justariuss's Killzone 2 (PlayStation 3) review

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A great body without a soul (SP only)

Killzone 2 is interesting pairing of fantastic game framework and an IP that is...weak, to say the least.

This means much of Killzone 2's gameplay is really quite good. It might be the best looking game yet on a home console system. Dark, urban enviroments are slick and appear more detailed than any game before it - and they're filled with plenty of awesome effects, including some nifty lighting effects that blend colors together and give off a sweet hazy look. I'm not a fan however of the usage of some screen filters - especially the one that tries to pull off a film grain effect. Mostly though, I'm annoyed by the slow desaturation of color as Sev racks up wounds, eventually turning full black and white when near death.

The core of the game, the action, is quite fun. This is an action FPS and even though it has a sci-fi bent, it leans heavily on the Call of Duty formulae. You will be shuttled through scripted sequences take that place in relatively small areas, but they don't really feel all that small. The Helghast will fight you with pretty good intelligence. They usually try to stay behind cover, which they do use to fire blindly from. They do not mess around with a grenade in the area, which really puts the onus on the player to "cook" the grenade before throwing, giving them less time to react. There is a cover mechanic that actually works well here, that never takes you out of a first person view. You hold the L2 button to go into cover (or crouch if there is no available cover) and you use the left stick to move along the cover and duck out from it to fire shots. While this works well, it doesn't control as good as it should. You have to hold L2 the entire time you wish to remain in cover. It can be annoying to hold L2 while at the same time, using the left thumbstick to move in out and out of cover, also while using the right stick to aim (and clicking it for zoom) and R1 to shoot. I would have prefered being able to toggle into cover with something like L1 and using L2 for zoom.

All of the guns feel pretty good to shoot, but there really aren't that many. The gun you start the game with is really the best all around weapon because of its dot laser sight. It's not as good when fired from the hip as the Helghast assault rifle or submachine gun, but it is good enough and the laser makes it much better at range - and you find yourself at range quite a bit.

What really holds back Killzone 2 is the IP. It might be the worst IP I've ever seen of a game of its quality. There is no story whatsoever here, just a basic backdrop and setting. I guess in the first game (which I and many Killzone 2 players have not played) the ISA was invaded by the Helghast. In Killzone 2, the ISA invades the Helghast homeworld of Helghan. They give some people names in the narrative, but the game could have gone completely without them, they're that irrelevant. Beyond not having a story - what is here isn't all that good. The ISA, the Helghast...this is high school level creative writing at best. It makes Halo look like a litery masterpiece.

Guerrilla Games has done all of the techinical work here. The game looks great and plays good. It's a really good game. It isn't a great one though. In a market flooded with shooters - great shooters - Killzone 2 doesn't do enough to be truly great. The visuals are excellent but it doesn't help that a game more than a year old in Crysis still looks quite a bit better. Gameplay wise, KZ2's campaign plays a lot like Call of Duty, but CoD4 is the superior package. Infinity Ward has been able to successfuly script events with such high quality and Guerrilla just doesn't deliver on the same level. Killzone 2 does not have the ambience and sense of war that Call of Duty has, for whatever reason. Of course, its ultimate failing is its lack of any narrative at all and IP that is about as bad as they come. Killzone 2 is definitely a game that the PS3 needed and every PS3 owner should probably own a copy, but this isn't a Gears of War or Halo like franchise Sony wanted, it's closer to Resistance than the former series'.

24 Comments Refresh
Posted by Freki

Great review - you capture the game really well and I agree fully with your points!

Edited by thiago
"Gameplay wise, KZ2's campaign plays a lot like Call of Duty, but CoD4 is the superior package."

Why? I mean CoD4 is a great game, but in terms of single player campaign Killzone does a better job in creating the atmosphere of war and chaos. In terms of recreating war it is more successful, especially in the enemies behavior. In CoD4 the enemies are a lot more static and easier to shoot at. They don't seek cover or do anything out of the FPS standard established  since Wolfenstein 3D.

"but this isn't a Gears of War or Halo like franchise Sony wanted, it's closer to Resistance than the former series'."

Seriously, why? The dialog? That's a war! Did you expect poetry? The story itself is not bad, although it is not a masterpiece. If you are interested then you can learn more.

What people forget is that the true stars of this game aren't the characters you play with or go along with, but the Helghast.  Shit, they are even on the cover of the game!

Again, the continuous attempt to put this game down. Some people are desperately trying to destroy it. Give credit where credit is due, like in a meritocracy. Guerrilla did an awesome job and this is the TOP OF THE TOP  in terms of FPS on consoles. The number 1. That simple.
Posted by Justariuss

@ Thiago

I wholeheartedly disagree about CoD4. CoD4's AI might not be quite as good as KZ2's in that they don't seek cover if they don't have it - but enemies usually stay behind cover when they have it, unless forced out.

