Killzone PS2 Review
Sony probably never wanted Killzone to be compared to Halo, but after speculation quickly grew that the FPS in question may be a killer app for the PS2, comparisons became inevitable. Such unwanted association can kill a games reputation when it finally reaches store shelves, due to every little feature being judged on the level of the game that it has been compared to since the public existence became knowledge.
Killzone soon became recognised as a technical achievement for the PS2 and having played the game from the start to the finish, we can definitely agree with that, although the visuals aren’t totally free from blemishes. Texture detail draws in as you move closer to objects for example, although we found it to be less of a concern in comparison to Bungie’s FPS sequel, which suffers likewise but in more expansive environments. Killzone’s war torn areas look believable and this is complemented by the predominant palette of grey that makes things look as drab as the situation. Some textures are still rather embarrassing for the PS2 and certain areas suffer from a hint of break up, nevertheless Killzone is definitely one of the PS2’s most attractive games and some beautifully designed levels and original style back this up.
The visuals may look nice but they should always be playing second fiddle to the game itself, and Killzone is one action-packed shooter that may very well be the best that PS2 has to offer. The weapons for starters are true heavyweights in the literal sense of the word and the hulking guns that you’d expect to be rather hefty, do give off the feeling that your party of four characters are carrying around some rather weighty and serious military equipment. The reload animations are also rather lengthy and makes reloading in an intense fire fight seem all the more strategic as you scramble for cover, whilst your character recoils their weapon and goes through all the shaky motions.
The Helghast – the games super race of enemy soldiers – aren’t exactly as mean as the weaponry. The AI is under whelming and way underdeveloped, so much so that there is probably more intelligence in your little finger. In fact, it’s easy to say that Killzone’s enemy soldiers don’t have an ounce of smartness in their bodies; such is the dumbness of the opposition that often seem oblivious to your presence and seldom will they hunt you down (even their voices are annoyingly dumb and repetitive). The Helghast strength is definitely in numbers, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the action never stops. The AI characters that support you are pretty good help, but luckily don’t bag too many of your intended kills.
The game begins with only a single character in Templar and later expands to three more, which includes Luger, Rico and Hakha. Once you start gathering the rest of your squad, completing portions of the campaign will allow you to choose to play as a different character, leaving the others for the AI to control. This leads to slightly different objectives and paths, for instance Luger is the stealthy character of the bunch and Rico has one monster of a gun with a rapid rate of fire.
One problem that Killzone does possess is poor checkpoint spacing on some of the levels and often no restart points present at all on others. It only takes a well-placed Helghast grenade to force you to restart from where you fell or even back at the beginning of a level for example, which is needlessly frustrating and demon design. In fact the checkpoints have seemingly just been placed in random places, there’s often no logic in the placing and in other situations they seem to be sorely lacking, it’s a design flaw that should never have been present in the first place.
The game can be played online for up to 16 players and is definitely one of the best online multiplayer titles on the PS2. The action remains as smooth as the campaign and a number of modes keep things feeling forever fresh. Offline multi-player is also well catered for: it can only be played by up to two players, but throw in a large amount of bots and this results in plenty of action.
Killzone isn’t perfect by any means, but we have no qualms in calling it the greatest FPS game that the PS2 has had to exclusively offer. It may have brainless opposition, but the action is still relatively tense and the game isn’t always comparable to a run and gun FPS. We applaud the design of those beefy guns and the overall style of the game and hope that one day we’ll see a sequel to truly rival Master Chief’s game.