It's part three of the Digital Foundry Killzone 2 analysis, and with it, a critical look at the technical goings on at the tail-end of the single-player mode. We've truly saved the best until last here, simply by virtue of the fact that Guerilla Games did the same in the way it conceived the solo campaign. Tense sniper shoot-outs, base invasions, mech battling, and the final face-off with Radec, the game definitely goes out in style.
So...onto the analyses for the final four campaigns. As the ninth and tenth are relatively short compared to the rest of the game, we've lumped those in together into one presentation, and we've refrained from covering the final confrontation, so the final part of this epic shall remain unspoiled.
Into campaign seven, set on a Helghast train and on an alien desert. The incidental details on the environments, combined with the effect of the wind on combat make this something really rather special. Click here for a larger video window, or else hit the full-screen button in the bottom right corner.
Still mourning the loss of a comrade, you have a full-on Helghast invasion of the base ship to contend with... plus a skyful of bandits.
A spot of Mech action kicks off Campaign Eight, and the last of our video analyses. The penultimate shoot-out is a full-on, balls-out warzone - see how the engine copes.
So, after the barrage of technical info, what do we think of the actual game you'll doubtless be playing on your PS3 imminently, if not immediately? In a recent Eurogamer feature, we described Killzone 2 as "perhaps the most magnificent technical achievement I've seen on the current generation of consoles", and we stand by that assessment - although Uncharted: Drake's Fortune runs it close, and is definitely the better single-player game.
Guerilla Games have produced a technical showcase that maximises the strengths of the PS3 hardware and minimises the weaknesses by factoring in the system's limitations into both the engine design and crucially, the artistic direction. There's nothing else on any other system that looks quite like it, and in motion virtually everything is superbly realised.
Gameplay-wise, Killzone 2 isn't quite as strong as the engine it is built upon. There is a definite sense that the first five campaigns - the lion's share of the single-player experience - are very similar, very one-note, with a lack of exciting pace. However, once onto the train campaign and beyond, it's like playing a different game: more variety in the combat and in the tasks asked of you, and less about moving from room to room killing the same type of Helghast soldier again and again.
Single-player is definitely a game of two halves, and for that reason, based on what we've played, the multiplayer mode is going to be where Killzone 2 hopefully elevates itself into greatness. The levelling system has plenty of legs in it and lots of (dare I say it) 'perks' to keep you at the PS3 long after the single-player game has been put to rest. I'd also venture to say it's where the lion's share of the DLC will be targeted, further extending the lifespan of this part of the game.
In short then, it's fair to say that Killzone 2 is absolutely unmissable, but it's equally fair to say that it is in no way revolutionary; often predictable and occasionally even a little monotonous. There's very little that's new and surprising in what it does, but in terms of the look, feel and execution, it's easily the best shooter available on console.