Killzone 2 Reader Review
Killzone 2 is a shooter.
It doesn't try to hide this fact.
Instead it goes out of its way to make the shooting as entertaining and satisfying as possible. From the weapon design, the destructible environment to the elaborate hit reaction system and the sophisticated and challenging AI design of the enemies.
First Person Shooting
The weapons are almost all classical projectile weapons and the animations and subtle camera tricks makes using them utterly satisfying. The control mechanics of the game doesn't hesitate to make it more difficult to handle than most console shooters, to the cries of the Internet and probably their user tests. To complete the first person combat the game gives you a lot of flexibility in how to take care of your enemies, giving you cover mechanics to shoot safely, flushing the enemy out with grenades, shooting the environment to distract them and most importantly even though almost the only enemies you fight in the game are Helghast humans the game gives you a diverse range of different types that all have different behaviours. But then mostly it's a game of attrition where the enemy is doing his best to keep alive by moving from cover to cover while also trying to kill you and your 'friends'.
First Person Narrative
The story is functional, it gives you objectives and shows you cause and effect but it doesn't really delve into any detail and all you learn is that some of the guys on your side are absolute assholes and that the leaders of the enemy are in this war to win, at any cost. What you'll see are mere glimpses into the characters and the character that is the most developed is also the biggest psychopath of them all, and also one of your allies, Rico. The development worked of Rico works well and I think the game deserves a bit of credit for not being afraid to portray the good guys as possibly just as flawed/bad/evil as the bad guys.
One thing I noted with the storytelling in the game was that the cutscenes couldn't decide whether they should be telling the story from the viewpoint of Sev the player character or outside Sev and looking on the scene (with Sev in it) and to make things worse at times they made the camera move like it was from the first person perspective when it wasn't from Sevs perspective. And at one moment two characters addressed the camera when Sev wasn't there. This kind of indecision is confusing. If you are going to tell the story do one thing or the other not both.
First Person Gameplay
The campaign was mostly very entertaining in its linear form. The first couple of levels didn't really do much to stand out while later levels really showed off some beautiful scenes and also generated some very entertaining gameplay. While much of it can feel like it was inspired by the best bits from other games it all played out in a mostly entertaining fashion barring the very last bit of the last mission I enjoyed myself greatly.
Right up until the very last bit I had played the game on the hardest difficulty you are able to choose out of the box. After numerous tries I found that bit exceedingly frustrating, every attempt I made at completing it would take minutes and then I would die from being overrun, it is almost as if the game designers felt they had to make the very last bit extremely difficult just because it was the last bit.
First Person Tip
People don't like to be frustrated. So add more checkpoints. Help them out. You are not making the game better by killing the player repeatedly. Personally I would have dropped that sequence completely.
A good and sometimes great first person shooter with a couple of dips in quality that keeps it from being excellent.
(FYI: I don't consider MP in my reviews)
8 / 10