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Platform: PlayStation 3

Killzone 2 Review

A well balanced campaign and entertaining multiplayer component makes Killzone 2 one of the better shooters of 2009.

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Killzone 2 is a solid first person shooter on the PS3 implementing a number of successes across the brief story and multiplayer experience. It doesn’t try hard to do things differently from other shooters but it still manages to forge its own path. It offers a solid campaign without repetition or difficulty imbalances and the multiplayer is easy to pick up and plays very smoothly. The game tells the story of the ISA assaulting the Helghast home planet. The Helghast and ISA have been at war before with the invasion of an ISA colony in Killzone 1.

The Helghast are a race human like foes that seem to thrive on the very existence of War and will do anything to seal victory. Although not having played the original game some key characters do return. This time however you take up the roll of Sergeant Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko who, like most of the other characters, is hard to really care about. The AI during the campaign is effective, at least from the enemy Helghast who will move back and forward in an aggressive fashion. There are some peculiar aspects to the friendly AI who have a tendency to get lost or run into enemy fire. There is a decent balance of co-operative and solo sections during the story with a good mix of weapons and even some vehicles. The game does lack some final polish but most of it is fairly well put together.

Killzone 2
Dust effects are good but occasionally overused

The Single player isn’t incredibly long so you’ll travel through it in less than half a dozen hours on normal difficulty. None of it feels like you are replaying segments or repeating boring tasks because the game keeps you moving a brisk pace. The game will continue to flow and give you small objectives such as taking out a series of Mortars, capturing the Vasari Square and defending a friendly Cruiser from attacks. These objectives are tackled solo or with some of your squad members. The game is set on the Helghan planet which features a lot of dust and wind and some wasteland looking landscapes. At times the wind and dust effects can get a little too overbearing blocking out your vision but overall it creates a pretty good atmosphere. You are able to use first person cover, crouching behind objects you can peak out from behind and engage. This cover is fairly well done although I died a lot while going into cover because it doesn’t instantly protect you like other cover games. It’s essential in some sections to use cover because of the enemy numbers and their heavy weapons.

The single player is split between some co-operative sections with your squad buddies and some single player elements. There is a good balance of both although the co-operative AI can leave a little to the imagination. Early on my Buddy “Garza” had the affinity for machine gun fire and would stand in front of it while I would need to resurrect him a few times with my defibrillator device. Luckily they don’t die and you have unlimited time to rescue them but crossing enemy fire to rescue them isn’t good for your health. Not only do they sometimes walk into weapons fire but they seem to get lost. This means often falling far behind or running too far ahead that you lose track of your team orientated destination. Luckily the game will show you the way to your next objective if you get lost with a quick press of up on the d-pad.

The enemies don’t seem to have quite as obvious flaws and they use cover fairly well and will peak out from behind it. They can be fairly aggressive running up to you and trying to melee you with a knife. If you are reloading or moving back to find cover they will push up towards you because they know you are vulnerable. Likewise if you push up behind them, they won’t stand still, they will try to run away finding another position of appropriate cover. The downside is that your Field of View is quite restricted so there might be a few occasions where enemies will be just off screen a few metres ahead of you and this also makes melee attacks feel rather restricted.

Some of the early single player sections contain a lot of excessive macho squad talk, screaming across the communication links at you to cover them from a convoy. This thankfully seems to reduce as the game progresses, possibly because your own army numbers reduce. Weapons feel good, and you’ll pick up a few special weapons that allow you to motor through sections much more quickly with a sense of supremacy. There are no real puzzles to speak of, the only basic ones involve electricity and a switchbox, you need to find and shoot the box to clear the charge.

Killzone 2
Clever design of Helghast ensures easy identification

You will get to control two vehicles and the last is the most impressive. Sadly this vehicle also involved your fellow squad driving alongside you unfortunately for much of this they seemed to be stuck at the starting point. Save points are generally pretty good but there are a few sections were they are used too often or too infrequently. These save / load points also sometimes incorporate a big stutter or a longer 10 second pause. Although never in action they are quite annoying. The difficulty is fairly even but the end levels, as with most games, are a little harder. Boss like enemies are fairly easy to take down with only the ATAC boss causing me to rethink my approach completely. The end boss sequence is a little lengthy but nothing too difficult.

