As far as gameplay goes, Killzone is reasonably solid. Using different guns results in varied levels of recoil, with the standard ISA weapon suffering quite badly from it but packing quite a punch when on target and Luger’s silenced customized weapon having very little recoil but, as a down side, lots less ammo available, making accuracy paramount. Secondary fire allows players to mix things up a little, with the Helghan machine gun doubling up as a shotgun while the ISA standard has a built-in grenade launcher.
If you’re expecting Friendly AI, Killzone will disappoint you. A friend of mine and I always pull a line from Shaun Of The Dead when attempting certain sections of Killzone: “Feel free to step in at ANY time!”. Your AI buddies just pop the odd cap into the air for giggles and are happy to watch exactly what you do, complimenting you on every kill you make. It can be frustrating, especially when paired up with the fact that enemy AI is pretty damn good. They hide from you just when you get them in your sights (even through a sniper scope) and are deadly accurate with their shooting, whether it be a sniper or grenade launcher. It’s also notable that Helghast will usually utilize their secondary fire when up close, so beware of the shotgun as you may often find yourself down in just two shots. A few minor points like these detract them otherwise grand gameplay.
Weapons vary, but are grounded in some form of reality. For example, there are no plasma guns on show. You will often have to choose wisely about which guns to carry as you will only be allowed a maximum of three. This is particularly evident in one section, whereby you have a gun that pinpoints locations for air strikes (much like the binoculars in Warhawk) and the Helghast are rolling around in tanks. You must keep hold of this weapon but, with many others around on offer, do you accompany it with a shotgun, grenade launcher or Helghast assault rifle? It’s up to you, but battles are won and lost on such decisions.
Graphically the game looks quite dated, although cut scenes are pretty well made and the voice acting is spot-on – Brian Cox’s speech at the start (he plays Scolar Visari, and is back for Killzone 2, yay!) is particularly immense – except some in-game quotes sound like they have been phoned-in. A lot of the in-game acting is very un-inspired, and you won’t find anything new outside of your normal grunts. The general look of the planet Vekta is grey and dismal, which suits the theme of the game, although a splash of colour is added when you hit the jungle. It also gets a little sci-fi and spaceship-ish looking towards the end, which is a nice touch. The music is well done, making for one explosive score. Sound effects are also enthralling; every “bang” and “boom” sounds as if it were done in a hollywood studio.
My main gripes about this game are the infuriatingly sporadic checkpoints, which can have you trodding along for the best part of half an hour, and the length. While there were few plot twists to keep things intersting enough, I must have been playing it for over 15 hours and, with levels getting slightly repetitive, it could have done with having five hours shaved off. The addition of a great multiplayer, on and offline/with or without bots (which are awesome), makes this even more plausible. But I would say, all in all, if you have the time before Killzone 2 hits, give it a go. Get acquainted with the Helghast before you are thrown in at the deep end at the end of February.