It’s not everyday that you get to review a title as distinguished and as hyped up as the latest from Guerilla Games, Killzone 2. It was back at E3 2005 when we saw the very controversial trailer of Killzone 2 that was later found to be CGI and not actually in gameplay. Since then however Killzone 2 has been the topic of discussion, especially among PS3 owners who are still looking for that “killer app”, and hope to have found it in Killzone 2. The big question is after all the hype, after all the speculation, does Killzone 2 provide the experience we have been waiting for? Read our full review to find out!
Writing this review for Killzone 2 is actually a really challenging endeavor, more because of my truly torn feelings every which way that I had to really check myself before I sat down to review this game. To me Killzone 2 was never made to be a mediocre game, it was never made to even be a good game, it was made to be an elite game or as like many in the industry like to call it a “AAA” title. When creating this type of game for the Playstation 3 it adds a bit more weight as many fans are really hoping for a reason to call their console king. So what does Killzone 2 manage to come up with?
Let’s start with the single player campaign and to begin let’s start out with the story. Being that this is a rather large game I am not going to necessarily give away the story for those who do want to play through it, however I will mention you this you are now taking the fight to the Helghast which means for the most part this game keeps you on the offensive. Without talking in specifics the story is really where I saw the most room for improvement in Killzone 2. This is a game that right from the beginning you see has a truly epic scale, and has the potential to have an amazing overarching storyline and I just never felt like it accomplished that. You never necessarily cared for the characters, nor really felt a huge amount of sympathy for their cause against the Helghast. Its not that the story was bad, because it isn’t at all, its more the fact that this was one of those games that could have truly been amazing and instead it stays pretty close to the already paved path.
Now granted the story itself isn’t necessarily epic, the cut scenes that do tell the story are some of the best we have seen to date. These are usually lead ins to the next task that your going to be instructed to take on and do a good job of at least laying out what it is your doing and for what purpose. I have a strong inclination that anyone that picks up this game will truly be enamored from start to finish with how gorgeous and impressive the cut scenes are.
So let’s get into the gameplay which is set upon one of the most epics scales I have ever seen in a video game. From the opening level through the single player campaign you are constantly thrown into these massive firefights with tons of enemies, shrapnel flying everywhere, bodies being blown across the screen, and just pure epic war is taking place. There are a few things that really stand out right away about the gameplay in Killzone 2. First off the AI although not perfect actually reacts in more realistic ways then we have seen in many other FPS out there. The fact of the matter is that you really get the sense that your enemies want to live something that is actually not that common in video games.
A second major point I want to share with everyone is that each of the weapons has a real unique and ultimately realistic feel, you can actually see your bullets path of flight and see the impact that your firing makes. A lot of this has to do with the great work on the destructible environments which in almost every aspect can just fall apart. One final thing I did want to mention was the sixaxis support that comes up periodically throughout the game, my only question is why? It really adds nothing to the experience, and the sixaxis doesn’t even work well enough to make these short side adventures (unlocking valves as an example) interesting to endure.
The single player experience is one that starts off strong but actually just gains momentum as you go. For those who played the original Killzone you will feel right at home with the FPS style, its a little different then other FPS but nothing to dramatic. More then anything Killzone 2 has a very “Killzone” feel and that helps keep things fresh in a very overcrowded FPS market.
So we have talked quite a bit about the single player experience let’s now move into the multiplayer which is some of the best in the business. The game offers up, up to 32 players online and the majority of the games you will find online will hit that cap if not with human players then with bots. What is so impressive about Killzone 2 and the multiplayer is not so much that it revolutionizes the genre but instead that it takes the epic feel of the single player and puts it into the multiplayer. The maps that you engage in battle in are truly amazing, they are enormous. There is a ranking system similar to what we have seen in the Call of Duty franchise which allows you to upgrade your weapons and other abilities online.
What I actually found most interesting for my personal taste is how they setup the multiplayer though. Instead of just playing Capture the Flag or Deathmatch the developers have given you the option to play through a bunch of different modes at once putting them all into one overarching game. There are a good variety of modes to play through which helps keep things interesting as you go along. More then anything Killzone 2 offers up one of the few great multiplayer experiences on the PS3 and shows that it can do multiplayer just as good as the competition.
To say the PS3 has power under its hood is shown in full force in Killzone 2 as this may be one of the best looking games out there right now. Killzone 2 me has all the makings of what I would consider a blockbuster game which includes amazing character models, large scale environments, and the ability to blow the heck of said environments. All of which Killzone 2 has in spades, and for me this all comes together as a beautiful experience. Not to mention the fact that the cut scenes although not that interesting in terms of plot are extremely detailed and to are some of the best looking we have seen. Needless to say Killzone 2 really leaves the bar quite high for FPS to come on the PS3.
With Killzone 2 you have a game that is really firing on all cylinders both online and offline. There was only real big issue I had with the game and that was the missed opportunity to really expand the Killzone universe and help gamers understand why we should be interested in these games. To me it went to soft on the story and I think it stops the game from necessarily connecting with its audience on a deeper level. With that being said the gameplay is tight, well developed, and overall has the epic feel we know they have been going for since the first game, and for that its hard not to enjoy Killzone 2.
Although maybe not perfect, Killzone 2 has all the right ingredients for what turns out to be one of the best games so far in 2009. This is a game that all PS3 owners should check out not only for the great FPS action, but to really see the PS3’s capabilities to the extent that no other game has managed to tap into yet. Put simply, Killzone 2 is a fantastic game that you would be crazy to pass up on.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.