Killzone 2 – Reviewed – PS3

15 min read
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By Matthew Vice

The only way you could fail to notice the hype surrounding the imminent release of Killzone 2, arguably one of the PS3’s most anticipated titles to date, is if you have been completely inattentive to gaming news over the past four years. Since the first trailers of Killzone 2 were released in 2005, gamers around the world have expressed high hopes or extreme pessimism regarding the developers’ ability to deliver on the seemingly-impossible promises the trailer made.

It would be a lie to say that Killzone 2 bears any kind of strong pedigree. Its two predecessors, Killzone on the PS2 and Killzone: Liberation on the PSP, were met with mixed reviews. Still the games had their fans, and there’s plenty of references to these games in Killzone 2 for them to geek out about, but ultimately Killzone 2’s story is so in-the-moment that you don’t need to have played the previous games to understand and enjoy it.

Killzone 2’s story is told through a seamless narrative of cinematic sequences and scripted events and dialogue during play. The story picks up right where Killzone: Liberation left off. The Vektan military leaders (the good guys), believing the Helghast (the bad guys) to be weakened and demoralized after their previous two crushing defeats, have pursued the Helghast forces to their homeworld of Helghan in an attempt to apprehend their tyrannical leader, Scolar Visari, and bring an end to his explosive war. Little do they know that planet Helghast itself is already a natural fortress due to its violent weather and malicious climate, a threat compounded by the fact that the Helghast have learned to harness these natural weapons to repel invaders. Add to this the toughness and brutality of the Helghast forces, the sheer power of their weaponry, and Helghast advantage of fighting on their home turf, and you can see why this invasion is going to an ordeal like no other.

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This time round, players don’t get to control Jan Templar, the hero of the previous games. Instead, we are given control of Thomas “Sev” Sevchenko, a patriotic member of Alpha Squad, an elite Special Forces team put together and commanded by Templar himself to spearhead crucial missions during the Helghan invasion. Also present are Sergeant “Rico” Velasquez, a veteran of the previous games, Corporal “Garza” Dante, a sniper, and Corporal “Natko” Shawn, a demolitions and hand-to-hand combat specialist. The dynamic between these four teammates is an integral and atmospheric part of the story, and really gives you the feeling of being part of a team fighting against insurmountable odds rather than the messianic lone ranger you are cast as in so many other shooters.

OK, so we’ve got the story out of the way, and before we begin singing the game’s praises, know first that, gameplay-wise, it is, when all is said and done, only a first-person shooter. I thought I’d just get that out the way before someone points it out. But within that scope, the developers at Guerrilla have managed to do so much with what they have, making Killzone 2 something which rises above being “a really cool game”, becoming more of a perspective-altering experience. Every element of the game is so well integrated with all the others that it becomes one slick, immersive experience from beginning to end, one that you’ll want to play over and over again for the sheer thrill and joy of it.

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Last Updated: February 5, 2009

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