With all the hype this year surrounding the release of that other science fiction shooter on that other system, it’s not too surprising that Sony tried to steal a little of that game’s thunder with a sci-fi shooter of its own. Well Killzone is no Halo killer because it has few problems of its own beyond the noise surrounding its Xbox nemesis, but it does have its good points that make it worth a look by PlayStation 2 shooter fans.
Killzone takes place in the future at a time when humans have colonized the stars. One group of people, the Helghast, left Earth behind to form a new society, but years on a harsh world have turned them into a rough, war-like race and now they’ve returned to Earth with conquest on their minds. Well, the freedom-loving residents of Earth are not about to rollover and play dead and that’s where you come in. You are a soldier on the frontlines of the war to defend your home and you can bet that there will be a lot of shooting before this issue is settled.
|Taking aim at some Helghast.|
While you start the game as Templar, a soldier with balanced abilities, you will eventually have your choice of character to play for each level. If soldiering is not your thing, you can play as Y, a female agent who excels at stealth and silent kills. Or if you are of the “I love soldiering, give me more” persuasion, you can take control of the game’s heavy weapons gunner, Rico, and let your powerful weapons do the negotiating with the Helghast for you. When you get down to it there’s not too much difference between Templar and Rico outside of the size of their guns, but playing as Y does provide for variety and can make the same level a different experience. In a lot of the levels, no matter who you decide to play as the other two characters will join and fight alongside of you. However, they are of that useful combination of being impervious to fire while generally inept in keeping up their end of the kill quota. The end results is that even though you are team going into battle you’ll do almost all of the work yourself.
Although it is set in the far future, Killzone has a very near-future, and at times retro, look to it. The war torn cities look like they could be right out of a war a year or two in the future, you’ll fight in jungles that will give you Vietnam flashbacks, and a devastated battlefield crisscrossed by trenches that will evoke thoughts of World War I. Also, despite the futuristic setting the weapons used in the game aren’t lasers, blasters, and the like. Rather the weapons of war are machine guns, rifles, and grenades. This all comes together to provide an atmosphere of the vaguely familiar despite the unfamiliar setting. It works well and gives the game a unique atmosphere.
The game’s good graphics help to further enhance the immersive qualities of the game’s environments. The textures and environments are very detailed, bringing the war zones to life. There are also a lot of nice graphical touches, such as the smoke and haze that drifts across the battlefield in the opening trench battle.