Sunday, April 22, 2012

Killzone 2

+++ Exceptional enemy AI
+++ Fight with Radec is perhaps the best in any first person shooter
++ Solid atmosphere
++ Other bosses are also well designed
+ About half the arsenal is extremely satisfying
+ Excellent graphics
+ Length feels just right
+ Extremely difficult
--- Rico is a terrible character
-- Weapons don’t have secondary functions like they did in Killzone 2
- Storyline is pretty mediocre

Ah the Halo Killer at long last… okay maybe that turned out to be Call of Duty, but this was still an excellent shot at the FPS crown which has continued to be reasonably successful in its third (by all accounts worse) rendition. The first thing that might strike you about this game is how they swear so damn much, every other word being “fuck” or “shit” helps to add to the gritty World War 2 atmosphere… scratch that this isn’t WW2 and swearing only makes the game sound bizarre as they shove the plot down your throats.

Well, how many FPS’s have good storylines anyway? Surely there’s some redeeming factor here! It must be the weapon design, there’s about 10 weapons in the game and they’re not all virtually and functionally identical like CoD! Unfortunately the first game also had about 10 weapons but every one had an interesting secondary fire, why they removed that glorious function from the game is beyond me. If not for the last part of the game’s reserve of good qualities it would be rather tedious going through the game a 3rd or 4th time.

So, we’re left with the extraordinary difficulty of this game to keep us persevering. Naturally I’m referring to the “Elite” mode which is basically “Legendary” from Halo on steroids with almost every enemy in the game being both able to kill you in seconds and able to move in a surprisingly effective manner to get to you. Yes this may be the one modern FPS that actually has functionally good AI, some enemies simply move about intelligently cover to cover, others bumrush you ignoring cover entirely, and a few scarce others tend to camp at specific spots like this was a much worse game; but it’s the combination of all 3 that leads to a very hectic and difficult experience.

You’ll ask yourself “how many guys are left, who’s coming up these stairs next, gotta get the last guy gotta get the last guy gotta get the last guy!” Literally the entire game is tense on the hardest difficulty as it really isn’t predictable how the enemies approach you the next time you restart that checkpoint. KZ2 has a brutal way of keeping statistics, the only way you get kills is if you advance to the next checkpoint, so I have a staggering 1200 or so kills to 550 deaths in my 2 playthroughs of the game, roughly 450 of those coming on Elite. Now that is by far the most deaths I’ve ever had in any game playing through hard, and does gives KZ2 something of an argument for the hardest game of all time, but I tend to think its too fast paced for that award.

The last boss is the hardest section of the game and even FPS masters tend to admit that they had quite a lot of trouble with it. Surprisingly I only took about 2 hours on those 3-4 checkpoints, some take days. You have to fight about 30 guys in rapid succession with very little cover coming from all directions in what is effectively a shooting gallery for them (depressed section of a room with elevated balconies all around). Eventually you get to the second floor and don’t have to play as aggressively to succeed. Finally you fight the last boss, who is just absolutely amazing as he switches between knifing, teleporting, and shooting you over and over; the best way to damage him is to knife at the air in the hopes that you catch his invisible ninja form a few times. I’m not particularly great at the fight but it is still exceptionally entertaining.

Final Score: 9/10