The Good & The Bad: Killzone (PS2)

Killzone (PS2)

 

Pros:

  • Story:  The idea of a civil war emerging on a far-off colony is not new, but the way that it is presented managed to keep my attention for much of the game.  It's interesting to think that humanity could split into two different species and this puts a spin on the in-fighting of normal intraspecies warfare  I was left wondering how the battle would proceed in the sequel and what Helghans had in store for their counterattack.
  • Voice Work:  I think the voice acting is possibly the best I've heard in any PS2 game.  The voices fit the characters and do a great job of making the cutscenes interesting.  There were certainly times where I felt like I was watching a space opera and that is when the game really shines.
  • Reload Animations:  Killzone was way ahead of its time when it comes to reload animations.   The guns are pretty pedestrian, but the animations are fantastic.  I felt some real tension as I watched my character fluidly change magazines in the face of a relentless Helghast onslaught.
 

Cons

  • Technical Graphics:  This game has more graphical hiccups than you can count.  Textures are constantly popping in and you'll swear you're always in a jungle valley with the amount of fog that will obscure your vision.  The game has a terrible time keeping pace when the action gets hectic and it is immensely frustrating in some spots.  It's also painful to try and target a distant enemy who looks more like a shadow than a soldier.  Another bother is that there is not a transition to the zoomed view when looking down your sites; instead the magnification on the screen just changes.  It is an awkward solution at best and is jarring for the first few hours of play 
  • Voice Work:  Don't get me wrong, the dialog in the cutscenes is fantastic, but I was nearly driven mad by the constant screams and yells of the Helghast soldiers and annoying allies.  They are insanely repetitive and made me want to shut the voices off completely.  Unfortunately, you will then miss out on conversations regarding your objectives and some in-game banter that is worth hearing.  I am not exaggerating when I say these are the most annoying sounds I've ever heard in a video game.  You will want to slaughter every enemy and ally soldier with extreme prejudice by the end of the game.
  • Fun Factor:  There is almost no enemy variety in the entire game and the strategies you use to fight your way through the endless masses never really change.  There is actually a good amount of variation in the environments you see, but it doesn't make them feel different.  You're just hiding behind a different colored rock in a different colored haze.  Another big downer was the weapon selection.  You have all of the genre standards, but many of them feel weak , look uninspired, and lack any personality.  And worst of all, the shooting just isn't exciting; the death knell of an FPS.
  • Controls:  The controls feel way too floaty.  You have the option of changing the sensitivity, but I never felt comfortable with the aiming in this game.  I play a lot of FPSes and I can honestly say that this one has a really unique feel that I simply did not like.  I may be somewhat biased because I despise the DualShock for shooters, but I could never overcome the awkwardness of it all.
 
Final Word:  You just can't go home.  Playing a 6-year old shooter is a not the greatest idea to start with and Killzone does little to help itself interesting.  With the other quality games that were emerging at approximately the same time, Killzone never stood a chance.  Interesting only as a teaching point for Guerrilla and Sony and an outside-in look at how a successful franchise can rise from the rubble for the rest of us,  Killzone is certainly better left on the shelf today.

5 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by RenegadeSaint

Killzone (PS2)

 

Pros:

  • Story:  The idea of a civil war emerging on a far-off colony is not new, but the way that it is presented managed to keep my attention for much of the game.  It's interesting to think that humanity could split into two different species and this puts a spin on the in-fighting of normal intraspecies warfare  I was left wondering how the battle would proceed in the sequel and what Helghans had in store for their counterattack.
  • Voice Work:  I think the voice acting is possibly the best I've heard in any PS2 game.  The voices fit the characters and do a great job of making the cutscenes interesting.  There were certainly times where I felt like I was watching a space opera and that is when the game really shines.
  • Reload Animations:  Killzone was way ahead of its time when it comes to reload animations.   The guns are pretty pedestrian, but the animations are fantastic.  I felt some real tension as I watched my character fluidly change magazines in the face of a relentless Helghast onslaught.
 

Cons

  • Technical Graphics:  This game has more graphical hiccups than you can count.  Textures are constantly popping in and you'll swear you're always in a jungle valley with the amount of fog that will obscure your vision.  The game has a terrible time keeping pace when the action gets hectic and it is immensely frustrating in some spots.  It's also painful to try and target a distant enemy who looks more like a shadow than a soldier.  Another bother is that there is not a transition to the zoomed view when looking down your sites; instead the magnification on the screen just changes.  It is an awkward solution at best and is jarring for the first few hours of play 
  • Voice Work:  Don't get me wrong, the dialog in the cutscenes is fantastic, but I was nearly driven mad by the constant screams and yells of the Helghast soldiers and annoying allies.  They are insanely repetitive and made me want to shut the voices off completely.  Unfortunately, you will then miss out on conversations regarding your objectives and some in-game banter that is worth hearing.  I am not exaggerating when I say these are the most annoying sounds I've ever heard in a video game.  You will want to slaughter every enemy and ally soldier with extreme prejudice by the end of the game.
  • Fun Factor:  There is almost no enemy variety in the entire game and the strategies you use to fight your way through the endless masses never really change.  There is actually a good amount of variation in the environments you see, but it doesn't make them feel different.  You're just hiding behind a different colored rock in a different colored haze.  Another big downer was the weapon selection.  You have all of the genre standards, but many of them feel weak , look uninspired, and lack any personality.  And worst of all, the shooting just isn't exciting; the death knell of an FPS.
  • Controls:  The controls feel way too floaty.  You have the option of changing the sensitivity, but I never felt comfortable with the aiming in this game.  I play a lot of FPSes and I can honestly say that this one has a really unique feel that I simply did not like.  I may be somewhat biased because I despise the DualShock for shooters, but I could never overcome the awkwardness of it all.
 
Final Word:  You just can't go home.  Playing a 6-year old shooter is a not the greatest idea to start with and Killzone does little to help itself interesting.  With the other quality games that were emerging at approximately the same time, Killzone never stood a chance.  Interesting only as a teaching point for Guerrilla and Sony and an outside-in look at how a successful franchise can rise from the rubble for the rest of us,  Killzone is certainly better left on the shelf today.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Nice write-up.  I'd tried out the game when it was first released, but thought it was pretty dull and flat.  Not a terrible game by any means, just vanilla, and the control scheme and mechanics felt rudimentary in comparison to what was out on the market (read: Halo, Timesplitters, and to an extent, Red Faction).
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Posted by Claude

"You just can't go home" reminded me that I just went to see where Thomas Wolfe grew up in Asheville, NC. You truly can't go home again.

Posted by 014

I recently played the Killzone 3 demo cooperatively with my cousin. It was fun, and I decided I was going to buy it used. I decided I'd check out Killzone 2 to see if it'd be worth playing through that first. It looks like it is, so I decided to get that first. The thought process continued, and I looked into the original Killzone. Its lack of co-op and its old graphics were major turn-offs. Your write-up solidified my decision: skip Killzone and start with 2. Thanks.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

@014: Good call. Sometimes you just can't go back. It actually makes me shudder a little to think about playing the original again, but I really should try to get through Killzone 3.

Posted by 014

I was delighted to find another co-op series to beat with my cuz. And since it isn't really new anymore, I can get Killzone 2 for about $10 shipped and Killzone 3 for about $25 shipped. Beat and sell... it's a great deal.