|Blood, Strong Language, Violence
| The Good
Multiple players to choose from
| The Bad
Game engine needs more power
Long load times
Halo killer - there, I said it. Why
not? Everyone else has. Especially the prerelease hype, which
all but doomed Killzone to sit in Master Chief's shadow.
Be sure to understand that Killzone is not a Halo clone.
Killzone is about a handful of average soldiers being
forced into working as a team as they fight through a war-torn
world, often engaging in street warfare just to get to the
The game begins after the Helghan invasion of of Vetka. ISA
forces have been vainly in heavy combat on Vetka, but the
powerful Helghan forces has left a brutal impact on the populace.
The game begins with the players taking on the role of Captain
Jan Templar, who fights his way back to where General Vaughton
is stationed. The General sends Templar on a mission to rescue
a spy, and during the process of said mission, Templar picks
up three additional playable team members. From this point,
this mini-squad must take on missions in reaction to the events
that play out in the story.
Over the first few areas, you're only in control of the standard
trooper, Templar, but as you pick up more allies, you'll get
your choice of team member at the beginning of each mission.
The four team members play differently and have various bonuses
and detriments. Luger has heat vision, Hakha can sneak up
on Helghast, while Rico is the all around heavy gunner who
can take additional punishment. The action in Killzone
is broken up into levels, which are further separated into
sublevels. While each level features the occasional checkpoint,
players can only save at the end of each stage. Rather than
a seamless gameworld, Killzone's stages are broken
up by lengthy load screens.
The core gameplay of Killzone is your standard FPS
fare, though you will find more of the game will be spent
fighting behind cover to minimize your damage. A lot of running
from cover to cover should be expected. To this effect, you
have a sprint button that will lower your weapon and allow
you to run a short distance. You'll have primary and secondary
fire (on most weapons) and even grenades to your disposal.
If you get in close, you can perform a melee attack to disarm
and take out your opponent.
While there is no ability to jump, you will find the occasional
barrier that you can leap over. Along your path, you'll often
find gun and cannon emplacements. With the tap of a button,
you can use that firepower to your own. But, considering the
legions of Helghast that come after you, the most heavy ammo
you can drop, the better.
While Killzone does feature a variety of weapons,
there is some imbalance in terms of stopping power. With only
three weapons a player can have on hand, it won't take long
for players to figure out what they should keep on hand. The
assault rifle is pretty solid, but never has enough ammo.
On the other hand, the Helghast assault rifle takes way too
many bullets to drop an enemy. The shotgun has a long reload
time, which almost negates it's usefulness. Of course, there's
heavy ordinance to be found and abused, including grenade
launchers and a rocket launcher.
Along with the main story are both online and standard multiplayer
modes. Both provide extra enjoyment, but are dependent on
the quality of your opponents. Fortunately, there's more of
an arcade-like element to the multiplayer, allows for faster,
more furious gunbattles. Of course, you can always try to
play it more like the story missions, but with so many good
weapons being spawned, why bother?
Visually, Killzone has a wonderful art direction that
works to deliver a solid and believable gameworld. The Helghast
are successfully presented as an intimidating Nazi/Jin-Roh
hybrid that the player must push on through. The game world
does a fine job at setting up real world locations, whether
they be war ravaged streets, a park, a swamp or soldier-infested
docks. Levels are laid out in such a way that most of the
scenarios provide both challenge and a certain level of intensity.
From a technical standpoint, though, Killzone is pushing
the PS2 for all it can get and still could use more power.
While there is a lot of minor details, the limited color palette
and repetitive and low-res textures wash out many locations
and even leave some areas feeling quite repetitive. You'll
also find a serious lack of enemy variety will leave you feeling
like you're killing the same foes over and over again. I have
to wonder if Killzone was on a brawnier unit, would
the levels have more visual detail and larger? Would there
be more enemy types and would the draw distance be longer?
The audio portion proves to be a solid augment to the visual
portion. Music is nicely done and works with the futuristic
military theme of the story. Sound effects have a good bit
of variety and range, especially in the gun sounds and explosions.
In the story sequences, the voice cast (including Kal Webber,
Tom Clarke Hill and Brian Cox) does a good job with the script
they're given. During gameplay, though, their comments are
limited and can get old pretty fast. Even worse is that the
Helghast have even fewer comments, so killing them by the
score isn't made better by the the repetitious comments.
Is Killzone a bad game? Not really. There is certainly
a good time to be had here, but it really depends on what
you have available to you. If you have access to a PC or Xbox,
Killzone pales in comparison to other titles already
available. If all you have is a PS2, then Killzone is likely
one of the best games the genre will offer you right now.
With a little more power for the engine and more refinement,
this could have been a great game, but there is still a good
time to be had here.