nothing bad, but nothing special either.
Gameplay: 9/10
Intense action and some sweet AI encouraging you to wisen up while playing to compliment and back that up, awesome stuff.
Controls: 9.5/10
Responsive, a few varieties of control setup and a nice cover up system add up to some great controls.
Graphics: 10/10
Best on a console so far. Goddamn, they're so real, and they're going to keep improving...
Sound: 9/10
Cheesy voice acting and dialogue may set some people off, but everything else was orchestrated very well.
Other: -2/10
The load times were way too long for a first person shooter; even if the graphics are fantastic, still, that's not really much of an excuse to have 25-45 SECOND LONG LOADING SCREENS... It lacked a co-op mode, which would've increased replay value, but eh, it's okay either way.

Overall: 8.5/10

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