If I had to only pick two words to define Killzone 2, it would be "technical masterpiece." GG has done a very astounding job with the visuals, sound, and presentation of this game. Every nuance and small detail added into the gameplay just culminates to a very rewarding FPS. The sound of your guns, the light that emits from your fire, the reload animations; everything is virtually sublime. Killzone 2 sets the bar extremely high for FPS's, more so than any other FPS released in the last few years that I could think of. However, Killzone 2 has it's faults that can sometimes be reminiscent to any other mediocre FPS akin to games such as Blacksite or Conflict: Denied Ops. This mediocrity I speak of stems at the single player.
Killzone 2 takes place on the planet Helghan where the ISA takes the fight to the Helghast's home planet to overthrow their ruthless military faction and seize the Emperor Scolar Visari (think of a futuristic Hitler.) Already plot holes are apparent as the living conditions for Helghan shouldn't allow the ISA to breathe normally in it. Even the Helghast have to continue wearing their masks due to prolong exposure of the environment, and yet the ISA have no problem sustaining themselves in this hostile atmosphere. To me, this doesn't make sense, but whatever; that's not the problem here. As a matter of a fact, there are three main problems with the campaign. 1) Unoriginal and uninspiring script. 2) Very poor voice acting and script aside from Scolar Visari. 3) Characters fail to connect with you. Some of these problems aren't as bad as they seem actually, the voice acting is actually realistic. I'm pretty sure in a real war, you would be cussing about as much as comrade Rico Vasquez; one of gaming's already most obnoxious characters to most people. However, this is a game, we demand a script full of substance similar to MGS4, not a barrage of F-bombs.
This poorly written voice acting score sadly compliments the somewhat unoriginal story. GG definitely scores points for the dark and gritty sci fi atmosphere, there is nothing wrong with this as it's actually a really cool art direction that I've never seen before in a game. It's futuristic, but it still feels down to earth as the game omits most cliche sci fi weapons such as plasma guns and such. However, the whole premise is nothing to be amazed with. To put this simply: you invade a planet with a rag tag squad, try to take down the leader, end Visari and Helghan's tyrannical reign, and that's it. Nothing special and sadly, there were no plot twists that I was hoping for. I think GG could've made a really interesting story if there were more secrecy going underneath the straight forward story. For example, I would've loved it if Jan Templar (Colonel of the Vekta cruiser) was discovered to be an underground spy working for Helghan since the first Killzone game. A little sabotage and subterfuge would've been interesting to spontaneously jump out at you but sadly, the game is pretty obvious.
The characters weren't too bad on the good side. You won't be emotionally attached to guys like Rico or Sev as much as you were when seeing Gray Fox's last words in MGS1, but they do portray some pretty good realism. Sev getting pissed off at Rico for accidentally killing Garza, Rico killing his own ISA teammate because of his trash talk to now-dead Jan Templar, the teamwork between Sev and Rico, and other parts are really good. What's even better is that both the enemy and team AI is amazing. I got to say that I felt completely safe with Natko on my side as I was descending on an elevator on the Vekta cruiser. He would cover my back when i was literally seconds away from death and I can tell you that I never felt as much gratitude for friendly AI as I did in this game. Really good, but again, they're isn't much with the character. They all cuss, get pissed, kill, rinse, wash, repeat. Great guys to have as teammates, but you won't enjoy their company as much as Alex from Half Life 2.
Again, only small complaints to a very polished game. Controls are nice and are a lot better after a few patches, enemy AI is astounding (you will see enemies slightly move from their original cover if they've felt compromised), Elite difficulty will leave any hardcore FPS player in tears, and a single player experience with excellent fight scenes and fire fights.
And the best part of all this game isn't even the very solid single player, but the online play. There are 7 classes (Rifleman, Medic, Engineer, Tactician, Assault, Saboteur, and Scout), with 6 of them having primary and secondary abilities that correspond with their class type. The game consists of a ranking system similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare where you gain XP and unlock weapons and classes as you progress throughout your online tenure. Sadly, the ranking system is very very short and once completed, there isn't much incentive after reaching the top rank. It would've been better if it was spread a lot more as having everyone using the same classes in roughly a few days didn't make you feel unique about your classes compared to other people online. That, and the lack of weapon variety. The shotgun, ISA assault rifle, semi automatic rifle, revolver, and sniper are excellent weapons, but sadly the rest don't feel as great; at least for me that is. One of the good things about Call of Duty is it's weapon variety and how each gun worked and feel different to cover people's different preferences for a gun.
Other than the lack of weapons, short ranking system, and the difficulty of playing this game online; it's a very unique and fun game online. Easily my top FPS for online at the moment. Excellent maps, well balanced classes and perks, interchangeable secondary abilities, patches and ribbons to unlock more goodies, a weekly honor system that rewards players with top 10%, 5%, 3%, and 1% stats for online (I got top 1%!), and a plethora of other features such as multi-mode matches and a really nice clan system.
If anyone is a FPS aficionado, then they should pick this game up immediately. There are not many, if any, FPS's that plays anything like Killzone 2 and I can only wait for Killzone 3's release.