The story isn’t anything remarkable and the game doesn’t have a lot of overly imposing moments. It takes standard mission types and objectives from other first person shooters and implements them fairly well. I had a lot of trouble liking any of the character and by the end of the game I actually liked the enemy Visari more than any of my surviving squad mates or even my own character. Even some of the friendly deaths I was presented with were very emotionless. You’re character isn’t voiceless although he doesn’t say much and when he does it’s not poetry. They could have gone with a voiceless hero and couple that with some likeable squad mates that you feel invested into saving or bent on revenge if they perish. The characterisation isn’t helped by the at times quite poor voice syncing. This might be just with the characters lips moving or because voices will overlap one another if you move through a section too quickly.

The graphics are pretty good, albeit with an aggressive LOD system. Squad members will lose definition only a few metres away from you. And because of the co-op nature of many missions this is quite obvious. The setting is very desolate with the smoke and wind effects constantly pushing across your vision against gritty and dull landscapes. The Helghast are well designed, although human-like they have been given a distinctive look and voice. They have heavy bulkier weather-proof gear on and their masks also glow red allowing very quick identification in hectic areas. The voice of each of the different types of foes has been modified to a different pitch so you can hear them talking or responding. It serves the perfect purpose to differentiate them between the ISA buddies you so often group with. The animation for both friendly and opposing forces works well with smooth transitions and weight to movements. The levels can be open in sections allowing you to circle around or just move past groups of Helghast but the game is still quite linear. It does feature some DualShock motion control sections, such as twisting a valve or planting charges. I thought the implementation was simple but it worked effectively.

The Multiplayer side proves enjoyable from the very start with a ranking system and a variety of modes. Best described as combination of Battlefield and Team Fortress the action is heavy and the netcode is great. You can even choose a region to filter servers, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of players still playing so depending on your region it may prove helpful. The maps also seem well designed although they feature the same wasteland type structures they are easy to learn and provide good flow.

Killzone 2
Multiplayer proves very worthy with smooth gameplay

There are a few game modes, the deathmatch mode seemed very popular but it holds much more strategy than your standard DM game. You can set up squads and spawn in with your squad leader to assault the enemy base. You can also get remote spawn points although these are often camped for easy kills. The game creates action where players are having mini battles of supremacy over parts of the maps due to these spawn points and chokepoints. The netcode is very good considering the geographical difference with only some slight delays when two people kill each other with gun fire. There are robots sentries that provide protection of your base and some that can be called in from the sky to rein fire down below. Good news is neither seemed too powerful but all were useful deterrents or obstacles to hold back enemies.

Killzone 2 is definitely a good first person shooter and it’s a game you should try out on PS3 if you haven’t already. It’s certainly one of the better shooters for 2009 regardless of platform. The balance is good and the multiplayer is very worthy. You’ll still be able to find a game online and the single player will keep you busy for a little while. Another great mode included is skirmishes with bots in the multiplayer. Although the mp bots aren’t very intelligent it’s a nice option to have available and can be good for new players to test out before going online.

Our ratings for Killzone 2 on PlayStation 3 out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Good desolate landscapes with smoke and wind effects, nice animation system. Aggressive LOD system and some poor lip syncing. FOV is restricting.
Basic first person shooting elements with some cover implementations, good weapon feel and solid enemy AI that pushes forward and retreats to cover.
Single Player
Standard missions and very few likeable characters, pretty good balance of co-op and solo segments and good pacing. Approximately 6 hours long on normal
Pretty fun even on the basic deathmatch modes, good one-on-one combat. Nice features like region filtering and skirmishes against bots. Has a ranking system and very good netcode.
Some very long pauses when it loads or saves games. Friendly AI sometimes gets bugged and gets stuck behind.
Killzone 2 offers a good package with some fine graphics on the PS3. Multiplayer is surprisingly fun and engaging even at low player levels. Single Player is basic and struggles with likeable characters but rarely slips up.
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#2 Dec 20, 2009 22:37:26 (Dec 20, 2009 22:37)

You were probably playing as the ISA scum.
#1 Dec 20, 2009 15:35:06 (Dec 20, 2009 15:35)

I didn't enjoy the multiplayer as much as you
Killzone 2
Killzone 2 box art Platform:
PlayStation 3
Our Review of Killzone 2
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Killzone 2 is ranked #348 out of 1971 total reviewed games. It is ranked #27 out of 63 games reviewed in 2009.
347. Left 4 Dead 2
348. Killzone 2
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Killzone 2
3 images added Dec 15, 2009 04:49
Killzone 2 - Trailer
Posted: Aug 11, 2009 23:43
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