Killzone Mercenary

Key events

Sony insists Vita is here to stay

But don't expect games like Uncharted or Killzone again.

You'd be forgiven for thinking Sony had given up on the Vita - at least in the west - after its no-show at the company's major press conferences this year. But according to Sony's UK boss the handheld console is here to stay.

Digital FoundryInside Killzone: Mercenary

Digital Foundry vs. Guerrilla Cambridge on the tech secrets of mobile's most advanced FPS.

Out now in Europe and days away from its US launch, Killzone: Mercenary for PlayStation Vita is undoubtedly one of the most technologically impressive mobile games on the market, and the first truly worthwhile first-person shooter for Sony's portable games machine. Remember that feeling when you first played Ridge Racer on PSP? It's the feeling that you're playing a game that has no right to look this good on mobile hardware; the sensation that you're getting a full-fat console game running in the palm of your hand. Uncharted: Golden Abyss captured that feeling, and now Killzone: Mercenary makes its case as the definitive article.

Killzone: Mercenary review

Killzone: Mercenary review

One for the money.

Killzone: Mercenary is a game defined by its platform. Not in the sense that it makes such unique use of the Vita's features that it could only ever have worked on Sony's portable powerhouse, but because everything it gets right is sweetened by the addition of the phrase "but on a handheld" at the end.

The fifth entry in Guerilla's long-running dystopian FPS saga, and the first to be developed by the studio's Cambridge offshoot, it's a handsome and confident game that nevertheless loses some of Killzone's identity in the rush to accommodate current genre trends, and that stumbles slightly when adapting to the Vita's touchscreen and stumpy dual sticks.

It certainly looks lovely, translating the oppressive Killzone visual style and applying it to a much smaller screen while keeping most of the detail and texture you'd expect from the PlayStation 3 sequels. Nor does it skimp on features - everything you could do in a big boy console shooter, you can do in this one. That, however, is also part of the problem. Killzone 3 saw the series veering sharply in the direction of the FPS herd, and that drift towards generic continues here.

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Killzone Mercenary open beta for PlayStation Plus subscribers today

PlayStation Plus subscribers can now join Vita shooter Killzone Mercenary's open beta.

The handheld FPS is due to launch in Europe in two weeks, but Plus members get early access to its online portion today.

A demo of PlayStation 3 platformer Puppeteer is also available to download today, again only for Plus subscribers.

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Killzone: Mercenary closed beta sign-ups now live

Vita-exclusive Killzone: Mercenary is now accepting sign-ups for a closed beta of its multiplayer.

Would be recruits have until 10:00pm BST on 17th July to sign up. Ostensibly it's first come, first serve so register ASAP. Those enlisted will receive an e-mail with further details.

Killzone: Mercenary is due on 4th September in most of Europe, but not until the 6th in the UK.

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Vita exclusive Killzone: Mercenary out on 6th September in the UK

Vita exclusive Killzone: Mercenary will release in the UK on 6th September, Sony has announced.

There are a couple of pre-order bonuses up for grabs depending on where you put your money down.

The BlackJack's Briefcase package offers a double XP boost for a couple of days and gives you a bit of extra cash in the game to buy snazzy weapons.

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PlayStation Vita-exclusive Killzone: Mercenary gets release date, new trailer

PlayStation Vita shooter Killzone: Mercenary will launch in the UK on 18th September, Sony has announced.

The game's action sees players return to events following the first Killzone and revisit moments from throughout the trilogy. Except now you're a work-for-anyone, cold-blooded mercenary. Booyah!

The portable title features nine hour-long missions and an eight-man multiplayer mode. You get a fat bank account which collects your earnings from both, which you can use to beef your character up with new gear and weapons.

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Will there be a Killzone 4?

Guerrilla has "a lot of room to expand".

Killzone 3 climaxes with the door left tantalisingly open for further adventures and Guerrilla Games has confirmed that there's "ample opportunity" for a fourth instalment of the spectacular shooter series.

PSP2 games: the NGP line-up

Uncharted! Killzone! WipEout! Resistance!

The first batch of games announced for Sony's brand new NGP (Next Generation Portable - a.k.a PSP2) handheld are as follows.