CoD4's campaign to me is just better. It looks, feels and sounds more like war. Nothing in KZ2 touches "All Ghillied Up". Not even close really.

Posted by TomRay74

This was a very nice review. Good job!

Posted by AkumaX

Thiago is surely trolling. If so, good job Sir. If not, you're an ignorant tosser of the highest order.

Posted by thiago
"CoD4's campaign to me is just better. It looks, feels and sounds more like war."

Soap's epic adventure. Riiiiiight. (Sarcasm)

It doesn't have as much things happening around. It relies too much on scripting (since the enemies don't go far from where they first appear) instead of having smarter enemies that run around and give you some challenge.
Posted by thiago

AkumaX: And you sir, with a Master Chief avatar, seems to have all your opinions well based on facts, right? (sarcasm.)

I am so tired of fanboyism.

Posted by AkumaX

99% sure it's a troll.

Again, if not, I think you'll find it's the Timesplitters monkey lampooning Halo. We're all gamers, and games are fun whatever platform they're on. Since I got my PS3 there's been no doubt in my mind it's the better machine overall, but blind fanboyism is not the way to go about it and you appear to be ignoring alternate posts the further you back into the corner. And as I said, both Halo and Gears of War are overrated, just like your precious Killzone. Fucking fanboys make me sick.

Posted by Lykosia

Thiago, don't take it so seriously. It's only a game and Justariuss' opinion.

Posted by thiago

If you make your opinion public then it is fair to expect to be challenged.

Fanboys have their butt hurting so much they feel they need to put this game down. If they came up with actual explanations about why they think the way they do (for example, explain where CoD4 would be "superior" or where exactly this game borrowed from others) then it would be ok. But so far it is just fanboys.

but this isn't a Gears of War or Halo like franchise Sony wanted,"

Fanboys suck.

Edited by Justariuss

I actually did explain why I think CoD4 is better. I've actually reviewed the game. You have not.

You've been firing off remarks like "faboys suck" and you're biggest mark against CoD4's campaign seems to be the name Soap.

Explain why you think KZ2 is the best FPS of all time - and exactly how are you not a fanboy? Is the new definition of a fanboy someone who realizes KZ2 isn't the best FPS ever? I'm glad I'm a fanboy then, since fanboys are correct.

Posted by Lykosia

Why be so pissed if someone doesn't like same games you do? You said yourself on other review that KZ2 is the best FPS ever made? How does that make you any different than some other fanboy calling Halo the best game eva?

Posted by thiago

Lykosia, I am not pissed because of his opinion, but this is designed to influence others opinions. He pretends his opinions are truth, when in fact are nothing more than wishful thinking of a hurt fanboy.

Anyways, a society where good work is rewarded is a society where I would like to live in. It's not an option to recognize where others do well.

Posted by Lykosia

I'd agree with you if he'd have been overly negative in his review, but he gave 4 out of 5 and wrote that the game is fun, good looking, but he didn't like controls and story. I've read many other, even professional, reviews that say the same.

Edited by Justariuss

Yep, that's my ambition in life. I exist solely to tear down Killzone 2 and Guerrilla Games. That's why I only gave it 4/5 stars and said it was "quite good".

Posted by thiago

Justariuss. Cod4 has the following problems:

- The enemies don't move so much and just stand still while shooting;
- The gameplay is very unrealistic, e.g., you can run while crouching;
- Replayability is zero, because the game doesn't offer much variation gameplay-wise.

Overall the game is good because they put several different missions there (one in Iraq, a sniper one, etc), but the game is the same old, which is not a bad thing.

In comparison to Killzone:

- Killzone has much better graphics;
- The story is better than CoD (yes, by far. Soap? Really?);
- The AI in Killzone seems smarter;
- The cover mechanics is innovation in a FPS and works well. The enemies also use cover, which is good. Depending on the difficulty level you play on you will find it challenging, which adds to the replayability factor;
- The sound is awesome, especially the sounds of the clips emptying;
- Playing Killzone without HUD and the crosshair is the best and most immersive experience ever;

CoD4 is a good game, but Killzone is better. Killzone borrowed nothing from it, because "shooting people" exists in FPS since Wolfestein 3D. So it is complete  non-sense to say that Killzone and Call of Duty are related somehow.

The only thing Killzone got from Halo where things that are considered standard by now, such a button for grenades and automatically recovering health. Other than that it has NOTHING TO DO with Halo, absolutely nothing.

This game is the FPS ever made, for sure. Why do you have a problem with that?

