Guerrilla Games’ gorgeously dark and brutal first-person shooter Killzone 2 provides one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences around. The PlayStation 3 exclusive’s single-player campaign is rather tasty too, if you enjoy the sweet taste of mowing down dozens upon dozens of space Nazis in a world so visceral and life-like, you may need a breather every now and then. Testament to this praise would be the review we posted back in March.
Two months into the game’s life and we are presented with our first piece of DLC: Steel And Titanium – a pack that includes two very different new maps for us to run around in, causing/suffering copious amounts of destruction online in the process. Hit the jump to see what I made of the results.
The most intriguing map of the two is Wasteland Bullet, which basically consists of two speeding trains running alongside one another in an environment typical of the planet Helghan; powerful winds swirl around you, throwing sand everywhere, helping to create a rather loud and hostile setting. The first thought that entered my mind and actually crossed my lips (quietly, I was on my own) was: “woah”. The graphics are stunning, as you’d expect. But there was just something extra special about seeing the whole thing flying along a track at 100mph.
Managing to kick myself into gear, I went about finding my bearings. Unfortunately, shortly after beginning my conquest I found myself splattered on the train tracks. The thing is, when you have two trains speeding side-by-side, the only way to get over to the other one is to jump. Those are basically the rules. Wasteland Bullet doesn’t want this to be too easy for you, so every now and then a group of huge, well-lit pillars will fly past and instantly kill you if you’ve decided to cross without looking.
Being aware of your surroundings is essential to survive in such situations. Your ability to see whether the pillars are about to plow through before you jump, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for enemies waiting for you on the other train can make all the difference. Pay too much attention to the columns and somebody will just pick you off from a mere few yards away and you’ll look silly. Do the opposite and you’ll be under the train. Also, please note: Go on to the roof at your own peril. It’s a certified deathtrap that requires nerve and a heavy amount of concentration. Things I seem to lack. All too often I’ll lose my head, literally.
The layout of the map can be as much a burden as a blessing. When playing a match hosting more than sixteen players, I found that things can be a little too unorganized and scrappy. If you like your Killzone 2 frantic and explosive, you may enjoy it more than I did. But, while I do love an overcrowded match on many of the game’s other maps, I feel that Wasteland Bullet really comes into its own when you have around eight players on each side. Your movement is restricted to forwards or backwards, albeit on one train or the other, and having less people around enables the chance to develop your own tactics and movement patterns a little more successfully.
The second map, Vectar Cruiser, couldn’t be more different. The game’s color palette, so often dismissed by critics as two-tone and dull, is given a shot in the arm inside a battle-torn ISA ship that floats high above the clouds. The environment, seen also during the single-player mode, is a superb addition to Killzone 2‘s online universe. Silvers and blues are provided by the futuristic and expensive looking interior, while surrounding the relatively small battle area are sections of ship that have been torn apart.
Taking place on three levels, this map feels a little more comfortable with a healthy amount of players on board. And, unlike Wasteland Bullet, which I feel works best as a straight-up ‘body count’ arena, Vectar Cruiser also benefits from utilizing all five modes during a match. It can feel like you are running around like a headless chicken at times, but going up and down levels lends itself well to this type of gameplay.
Many of your objectives are centered around a room with multiple entrances, so teamwork becomes key, especially when players are asked to defend or attack any enemy stronghold. Without working together you’ll find yourself blown to pieces again and again, particularly if the enemy decide to group up and cover every doorway and balcony leading to and from the fantastic looking energy field partition.
How much of a fan you are of the already solid online multiplayer offered on Killzone 2 will ultimately dictate how suitable this DLC would be for you. If you haven’t enjoyed the game or haven’t really got into it yet, saving £4.79 and giving this a miss wouldn’t mean you were losing out too much. However, if you’ve been playing the game extensively since release and are still enjoying it, I’d say that Steel And Titanium is a must buy, providing enough variety for entirely new gameplay outcomes and an extra twelve trophies to aim for in the process. Overall: 8.5/10