As I sling my M-82 assault rifle around to my back and exit the war-torn battlefield, a strange feeling of dread engulfs me. It’s been a good day, I’ve left plenty of soldiers riddled with bullets, blown a fair few sky high with a well placed grenade or two and revived a dozen comrades, enabling them to once more join me in fighting the good fight. I’m satisfied enough to return to my quarters and sleep easy.
But, unlike other days over last three weeks, this time I leave the smoke and screams in my wake knowing that it will be a matter of weeks rather than hours until I return. I’ve built up a solid bond with my team mates of late, really taking in the experience and learning who I can expect to have my back when I’m in trouble and who I should be keen to follow in order to stay alive and rack up some key victories.
I shutdown my PlayStation 3 and gaze into the crimson eyes on the front of my special edition tin case. As much as this site has the ability to send shivers down my spine, I know I’m going to miss the aggressive, burly Helghast soldiers who have become the object of my nightmares since the end of February. Killzone 2 has been good to me, but I’m going to have to leave it alone for a while. I’m moving house.
A week and a half later and, without my beloved internet connection, I haven’t so much as tasted the ash that constantly blows around Pyrrhus Rise, haven’t heard the satisfying ratter-tat-tat of a placement gun and certainly haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the mid-battle commands from the Helghast chief. Well, that last one is easily recreated by a North Londoner, but I won’t go into what I have replaced singing in the shower with.
Not being able to get on there and join my friends has felt a lot like missing a week of school. You just know you have missed way too much. In my school days it was more often than not a good old-fashioned fight. With Killzone 2, it’s more like a hundred raging battles. That’s a hundred opportunities to level up and countless opportunities to spray some poor bugger with enough ammo to fill even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shoulder strap.
It may be another couple of weeks before I am back fully. I guess this is a good time to catch up on those single-player experiences that, due to a delicate balance of time and money constraints, I had to skip during last November’s rush. It’s also a time to reflect. Perhaps it’s a good opportunity for me to appreciate what it is to be a gamer. I’ve learnt it’s important to savour those moments of fun while you have them, just like on Mother’s Day, which happens to be today. Speaking of which, I have a lovely Sunday roast to digest.
See you on the frontlines.