As a shooter, Killzone: Liberation, lands a direct hit. The game blends shooting, adventure, dungeon crawling and elements of real time strategy in addition to a co-op and numerous multi-player modes.
Killzone: Liberation is not a mere copy of the PS2 version of Killzone. It takes place after the events of that game and it’s so different that it could be thought of as a sequel. It’s packed with action that’s delivered at a fast pace. It’s a solid game albeit a little short. It should take you less than nine hours to complete the main story mode but that’s including going over a lot of the same old ground as you must employ trial and error to get through some of the more difficult areas.
Killzone is set in the future, a time when the human race has moved from the Earth and has colonized other planets in the galaxy. One particular group of humans not content with the prevailing governing body decided to inhabit a distant planet known as Helghan. Over time these humans have evolved into an aggressive race known as the Helghast. Playing as the human hero, Templar, you are sent on a series of covert missions to put a stop to the war in which the Helghast are invading and capturing territories in Southern Vekta. The Helghast are using high-profile government hostages for the purposes of negotiation. Rescuing and escorting will comprise many a mission, and even though these missions share the same core objectives, the challenges are many and varied.
The story is perhaps a little too complex for its own good. It’s concentrated – packed with names of planets, officials, organizations and jammed with all kinds of information designed to take the focus off of the underlying simplicity of the missions. In order to make everything instantly understandable you would need an entire hour of cutscenes or some form of more detailed narration to expand upon the plot developments. Instead we are given brief briefings before each mission which amounts to soundbite-sized updates. Fortunately the story doesn’t factor into the gameplay but it would be nice to see how your actions directly influence the all the parties involved at every level.
Beginning each level with a basic weapon you will find the ammunition for it as you proceed. It’s not unlimited so you have to be thrifty. As I mentioned, there is a lot of action but there is a good deal of realism to the gameplay which means that you won’t be going through each level shooting your guns off like a cowboy. The enemy AI is incredibly intelligent and they won’t just stand around waiting for you to kill them. They will react to a given situation in a realistic manner. When you shoot at them they will duck, dodge, strafe and even take cover. When you find yourself outnumbered, which is often, you will also need to take such defensive actions especially taking cover. But the AI doesn’t stop there. They will try to flank you and flush you out by throwing grenades and blasting your hiding place with the aid of a rocket launcher. Things do get intense.
The view is isometric. This isn’t a first-person shooter. It allows for a more extensive view of the environment which is important so that you can plan your route based on the availability of obstacles to take cover behind. Learning how to string these safe havens together to successfully avoid getting killed is where the trial and error comes in. Fortunately there are a generous amount of checkpoints to keep you from having to repeat the same sections endlessly.
Targeting enemies is done automatically. You don’t have to consciously think about it, as there is no auto-lock on button to worry about. All you have to do is point your weapon in the vicinity of the enemy and it will automatically target the closest threat. It’s implemented in such a way that it feels natural, not like it’s holding your hand or playing the game for you. At the end of each completed chapter you will unlock the Challenge mode. These are a little more elaborate than mini-games but they are essentially the same thing with a shooting gallery and timed events. In this mode you will be able to earn upgrades to your health, weapons and ammo.
At the completion of each mission you will unlock a Co-op mode that allows you and another friend to replay the mission alongside you. The difficulty is ramped up a bit but not so much that you have to take as much cover. You will be able to do a little bit more running-and-gunning in this mode as the number of enemies is not seriously increased and with the extra firepower you can mow them down twice as fast. In the single player mode you will also experience a form of co-op play in the addition of a bot partner named Rico. A series of commands will be available from the interface to issue to your partner. He responds well and does a good job, even better than some human co-op partners I’ve played with. He also has the ability to shoot you if you get in his way so be careful where you wander.
Up to six players can take part in the multi-player modes which feature Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Assault. Unfortunately there is no online play, only ad hock wireless. And you’ll need separate copies of the game since there are only limited game share demos. The maps are huge and could stand to have a lot more players in them. There is more downloadable content to be made available and perhaps the developers will scale down the maps in the future.
Technically the game is solid. The animation is smooth and the framerate is steady. You have to look a little deeper to appreciate the details of the graphics because the overall look of the levels is gritty and industrial. There are plenty of metal formations such as containers, grating and tanks, many of which are destructible, including barrels of explosives that can also be set off by the enemy. The other production values are equally great. The voiceacting is professional and the military-themed soundtrack is perfect, if not just a little redundant. The guns fire with authority and the explosions are loud and powerful. As if shooting isn’t already a good time, the sound effects make it even more so.
Killzone: Liberation is one of the best examples of just how good a third-person shooter can be. The single-player mode may be a little short but it makes up for it with a multitude of modes including co-op and wireless multi-player. A definite must for any action fan with a PSP.
April 25, 2006 – While Killzone on the PS2 failed to live up to the hype which preceded its arrival, it was still a solid FPS for the system. The PS3 fan community is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the system as well as the next gen iteration of the Killzone series, but where does that leave PSP owners? Surprisingly, PSP owners aren’t too bad off at all.
Coming this November is Killzone: Liberation which is a sequel to the original PS2 game. Unlike the first game, Liberation will be played from a third person perspective since developer Guerilla Games wasn’t convinced that the FPS on the PSP’s smaller screen was the best way to go. The camera perspective will remind many of the Metal Gear Solid series and personally we think it’s the way to go on the handheld. We say that after suffering at the hands on many illfated FPS projects we were subjected to on the GBA. Of course the PSP is pushing a lot more power than the GBA, but we must remember that just because you can make a FPS for the PSP, doesn’t mean you should and we applaud Guerrilla for changing the foundation of the game in an attempt for a better translation.
In addition to the new view-point, Killzone: Liberation will feature the ability to scan through the entire level to look for the enemy’s movement patterns and to find the best path to victory. However, this does not indicate that the game will be entirely stealth-based, as Killzone: Liberation will include all of the incredible weapons of the original, including new chainguns and rocket launchers. Another new, and interesting weapon will be the rumored explosive-tipped crossbow. (source Wiki)
Two months have passed since the conclusion of Killzone™. The Killzone war, however, still rages on. Helghast are now looking to capture smaller island bases in the south. General Metrac, a new more sinister Helghast enemy, is using captured ISA VIP’s as negotiating tools for the area withdrawal of ISA forces. Templar is sent on a covert rescue mission in order to save the hostages ultimately deciding the fate of southern Vekta.
- 3rd person intelligent camera viewpoint, allowing for more tactical and intuitive FPS control
- New gameplay features including ‘duck & cover’, intuitive buddy control and BOSS encounters
- A wide range of new weapons and drivable vehicles, including tanks & hovercraft
- Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure Multiplayer Modes include Deathmatch, challenges and Co-op missions