Edited by Justariuss

- Killzone does have much better graphics.

Killzone does not have a better story/campaign. You keep bringing up the name Soap like that is a legitimate point. It is not. For someone who complains about people using illogical arguments, you would think you wouldn't criticize a story because you dislike a name.

- Killzone does have a good cover mechanic. It will probably be copied a lot. It's not something I can't live without though. It's not that game changing - you always used cover previously, just without a defined mechanic.

- The sound is good - but I'm rarely effected by sound anyway. It would have to be bad - and that's mostly in the form of annoying music. In big budget games like KZ2 and COD, sound effects are generally always good.

- Up for debate I guess. I can't say that I've ever played anything without any on screen display or care to.

Look, I much prefer the COD4 campaign. It has more exciting, varied and better scripted missions that do look and feel more like war. "All Ghillied Up" speaks for itself. I don't have a problem with you thinking its the best FPS ever, but I and most others I think, strongly disagree. It's probably not the best FPS released in the last 2 years, considering Crysis, COD4, GoW2, etc etc. I prefer all of them over KZ2.

Posted by thiago

Well, Justariuss, that's the whole issue here. You have no arguments, you just need to pretend this game is not great. This is the best FPS ever made, and I have detailed why. You can't point a single thing about any of those you favor are better other then "I prefer".

I tried to play COD4 after I played KIllzone, what a shock. The biggest difference are the graphics, but everything feels worse.

Posted by LordAndrew

Thiago's just a butthurt fanboy. I've dealt with him before.

Posted by Justariuss

I'm done. I tried. I will just have to settle for knowing Thiago is an imbecile or a very persistent troll.

Posted by thiago

Where are your arguments, Justariuss? Is your butt hurting too much from the Killzone onslaught?

Edited by Seram

This thiago guy is getting on my nerves. Come on, he said the game is a really good game. If you think this is the gift of the gods sent down to revolutionize the FPS genre, then you really are blinded by your deluded obedience to the PS3. It's a great review. He points out a lot of good things of the game, and some minor flaws. Every game has flaws. He's not saying its bad, in fact, he said (and I quote), "The game looks great and plays good. It's a really good game". He gave it 4 stars for crying out loud. And if you're so unbelievably buried under the black shine of the PS3 and can't find the strength to pull yourself out, then just ignore the review. It doesn't affect the game and it shouldn't have any effect on your opinion of the game either. Seriously.

Posted by thiago

He made lame comments about the story and Killzone in general. He is just someone else repeting the "story is bad" mantra to try to put this game down.

The story is on par or is even better than msot FPS. It's one of the best stories ever presented in one FPS, better than the entire Call of Duty series and Doom series for example. If you want factual data about it then look it up on www.killzone.com.

I am just tired of fanboys trying to put this game down. This is a masterpiece and it deserves to praised as such. The controls and the cover mechanics are enough to put it in a class of its own.

Edited by FireBurger
This game is the FPS ever made, for sure. Why do you have a problem with that?
This is a masterpiece and it deserves to praised as such.
He pretends his opinions are truth, when in fact are nothing more than wishful thinking of a hurt fanboy.

Seems to me he says "opinion," "personally," "prefer," and  "me" a lot whereas you're the one making "factual" statements. He reviewed a game (four stars by the way), and you just attacked him for it. You bring up his review as attempting to affect other peoples opinions like it's some sort of a conspiracy...that's the point of reviews, to give one person's opinion.  And yeah, if it's unfounded then you can question him on it, hell you can even disagree with it, but you can't tell someone they're wrong. You ask for arguments? - he wrote an entire review that explains what he likes and dislikes...in detail. Just because you disagree with him, doesn't mean that he's wrong or that his argument is unfounded.

 A fanboy is someone who thinks that anything said against their game is flat out wrong, and is unwilling to accept the concept of opinion. I'm sorry, but that's exactly what you're doing. He gave an opinion with details and an argument. You disagree with that opinion, and are unwilling to accept it.

Lastly, this sentence is absurd:
This is the best FPS ever made, and I have detailed why. You can't point a single thing about any of those you favor are better other then "I prefer".

I wasn't aware that there was something that made one game better than the other besides personal opinion, or "I prefer." Opinion is the only thing that will decide which game is better, nothing else will. You can perhaps more easily argue which game is more technically impressive, but as a total experience the "better" game will be personal opinion.

He gave an argument and had an opinion. You gave an argument and had an opinion. You disagree. It happens. Stop being a close-minded Killzone fanboy and accept that people have legitimate opinions about the game that differ from yours. Have confidence in your opinion, and don't attack other people because of theirs.

Oh, and stop with the buttsex jokes and "(sarcasm)," it makes you look like a jackass.

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