Poorly Thought Through Review: Killzone 2

 I play games, quite a lot of games. And sometimes I wonder, what did other people think of this game? If I wonder this, surely others do as well.

In PTTR I review games as I complete them, completely subjectively. I’ll write as much or as little as I damn well please, depending on if, or how much, the game stirred any thoughts or emotions up in me. If I feel like rambling on about some random detail that annoyed me, that’s what I’ll do.

So if you ever wondered what some guy thought of the game you’re playing, I’ve got you covered.

I review games on a true 10 point scale. No 7-10 scale bullshit like IGN does, where you can only get less than 7 if you didn’t send some ad money their way.

This means that 1 = Shit. 2.5 = Poor. 5 = Average. 7 = Good. 10 = The Shit.

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Poorly Thought Through Review: Killzone 2

 

Killzone 2 launched as the long awaited flagship game for the Playstation 3. The early videos of the game looked so amazing that they sparked massive debates of whether it was pre-rendered or in-game footage. PS3 fanboys gathered around Killzone 2, anointing it their saviour, while Xbox fanboys dismissed it as exaggerated hype. Surely Killzone was nothing in the face of the mighty Halo!

Personally, I never played it until now. Killzone 2 never really stirred any interest in me for whatever reason. I think I may just not be that much of an FPS fan. I still haven’t played Call of Duty: Black Ops for example. I also never played the original Killzone, which in my mind means I couldn’t possibly play the sequel without first going back and playing the original. Which I didn’t feel like doing.

I was also massively turned off by the name, Killzone. I mean, seriously. How can anyone say that with a straight face? The pretentious games-as-art fag in me cringes at this game. I facepalm every time I see it. It’s even dumber than Bulletstorm, and that game is meant to be intentionally stupid and to poke fun of these types of games.

Anyway, I found it for cheap and decided now was the time to get over my doubts and take my Killzone virginity. So I dusted off the old fatty PS3 (literally, it was covered in a thick layer of dust. I haven’t used it since I re-played the Uncharted games in October 2010. Also, I need to dust more often.) and fired up this amazing source of video game holy wars.

First thing I noticed was that the menus appeared to be flickering. I eventually realized they twist and contort as a response to how I hold the PS3 controller. That might have seemed like a good idea to some designer somewhere, but man was that annoying. Wasn’t off to a good start.

Starting the game, I immediately found the pre-rendered versus in-game debate to be thoroughly settled. It’s a good looking game, but it’s not that good looking. It has some really nice lighting effects, and some of the larger set piece give a nice sense of scale to the environment. However the models and textures, while good, are not superior to what you see in most AAA titles.

There was much whining among players about the weighty feel of the game, that it was slow and sluggish. I understand there was a patch at some point that made some minor tweaks, however, I really did not feel like the game was sluggish at all. I guess if you are used to PC shooters, where you kind of hover around at fast speeds and can twitch aim 180 degrees if you want, it’s going to feel slow (hate those types of games btw). But compared to most console FPS games, Killzone seems pretty par for the course to me. I enjoyed the feel of the game anyway.

The sound is really good. The music consists mostly of your standard sweeping orchestral score, well made, but predictable. The weapons all sound good, with plenty of punch to them. The dialogue is predictably bad, and the voice acting is competent, but comes off as typical action movie fare. Brian Cox as Scholar Visari does a very good job though. Too bad we don’t see him more in the course of the story.

The story itself is very basic and remains firmly in the background throughout. Most of the time I barely even registered why I was blowing away Helghast. There’s an awesome opening sequence that sets up how the ISA is invading Helghan. And there was a briefing about escorting a convoy on it’s way to take Visari’s palace, and that’s about it, you kill a bunch of dudes, blow some shit up, and complete your objective. Fair enough. It’s not going to win any awards, and I’m probably not going to remember what the game was about a week from now, but it works well enough to facilitate the blowing up of said shit.

The story also ends with major sequel bait. There’s barely any sense of resolution at all. It kind makes the game feel like just an episode in a series, as opposed to a game capable of standing on it’s own.

I had read quite a bit about how annoying the character of Rico was, but I honestly didn’t find him to be that grating up until the final two levels. He’s profane as fuck, that’s for sure, but I’m cool with that. If you’ve ever been around any military men, you know that it doesn’t feel right if they don’t cuss like their lives depended on it.

The campaign is really short. I finished it in about 5 and a half hours. That really isn’t good enough I think. It’s not a tight, heavily scripted campaign like in Modern Warfare either, where the intensity is turned up to 11 and every single bit of every level shows a high level of polish. As a gamer that doesn’t care that much for multiplayer in these games, I don’t get much out of a 5 and a half hour game. Definitely disappointing.

The game is paced quite well though. It keeps you moving through the game at a brisk pace, and levels rarely wear out their welcome.

I ran into a few glitches along the way as well. I got stuck on the environment a few times and had to kill myself to get out. There was also a bit where I was driving a tank and it suddenly went airborne for no apparent reason, landed on top of a friendly tank, and got stuck. Kind of entertaining I guess, but dude… 5 and a half hours. At least make it 5 and a half bug free hours.

Rating: 8 – A very good first person shooter, it plays well, looks good, sounds great and is quite a good time. But it’s much too short, doesn’t quite live up to the hype, and in many ways feels a little bit generic in terms of setting, story and gameplay, even though it does the majority of those things better than most.

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About Nate Fury

Character artist, games designer, and fighting game enthusiast. Follow me on Twitter @NateHawke and add me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/furytrickster My personal blog site can be found at www.pttogames.com

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