Retro review - Killzone 2
OverviewNow, there are a lot of dark and dreary war is hell kind of games out right now, but the thing that makes Killzone 2 different is that it take that setting to the next level. The atmosphere is dark and depressing, and if you think you've seen this is games before, you've never seen it quite like this. From the brutal blood and gore to the downright depressing environments, Killzone 2 takes a worn out concept and makes it feel entirely new. But the thing that makes Killzone 2 so special is it's class-based online that's yet to be seen on consoles.
Killzone 2's story continues that of the first Killzone, but even more so that of Killzone: Liberation. In the first Killzone, the Helghast invaded Vekta in hopes of dominating the planet. In Killzone 2, the ISA are desperately trying to stop this war once and for all by taking the fight straight to Helghan, the home planet of the Heleghast. The story is surprisingly good for an action game such as this, and at the risk of spoiling the game, I won't get into it too much.
At the start of the game, you, Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko, and your squad drop down from an ISA ship and get right into the action invading one of the beachheads of Helghan. Once there, you get to work plowing through Helghast and get into what this game is really about, the amazing gameplay.
The feel of Killzone 2 was unique in that had very realistic physics that made your character feel "heavy." You didn't feel light as a feather like in most other first person shooters, but instead felt like you were controlling a soldier with over one hundred pounds of armor on. Some liked this, and other hated it. While it did take some getting used to, I found Killzone 2's controls to be very fluent and responsive.
The game also featured a cover system which always felt just right. To get into cover, you just approached pretty much any flat wall or object, and hit the crouch button to stick to the wall. I never accidentally slipped out of cover, and with AI as smart as this, you sure wouldn't want to. The enemy soldiers Try to sneak up behind you, flank you with grenades to draw you out of cover, and of course fire unrelentingly. This is definitely a challenging game at some parts, especially on the higher difficulty levels, but Killzone 2 never feels cheap. Any time I died, it always felt like it was my fault and not the game's, which made it that much more satisfying when I beat a segment I was stuck on for a little bit.
Throughout the game there was alway great pacing. Variation between open sniping segments, close quarters combat in the narrow ally ways in the Salamun District, and holding down a position with your squad as Helghast rushed you with brute force. There was even a few vehicle section in the game, two to be exact. One right in the first level in an ISA tank, and one closer to the end in an extremely powerful exo-suit. Both these segments were great fun and well placed as a breakup from the on-foot combat. And the massive twist that happens near the end of the game will leave you speechless. Though there was always a great variety in atmosphere, it was basically the same thing - Gloom and doom. Which, isn't really a bad thing at all considering it fit so perfectly with the game. This game is not a happy game at all, and unlike other games that have tried, nothing has pulled off the hellish war atmosphere as well as this. It's sort of a love hate thing. Though, the real star of Killzone 2 is its class based multiplayer, which has yet to be seen on the Playstation 3, or consoles in general for that matter.
Killzone 2's class based multiplayer was revolutionary on consoles, and those familiar this Team Fortress 2 should feel right at home. Also one thing that was very unique was how it switched game modes right in the middle of one session. It would be 5 minutes of Bodycount (team deathmatch,) 15 or so seconds of down time, 5 minutes of Assassination, where on team has to kill the enemy teams VIP player, 15 or so seconds of down time, etc. Now this can seem overwhelming when you first hear about it, and you may think, "What if I just want to play one game mode?" Well fear not, because you still can. There are always plenty of games with just one game mode, but once you try a game with all the game modes, you'll never want to go back.
Killzone 2 is very team oriented. In almost every game I played, there was always balance with people playing each class equally. If you died, there was usually a medic there to revive you. There always seemed to be engineers building turrets around Control Point and Search and Destroy bases. There were always snipers providing support, and all in all, the online felt completely balanced.
There is also a squad feature which let's people create four man squads. This serves as a huge advantage because if you were killed and your squad leader was still alive, you could spawn right on him. It kept you in the action, especially for games like Search and Destroy. The Saboteur class also had smoke grenades that when thrown, let the entire team re-spawn at that point. This worked great and made gameplay extremely. All of the players I played with were smart and threw spawn grenades right where you wanted them. If it was a Search and Destroy, there would always be grenades from both teams right by the bomb site. As on team is desperately trying to defend and one is trying to plant, whilst everybody spawning so close to the action, all hell would break lose. These moments were some of the best in any game, and they would happen in every game.
Each class has its own special ability and secondary ability. A class such as the engineer (shown) would have the ability to build turrets to defend a specific area, and then get the secondary ability to repair objects and build ammo crates but getting a certain amount of kills with the turrets in one game so many times. For example, the Scout class had a cloaking ability that made your character invisible while holding still. After getting 10 kills while cloaked in a single game 8 times, you would unlock the secondary ability to spot your enemies by having a line go across the screen, putting an "X" over any enemy players or equipment.
The maps in Killzone 2 were also extremely well desgined to cater to the many play styles of the different classes. Narrow places in the map for Saboteurs, who could disguise themselves as a random player from the enemy team (taking not only their appearance, but name too,) high places on the map for Scouts, and choke points for soldiers to battle it out in intense firefights.
All in all, Killzone 2 is a fantastic game. From the engaging and fun single player campaign that will take you around 8 to 10 hours to complete, to the revolutionary online, Killzone 2 is a fantastic package. It's easy to recommend to anybody who likes first person action games, and if you haven't picked it up by now, you should definitely check it out.