Gamerlimit brings you the inside, hands-on scoop for the Killzone 2 demo! Is it multiplayer? How long is the demo? All the answers and more are inside; check it out!
First of all, if you haven’t reserved the game, you can make a European account and download the demo. The demo is 1207MB, and no, it is not Multiplayer! Now, onto our impressions:
Chris Carter: I used to be completely immersed in FPS games. I played Halo and Unreal Tournament avidly. Then, something happened: I just stopped playing them. After a while, I started to recover from my FPS slump, and picked up Black. While it wasn’t that great of a game, it was visually impressive, and fun while it lasted. I also picked up Resistance, and had a blast. FPS games are back on top for me, but Killzone 2 still didn’t have my convinced. Killzone 2 “convinced” me right when I booted it up. It’s menu screen was very well done, in the style of a gritty television. Epic music blared, a hymn that sounded like it was straight out of a Final Fantasy title.
The options are fairly simple. You can change your sensitivity, control scheme, and a few other small items. You can’t completely customize the controls, but you can choose from 7 different options.
The first level is the Corinth River. The in-game intro to the level is more well done than anything in Gears of War 2. It’s an epic D-Day landing, with hovercraft instead of boats. Explosions, shrapnel, and dead bodies fly across the screen right in front of you as you zoom into battle. Your unit crash lands, and the game immediately starts. The first thing I noticed is you move realistically. By that I mean a lot slower than most shooters. It took a few minutes to get used to, but it was the perfect speed; it wasn’t ridiculously fast, and gave a more realistic feel. Also, when jumping, it feels a lot more realistic than most shooters. The first area is also a tutorial of the game’s controls. You can use L2 to crouch, or hide behind cover. If you push R1 to shoot, you can automatically duck out from the cover and fire. If you push your analog stick in the direction you want to peek, while holding L2, you can get a better view of what’s out there. Unlike shooters today, you can only carry one main weapon. You start with a zoom-capable rifle, and there is a rocket launcher and machine gun in the demo.
The presentation is excellent. If you pause the game at any time, it makes a cool echo effect based on what you were hearing at the time. The lighting effects are amazing, and I love the lens flare graphics when you look at a light. The blood and death effects are unparralleled. When you kill a unit, he will do anything from grip his chest and slowly fall to the ground, to fireing off random shots in desperation. The blood pours from whatever area you shot him, and seeps along the ground realistically. I also love the Helghasts’ eyes effect. When you kill one, you know he’s dead because his glowing red eyes are dark.
At the end of the demo, you get a cool trailer video mostly showing death effects and a few new guns. A beautiful opera tune plays, and every perfect or near-perfect review the game has gotten so far shows up on screen. The demo is about 15 minutes, and allows you to choose to return to either of the two areas you visit after you beat it. Even though it was short, it was a great showing. Killzone 2 was gritty, the score was surprisingly epic, and the graphics really are the best they’ve ever looked on any console. If you have a friend who has a PS3, make him download this demo!
All-in-all, I’d say Killzone 2 is looking to be the best FPS i’ve ever played Single-Player. Now about that multiplayer demo……
An Alternate Take
JF Fox: Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the FPS genre, so I’ll try to keep my impressions concise. I play the games, but I don’t love them: to my mind, most FPS games are pretty interchangeable. The only truly noteworthy titles for me in the genre have been Half Life, Deus Ex, and Halo. From what I could glean from the pitifully-short demo released on the EU PSN store today, Killzone 2 will not be the fourth title on my list.
Killzone 2 is beautiful. The animations, visual effects, textures and lighting are all top-notch and quite easily make Killzone 2 the single prettiest-looking game I’ve ever seen. The art design is bold and imaginative.
Combat feels very realistic: the physical sensation of mowing down a red-eyed stormtrooper with a machine-gun is incredible. The depth of the animation at play really makes the game-world feel alive.
Giant robots. Okay, maybe this is a bit of a cop-out, but I love giant robots. I know they’re in the game. It’s obvious a lot of work went into Killzone 2, so odds are driving a mech will be a lot of fun. It’s a shame they couldn’t include that into the demo–but to be fair, you can only squeeze so much stuff into an eight-minute window.
Killzone 2 looks fantastic, but good luck seeing much of that beauty. I always thought FPS stood for, “first person shooter,” but somewhere across the decades developers have decided to stick a camera lens in with the other three letters. When you take damage (frequently) blood splatters the screen, marring the lens. The world also blurs. And turns black-and-white. And fades. It can be difficult to appreciate the beauty of a game when you can’t actually see it. This marring of the lens also seems to take too long to dissipate.
No sense of direction. There is no radar, no map, no indicator toward your next objective. That may have flown well back in the Half Life and Doom days, but not any more, and particularly with inane objectives that include, but are not limited to, finding one particular NPC to stand next to. An NPC that looks… exactly like all of the others.
Level design stinks. The areas in the demo are small and boring. It’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to waste ten or twenty minutes running around the same empty room trying to trigger the one even that will let the game progress. Granted, this goes hand in hand with the above gripe, but still.
Dear God… the writers! What did they do to the writers? Whoever wrote the dialog in Killzone 2 ought to be shot. Whoever read through the script and signed off on it… he or she deserves a fate more cruel than my feeble mind can even imagine. Honestly, I can’t even bring myself to quote an example. It’s all the bad. I’m talking excessive profanity far beyond the point of absurdity, lame one-liners and an overabundance of testosterone-filled grunting. The red-eyed stormtroopers actually seem to be able to form coherent thoughts, and then articulate those thoughts with one another, so my sympathies lay with them. Never before have I hated my own “team” so much as I did within the first ten seconds of jumping into the Killzone 2 demo. And don’t think for a moment that this atrocious dialog is limited to the opening act of the game. It persists throughout the level. Constantly. My brow still aches from all the cringing.
The characters suck. All of your allies are incoherent morons, and the guy you play as? Dunno: he doesn’t speak a single word. All it takes for stupidity to triumph is for one smart man to stand silent. Which, if you think about it, is pretty mind-numbingly stupid in and of itself.
The menus are the ugliest I’ve ever seen. Not only are they drab and dull, but they shake. It’s one thing for the game-world to always be in motion, but do the menus really need to flicker and bob up and down? It’s nauseating.
Exploding barrels. Need I say more?
Today, it seems like all a game needs to sell is pretty graphics. If that’s all we look at, Killzone 2 may as well be a perfect game. Yes, the graphics are unparalleled. Yes, the art-design is fantastic. But that’s about it. People have been lauding Killzone 2 as a “Halo Killer.” Me? I don’t see it. They couldn’t be any more different. Halo was a casual game, with a bright palate, fast-paced gameplay, and likable characters. Killzone 2 doesn’t have any of those. Sometimes the gameplay can be fast, true, but it all-too-often grinds to a halt as you hide behind cover and wait for your eyesight to return or struggle to decipher your next vague objective.
To any North American gamers who are on the fence about Killzone 2 and flustered by the inane-exclusivity arrangement Gamestop finagled, I strongly recommend signing up for a EU PSN account and trying the demo for yourselves before purchasing. I think fans of shooters will love Killzone 2. I have a feeling the rest of us will be far less impressed with it. When it comes to 2009 games that interest me, Killzone 2 went from near the top (before I played the demo) to the very bottom (the afterglow).
My final impression of the demo is a fairly simple one: if the demo is at all representative of the full game, then the blind praise being showered onto Killzone 2 is woefully undeserved. It looks nice, yeah, but it ain’t nothin’ special.”
So what did you guys think? Feel free to post any and all impressions below!
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