Killzone 2 Hands-On Preview
Killzone 2 box art
System: PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Guerrilla Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SONY 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 27, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-32 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Killing in the Zone
by Matthew Walker

November 12, 2008 - The first-person shooter is no stranger to this generation of consoles. To some, there are already way too many of them and not enough variety in the other genres. I tend to agree with the latter and want more from a game than the run-and-gun attitude. However, there are a few that I find enjoyable and feed my need to kill friends and other participants online. Sony, for a while now, has been promoting Killzone 2 as the best of the best. The rumblings on the net are that it could very well be the "Halo Killer." Recently, I got to spend some time with it to get the answer for myself.

Killzone 2 screenshot

I'm not going to cover the depths of the impending campaign mode. Instead, I am going to give you the grittiness of the multiplayer. First off, I have to comment on the graphics. Lately, when you hear words like phenomenal, amazing, superb, etc. when referring to graphics, you kind of wash it off with an "Okay, sure" attitude. Well, I can say there needs to be a new word for Killzone 2's graphical power, maybe "phenomamaziperb". There is something about a game, when you feel like you are sucked into the world just by observing the visuals. Do they look like you are standing in the world in real life? Maybe not quite, but there is an ambiance that feels so close to real life that I have yet to experience in another online multiplayer game. That is how I feel about the environments.


When it comes to the character models, there are a few things that leave something to be desired. While decent in their own right, they tend to look bland and very standard. Simply put, there's nothing in their design that we haven't seen in one form or another. One other problem that I had, and it is a small one, was the blood splatter. I know that shouldn't be a big deal, but when I shoot something, I need to see that realistic blood spray! Unfortunately, there is something about the blood that doesn't seem quite right. Literally, the blood looks like cel-shaded blood packets exploding during Halloween.

Killzone 2 screenshot

Blood complaints aside, seeing the little smoke trails from the shell casings sent satisfying shivers down my spine. It made me want to expend more rounds on my enemies in whatever gameplay mode I was in. This is one area at which Killzone 2 excels. While I spent the majority of my time in Warzone matches with varied rules and set missions, I was able to experience a plethora of these modes. Usually in online multiplayer games, you have to select one game type, capture the flag for example. Killzone 2 offers seven different types of gameplay in each match: Assassination, where either one of your team members must be protected from the opposition and vice versa; Capture and Hold, where you find three locations and have to secure them from the enemy for a period of time; and then my personal favorite, Bodycount, which is nothing more than killing the enemy more than they kill you.

The simplicity of the controller layout is easy to get used to. It specifically caters to players who have grown accustomed to the Sony controller layout. So, in a way, the controls are designed for the lovers of the controller, which is a good thing for me. Without having a great control scheme in the game, you'd feel like you were playing Duck Hunt all over again!

Killzone 2 screenshot

As far as weapons are concerned, I have to admit, with all the chainsaw attachments and other various harbingers of doom that several other games have brought to the table, I expected a weapon to make a difference between Killzone 2 and the rest. Unfortunately, at least in the time I had with the game, I found no such weapon. Instead, what I found were fully fleshed-out, stronger representations of traditional weapons. There are several weapons planned for the game, but I really liked and preferred the standard issue assault weapon you receive when you first spawn in the map. After all, your weapons are only as good as the first one you receive.

The sounds of the game, even down to the somewhat annoying commander that barks orders for your group, are all well done. My favorite thing, however, is that with certain weapons you can hear when they're getting hot from firing. There's also a certain level of satisfaction from the bullets entering your enemies and hearing a little impact squish. Other than a few moments that will make you smile, the sounds are traditional to the first-person shooter genre.

All in all, Killzone 2 is shaping up to be one of the definite must-buys of early 2009. With this fun online multiplayer, it will be hard for PS3 owners not to pick it up when it comes out. I can honestly say that unless the single-player campaign mode destroys the fun you can otherwise have with the multiplayer modes, this is definitely one I plan on picking up.

By Matthew Walker
CCC Project Coordinator

Game Features:

  • Experience realistic, highly atmospheric environments that respond dynamically to the violent conditions on the planet Helghan.
  • Witness the devastating effects of Helghan's climate as it forces you and your enemies to adapt to new tactics.
  • Control an arsenal of new and unique weapons and vehicles, in addition to trusty Killzone classics like the M82-G and the StA-52 LA.
  • Face off against fearsome enemies who have learned to wield the hostility of Helghan itself against their opponents.
  • Between Killzone 2's unique visual style, the power of PS3, the use of EDGE tools, and the proprietary technology developed by Guerrilla, the game promises to impress players with its benchmark visuals, smooth character animation, detailed, effect-laden environments, and real-time cutscenes.
  • Experience a beautifully lit world brought to life by deferred rendering technology. Multiple shadows casting light sources bring out the highly detailed environments and character animations.
  • With true next-gen audio the player is further immersed in the world, supporting 7.1 surround and location-specific audio with wave tracing. Players will not only notice the difference between indoor and outdoor but also experience sound and music that are dynamic and contextual.
  • Studio grade special effects will provide unprecedented visual fidelity. With full screen anti-aliasing, motion blur, internal lens reflections, and depth-based color grading, players will experience a picture that is sharp, smooth, and full of detail.

  • Screenshots / Images
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