PS2 REVIEW: KILLZONE

Killzone is a decent first-person shooter. It's not bad but it's far from great. I had high expectations for this game as I'm sure many of you have. My disappointment is a result of a combination of factors. The FPS gameplay is a little on the mediocre side and the game is rife with flaws including a really bad slowdown glitch that permeates both the single-player and online modes.

Killzone, even if all of the technical bugs were fixed, would still not be able to burst Halo's bubble. The gameplay becomes "repetitive" which may be confused with "consistent." The battles are scripted and the AI is really weak. Some will rush at you on an obvious suicide mission while others are unaware that they're in a war, some seem unaware that they're even in a game. They stand around doing nothing and aren't even alerted when a nearby mate gets gunned down.

Despite offering you different characters to play as, only the gunner is consistently the most fun. The others have limitations that you have to work around but it's not much fun being handicapped when the AI doesn't care one way or another.

Mankind has colonized yet another area of the galaxy. They have subsequently split into two groups, the ISA and the Helghast. You can tell by the name that the Helghast must be the evil ones. They inhabited a desolate region and have been mutated through environmental conditions. Now they have assembled into fighting units and have declared war on the ISA and all that it owns and represents.

Templar is the principal character in the game. He's an ISA soldier. He is flanked by three other warriors: Luger; Rico, and Hakha. Rico is the heavy gunner and he's the most fun to play as. There are no futuristic weapons to use, instead you will use ballistics and explosives. It's got a more realistic feel to it this way. Using stealth is slow and cumbersome. The game doesn't call for you to use any specific characters' trait so you might as well just mow the bastards down.

In the cutscenes you will see what looks like thousands of enemy troops on the march complete with vehicles of mass destruction. In reality you only find pockets of enemies to fight. There are some rather lengthy and lonely treks in between making the war seem more like a non-event than an epic battle.

Things heat up a little more online where you have a good selection of modes including Deathmath, Team Deathmatch, Assault, Attack and Defend, Dominator and Supply Drop. In Supply Drop several packages will be dropped in the center of the map. Both teams will have to scramble to pick up as many as they can while defending themselves from attack.

In these modes you don't have to worry about scripted events and badly programmed AI, but you still have to contend with the damned slowdown. It can cost you a life and that's a pretty steep price to pay for a glitch. I just pretend it's an earthquake or some random space-related anomaly. I shouldn't have to make excuses for games but sometimes, as in the case of a review, you have to play the hand you're dealt.

For the most part the graphics are great. They are realistic in their portrayal of a slightly futuristic apocalyptic society. When I say "slightly futuristic" I mean there are no Jetson-ringed buildings. Everything looks realistically functional, or previously functional. However the seams do show, literally. You will see really bad animation - sometimes no animation at all as some faces don't even move when the characters speak. Some of the low-res distant backgrounds don't get replaced when you get close resulting in some very bad looking sections which are inconsistent with the majority of the top-shelf graphics. The music and sound effects are also great but the voiceacting can't overcome the poorly written dialog.

Killzone is a game marked, and ultimately marred, by contrasts. Fortunately the good outweighs the bad - but like a wart on a hot babe's nose, it's not that easy to overlook.

System: PS2
Dev: Guerilla Games
Pub: Sony
Released: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
4
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
4
VALUE
3