Killzone 2 Preview
Killzone 2, a PlayStation 3 exclusive, went into Open Beta about a month ago, and I was one of the lucky people to get an invite to play in it. I’ve taken quite a bit of time, about seven hours of gameplay time alone actually, to check out all of the different modes, maps, and options that you have at your disposal in the Killzone 2 Beta, and I have been quite happy with what I’ve found. The Killzone 2 Beta is a multiplayer-only Beta, there is no single-player demo involved within it.
The Killzone 2 Beta contains three different maps: Salamun Market, a very large outdoor map with multiple routes from one base to the other; Radec Academy, a medium-sized map that is set indoors with only a few ways out of your main base; and Blood Gracht, a very small map with only one way out of your base, and the middle being a massive choke point for everyone. I haven’t been a huge fan of Blood Gracht personally, because if your opponents team happens to be too much better than your own team, you will get a huge bottleneck back at the entrance of your base, making it impossible to get out without being killed instantly. Also, with the map being so close quarters, team killing is another factor that comes into play, and you definately have to watch out so that you don’t kill your own teammates. Blood Gracht is said to be a map for 8-16 players, but it doesn’t stop you from having anywhere up to 32 within the map. Radec Academy is another map that can be dangerous if your opponent’s team is too much more skilled than yours is. The one main way out of your base can be camped quite easily by rocket wielders, and snipers can watch the top path out of your base, making it quite difficult to make any progress. Salamun Market, on the other hand, is a beautiful demonstration of how one can use many different strategies to be able to win. With it being so wide open, worrying about getting spawn killed is a moot point. Also, with multiple ways to get from one side of the map to another, it does a good job of preventing camping in a choke point of some kind.
One of my favorite unique points about Killzone 2 is the “Missions”, or “Game Modes” that you are able to play in a round. Unlike other shooters, where you get one game mode, such as Team Deathmatch, everything is based off of two teams, and different Missions that you must fulfill within a round. After one Mission is finished, another Mission is selected to be played directly afterwards, meaning you won’t be doing the same thing for the entire round. The five Mission Modes are as follows: Body Count, in which you have to kill more enemies than they kill of your team in a time limit; Assassination, where a single player is selected as a target, and the opposing team must take them out before the time is up; Search And Retrieve, a mode where your team must grab an item and bring it back to your capture point to score; Capture And Hold, a bases-type mission where you must hold control points within the map to score; and Search And Destroy, which involves one team trying to plant explosives to destroy an objective, while the other team defends that point. Within one round, each game type will be cycled through at least once, and each Mission counts as a point. At the end of the round, the team with more points from won Missions wins. I find this much more interesting than just having to play the same thing for five to ten minutes, and much more unique than I’ve seen in first-person shooters in the past.
As you progress through the online mode, you earn points for getting kills or achieving objectives from the Missions. The more points you have, the more abilities you have, or the different classes you’re able to be. Each rank is a different rank of the military, beginning with Corporal, and ending with General. As you rank up, you gain the ability to do stuff such as create Squads, create Clans, spawn with new weapons, become a Medic to aid your teammates, and so on. You can also gain more upgrades by achieving certain conditions within a round, ranging from getting ten points in a round, to killing the Assassination target in a round. Each different medal will give you another boost, such as increasing the amount of ammunition you start with when you spawn.
Squads are an interesting part of Killzone 2. If you have made it to a certain rank, you are able to create Squads. A Squad is a 1-4 person team within your team which have direct communication with each other if you have a headset, as well as they show up as a different color on your radar. You are also able to see what abilities they have selected for the round by their name, which shows up on the top part of your screen. One such ability is the ability to be a Medic. Whenever you die, you are actually still alive, just Critically Wounded, unless your opponent decides to shoot you again, which kills you for sure. You have ten seconds before you are able to respawn yourself, or, if there is a Medic nearby, they can bring you back to life with 50% health. This is a very useful ability to have because it prevents you from having to go all the way back to your base again if you are far away from it. Later on you can get the badge for being an Engineer, which gives you the ability to create sentry turrets wherever you are.
Overall, my opinion of this game is very high. Back at E3 a few years ago, they admitted that the trailer they had created was pre-rendered, but the graphics of this game look so much like it that it’s hard to believe now. This game is beautiful, and looks like it will be excellent when it comes out in 2009. With the unique way that each round goes, even for a Beta it’s kept me more interested than a lot of other shooters that I have played recently, and I have been quite happy for it. Just remember that this is NOT like other shooters. The weapons in this game are not based off of real weapons, and fire much differently, as well as the game modes are challenging and unique. If you are looking for something different, this is the game to pick up for sure.