Killzone Mercenary review (PS Vita)

iamnsuperman | 342d ago | User review
Reviewing: Killzone Mercenary
Great, Not Brilliant
Killzone: Liberation was a game released back in 2006 which was fairly well received. Since then we haven’t seen another portable game from the Killzone franchise until Killzone: Mercenary which was released back in September (this year). Killzone: Mercenary was developed by the newly named Guerrilla Cambridge for the PS Vita. The Vita has had problems when it comes to killer apps (I have a list of 3 games so far that reach that criteria) and Killzone is annoyingly close to that. It just falls short is some key areas.

Firstly, its story is a bit weak. The idea is that you are a Mercenary (go figure) who basically does jobs within the Killzone timeline. He then is tasked with helping out the Vektan Ambassador on Helgan which, surprise surprise, goes awry. That might have worked if Guerrilla Cambridge left out the B-movie quality moral event. It is not only bloody obvious (I could see it happening from the beginning) but it is clearly used as a devise to make you work for the Helghast and not used to progress the story. This irritated me and came off as quite cheap. One of the biggest gripes I had, while playing the story, was its length. I think I completed it within 4 hours which is just unacceptable. Granted I was shocked as it felt longer that that but 4 hours is not a good length (I wasn’t rushing and it was on medium difficulty).

Luckily Guerrilla Cambridge has managed to develop a really good shooter on the handheld. Despite, the story and weak story, I felt like I was playing a proper console version of Killzone. The mission design is well thought out and the shooting mechanics are very Killzone-esque. It is remarkable what they have managed to achieve with this game. All the mechanics are back for this instalment (like the face on wall cover mechanics) with new touch screen controls. The touch screen controls work and do not feel out of place. This was an issue I had with other Vita games (notably Uncharted: Golden Abyss) where the touch screen controls did not feel natural. Guerrilla Cambridge has really shown up past developers of Vita games. Simple swipes to preform melee kills work because they are not overly complicated and the hacking mechanic works because it is quite simple (though they should have done a better tutorial for it). The mechanics make this game fun and it is just a shame the offline experience ended so quickly. After the story you can replay some levels (called Contracts) with differing objectives but I felt this was a bit of a cop-out and could have been more fleshed out.

Graphically this game is brilliant. Few games have made me go wow on a handheld but this is an exception. For a handheld game, it is one of the best looking games out there with character models and environments look home console quality. However, I still have an issue with their art direction (brown smudge) as a bit of colour would have brought that extra bit of life into the environments. Sound is equally impressive. The weapons really feel and sound like the pack a big punch. Voice acting isn’t as good as previous Killzone games but the actors do a valiant job of trying to give some character to the story.

Online is where this game really shines. I have started to go off competitive multiplayer (as it all starting to feel the same) but Killzone was remarkably fun and crazy such an experience can be played on a handheld system. I found no issues with connecting to a match nor did I have an issue finding players to play against. The entire system is different from most competitive shooters which are more about getting to a certain criteria/level than creating your own character. Killzone: Mercenary employs the system of gaining money by doing differing actions to then buy your own load out. It really works and fits with the whole ethos of the game. The only issue I encountered with the system is the balance of the special weapons. There are two or three weapons that are a must while the others can be ignored (i.e. a complete waste of money). There is no point having a portable game if you can’t take the thing around and I am happy to report that I had no issue playing this game online in a public café with free wifi. Also, despite being a powerful game, the battery life doesn’t seem to be destroyed by this game. It is a testament to how well-designed this game is.

Overall, this game is great but it does fall a bit short of being brilliant. While being a well-designed, beautiful handheld game, it is the story length and quality that is lacking which really brings this game down (This is the reason why it can't possibly be higher than an 8/10). It is a huge shame as this game could have been the shining example of an FPS on the Vita. Don’t get me wrong ever Vita owner should get this game but don’t be surprised by the weaker offline component.
Ups
Core Gameplay
Graphics
Online
Downs
Story
Story Length
Score
9.0
Graphics For a handheld game this game looks stunning. The only issue is the lack of colour. It could have more colour.
8.0
Sound The voice actors do an admirable job of giving the story some meaning and the gun sounds really give
7.0
Gameplay Despite the poor length and quality of the story, the core gameplay design is really good. It feels like a home console game yet it is a Vita game (remarkable)
8.0
Fun factor Despite story issues all the missions are fun and it is a shame how short it is. The Online mode really ups the anti for enjoyment
9.0
Online I never though handheld online gaming could be like this. Interesting method for progression and it works well apart from the special weapon imbalance.
8.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Pillsbury1  +   340d ago
It is a shining example of an FPS on vita... It is the best handheld FPS to date. It's not perfect but for a handheld it is brilliant. Graphics, story and gameplay all come together to make an amazing game for on the go.
#1 (Edited 340d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
DoctorJones  +   339d ago
'It is the best handheld FPS to date'

That's not saying much, how many great FPS games have there been on handheld?
Pillsbury1  +   339d ago
Exactly why I said it is the best handheld FPS to date.
tiffac008  +   339d ago
My only complain was the lack of checkpoint. So when you exit the game without finishing the level, you have to start from the beginning.

I would have loved it, if they made the cutscenes interactive but alas they didn't.

Yeah the story is short and kind of detached with the silent protagonist but the Intel hunt made all the difference for me. ^^
#2 (Edited 339d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

Add comment

You need to be registered to add comments. Register here or login
Remember

Killzone Mercenary

Average Score 8.1 Reviews(180)
Release Dates