Did you know the equipment soldiers have to carry on the battlefield is heavy? No other game I have played has ever given off the sense of that fact quite like Killzone 2. The immense weight of your character is clearly displayed. From the sway of your gun when you enter and exit cover, to the shifting your character makes while running and reloading. Killzone 2 has done the best job of any shooter to make me feel like I am part of the war. Immersion has never been quit this complete.
Everyone knows of the rocky uphill battle Guerilla has had bringing out this long awaited title. It all started with a notorious CG trailer at E3 2005 where everyone saw the jaw-dropping graphics the team was shooting for. Well, amazing as it is they hit that target pretty well. The graphics in Killzone 2 are so amazingly stunning there is no way I can review the game and not mention them. Never before have I been forced to notice the absolutely gorgeous effect of debris drifting through the air providing a sharp contrast to the orange emblazoned sky. In the middle of a battle it is impossible not to notice the effect of bullets breaking off pieces of the pillar you are taking cover behind, slowly revealing your presence to the enemy.
All the animations are expertly done, especially the reload animations. Every time you hit that reload button you are treated to a super detailed animation as your character exchanges out clips. Only one thing can break the immersion the visual fidelity provides, once in a while the game has to come to a complete standstill as it loads the next area and some of these can take up to a minute to complete. The way the game comes together when it comes to graphics is something you can spend an entire article discussing, but fortunately there is more to Killzone 2 then just its beauty.
Controlling the game is something else that has to be mentioned, because it takes some getting used to. Because of the intense weight of the game, you have to adjust to allow for every sway of your gun that can throw off your aim. In the control scheme I chose I have to hold two buttons and push a third to fire my weapon from behind cover, but it was the best control for me. The controls are different but give it some time and you should be able to snipe any Helghast out of his perch in no time.
The only six-axis inclusion in the game comes when you have to arm a charge to explode or turn a drain pipe. Also when zoomed in with the sniper rifle if you shake your hands the scope shakes too which can throw off your shot. These small inclusions are actually pretty nice and it’s good to see six-axis wasn’t just thrown in the game because it was there.
Do you love manly men being super manly? Then Killzone 2 should be your game in the story department. The dialog in Killzone 2 is some of the worst I have had to listen to in a long time (did he really just drop a momma joke). Macho men dropping F-bombs abound as you progress through the campaign and thanks to the terrible dialog and super generic story when Killzone tried to hit me with something emotional I just couldn’t care. The story is just there to give you some reason to go on these missions and that’s all it does. It is neither deep nor rewarding but as a way to go to the different locales in the game it functions.
The multiplayer in Killzone 2 is pretty solid and should be a very enticing reason to keep coming back for more. The Warzone multiplayer mode is a really intelligent way to keep matches from getting old. Every couple of minutes the mode you are playing switches between the modes the host allowed. So you can join a match playing Bodycount (team deathmatch) then move on to Capture and Hold, then Assassination, and the match will either run for a certain length of time or until the mission is completed. This constant switching of modes really keeps the matches alive and interesting.
The actual playing of the modes functions really well too. My only complaint so far is that you only start with two extra clips for the main gun you choose so I’m constantly running out of ammo. Killzone 2 also uses a rank up system similar to the Call of Duty series. You start out only able to choose between the two main rifles and start unlocking guns and classes at later levels. Some of the classes I have seen are the Medic which can revive teammates on the ground and the Engineer who can repair the emplacements around the map (turrets, ammo dispensers…etc).
You might get a little frustrated at the beginning thanks to the people who already have weapons like the shotgun or the sniper rifle unlocked but in my experience you can hold your own with just the start out rifle. Leveling up also doesn’t take that long as long as you are actually killing people or completing the objective during the match. The multiplayer is very well done and can be a blast to play. If you’re not connected to Playstation Network there is also a Skirmish mode that lets you play multiplayer with bots.
Overall, Killzone 2 is a very good shooter that was a long time coming but completely worth the wait. With gorgeous graphics and great moment to moment gunplay, Killzone 2 should not disappoint any shooter fan. If you own a PS3 you owe it to yourself to buy this game, the campaign is decent length and the multiplayer will keep you coming back for more. I think we can chalk this up as a definite contender for Game of the Year.