Killzone PlayStation 2 Official Website
by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Guerilla
Release Date: Out Now
With Halo 2 arriving on Xbox and Metroid Prime 2 arriving on GameCube, PlayStation 2 gamers must look to Killzone for their FPS thrills this Christmas. On paper the game certainly looks like it could give Halo 2 a run for it's money (we can't really comment on Metroid Prime 2 as we haven't seen it yet) and many would hope that it does. However in theory and in practice, are two different things and Killzone is disappointing in more ways than it should be.
Like most FPS games the scenario for Killzone is one of doom. The game is set in the not too distant future in what it terms 'a period of planetary colonisation.' Essentially what this means is we have a futuristic war situation and the two enemies are know as the ISA and the Helghast. The ISA are loyal to the Earth whilst the Helghast are a militaristic faction who are determined to wipe out the ISA and all that they stand for. As you might expect to keep things interesting you'll be on the side of the underdog, the ISA and it's not going to be easy. The game begins with a Helghast invasion of the planet Vekta that was ordered by their leader Scolar Visari. Throughout the game you'll control a handful of characters, that you can choose before each missions starts, as you try to put a stop to the Helghast invasion over 11 single player missions.
Killzone should have been a classic but sadly it isn't. It's difficult to nail down the reason why Killzone isn't the cracker of a game it promised to be. The story is quite good, the idea of controlling multiple characters is also good as in the fully featured online modes that have been included (comprising of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Supply Drop, Assault and Defend & Destroy). Maybe it's because you're fighting the same enemies for most of the game or that the frame rate is low for most of the time. I personally found it much more difficult to aim using the PlayStation 2 controller than I would have expected but that's a personal thing rather than a problem with the game. Most of the weapons seem to lack punch and the combat never reaches fever pitch like it does in all memorable FPS games. In fact whilst there's nothing bad about Killzone there's nothing memorable and that's the problem because for a game to hook you, it has to have those memorable moments.
The first thing you'll see in Killzone is the games introduction and at first glance it does a good job. The cutscenes in the game certainly look impressive, although there's nothing in them which makes them memorable but technically they're very nice. The in-game graphics aren't anywhere near as impressive though which is disappointing. Comparisons with games on other systems are, for the most part, a waste of time but you can't help but notice how lacklustre the graphics are in Killzone when compared to those in Halo 2. That said though the game does look OK but the environments have a rather sterile quality to them that doesn't help the appeal of the game. The frame rate is also suspect and is lower than most people would expect. The character animations are not as impressive as they could have been but for the most part they're OK.
One advantage Killzone has over Halo 2 is that the game is subtitled. The subtitles aren't enabled by default though. The games introduction isn't subtitled but you can (after enabling the subtitles) access the intro via the extras menu and watch it with subtitles. You'll be able to enjoy the subtitled cutscenes and the tutorial messages in the game are also subtitled. All important speech is subtitled too so you'll be aware of what's being said to you at all times which makes a nice change for a console FPS.
Some have labelled Killzone as the PlayStation 2's Halo but this really isn't appropriate as they are slightly different kinds of game. Killzone has all the ingredients to be a classic game but sadly it doesn't come together as it should. The game lacks those memorable moments that all classic games have. The low frame rate is disappointing as is the lack of variation in the enemies that you face. The online side of the game (which can also be played offline with AI bots) is fairly solid but again there's nothing here to make the game stand out from what's already out there. The main plus point for deaf gamers is the subtitles but in every other sense Killzone sadly lacks the quality most were expecting it to have.
Game Rating: 6.0/10
Killzone needs more polish and some truly memorable moments (along with a better frame rate). FPS fans might enjoy the game to a certain extent but there have been better FPS games on the PlayStation 2.
Surprisingly for a console FPS the game is subtitled which is great to see.