CRank: 5Score: 70950

Killzone 2 Review

thor|5556d ago |Blog Post|6|

I take an in-depth look at Killzone 2, spoiler-free, in a review using my new scoring system. I'm going to separate this review into two parts - starting with all the bad stuff to get it out of the way, then moving onto the good (and there's a whole lot of good with this game). I'm going to assume that, seeing as you're here on N4G, that you know all about KZ2 and what it is and for which platforms it's available.

The bad:

Many people have complained that the single-player campaign is "average" or that it's not "innovative". After much thought, and having played the single-player campaign through a couple of times myself, I've come to a conclusion of why these people think this way. It's mostly a mistranslation of their thoughts into words. When they say it's "average", they don't mean that the graphics are average, or the shooting is average, or the AI is average, or the gameplay is average. When they say it isn't "innovative", they don't mean that it doesn't introduce its own unique ideas and that it's not unique.

They mean it lacks spectacle. The most spectacular moments in the game are merely when you're shooting enemies with a tank, or defending an area. Saying that it has an average campaign is doing the game a disservice, and saying that it's not innovative is to neglect what it does that is new. The reason they say these things is because there are no giant worms or bike chases or huge collapsing buildings; and also because the story and atmosphere is not tremendous either. I have a feeling that the reason games like Half-life are so popular is not because they do anything tremendously revolutionary in terms of gameplay (in Half-life 2, for example, you are killing enemies just the same as you do in Killzone 2; there is a gravity gun gimmick but the game doesn't hold together on this alone), but because they have amazing atmosphere. You feel like you're a part of something bigger. You feel like you really are holding off these enemies to save these people's lives. In KZ2 there is little connection to the characters, and whilst there are some interesting plot ideas and characters, they are never fully developed, which is a shame.

Online, the ranking system is quite flawed. The ranks are far too easy to attain; I was a general in just over 20 hours. I'm now well over double the general requirement of 2800 points. On the other hand, making the ranks harder to reach would mean that the classes were not unlocked quickly enough. I think it was a fundamentally flawed design decision to have the classes unlock as you go along. For one thing, the most exciting classes are the saboteur and the scout, which are the last two that you unlock. It's very odd to see noobs running around who are at max rank. In other games, if you are at max rank, even if you sucked at first you now have enough experience to ensure that you're at least half-decent.

There are a couple of online balancing issues. For starters, everybody (once they have an easy-to-obtain badge) starts with quite a bit of ammo and two grenades. This is excessive, and I would have been happy with the default amount without the badges boosting the amount you start with. As with CoD4, the action becomes chaotic in the larger games, in contrast with the realistic, tactical presentation of the game. A no-respawn mode could have worked wonders here to slow the game down. As it is, you have the overpowered assault class charging in with a grenade or rocket launcher, dying and doing the same. I don't find that the turrets are underpowered, and a skillful placement can get you quite a few kills. But the aerial support bots are severely underpowered and I can only hope that they are adjusted. I don't think anyone would object if they were given 3 times the firepower as they have now. It would give them an actual tactical use. As it is, people just ignore them, and in most games the only people calling them are those trying in vein to get the ribbon.

The Good:

Let me start by saying that the game is a blast to play. Forget making comparisons with other games, forget trying to analyse the gameplay, forget trying to ignore the graphics - the single-player campaign is really fun. It's just immensely satisfying to play. Every time I crack out the SMG in the single-player campaign and charge around blasting people, I enjoy it. The difficulty is quite hard and I'd recommend that you only try it on veteran at first if you don't mind getting a little frustrated, but overall it's nicely paced with some good overall level design. It's as linear as they get - but it doesn't feel that way, with many battles just an arena where you're free to tackle the enemies in whichever order you please.

Anybody who compares this game disfavourably to CoD4 should stop whining. The two games are immensely similar. I would say it's probably impossible to love one and hate the other, seeing as there are more similarities than differences. No matter what your issues with KZ2's online multiplayer, no irritation is as large as that caused by the martyrdom perk. At least KZ2 gives a host the option to disable classes or weapons that he doesn't like. Killzone 2's campaign mode is lengthy and it is more impressive than CoD4's for one simple reason - there isn't an overuse of infinitely respawning enemies. I was disheartened to find that there are some areas where the enemies keep respawning until you move forward. These are the weakest parts of the game, and remind me of CoD4. The tactic I would like to use is to pick off the enemies from a safe distance before slowly moving forward. With infinitely respawning enemies, I waste all my ammo pointlessly. In order to complete one of the levels on KZ2, I ran forward, ignoring the enemies so that I would trigger an event, before running back for cover and THEN finishing off the enemies who would not respawn. In CoD4, this happened at nearly every encounter. It was immensely frustrating. But in KZ2, there was one battle I remember - I kept back, picking off the enemies from the distance, ducking in and out of cover, until they were all dead. Then I moved on. That was such a great feeling - I can't tell you how amazing it is to do that in a game when you're so used to the appalling CoD4 system which other games use as well.

I've left all of the controls on default settings aside from inverting the vertical axis, and I've never had a problem. People whinge too much about controls nowadays - LBP was first, then KZ2, then Resident Evil 5. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them. I didn't play CoD4 on a console, maybe that's why I find it normal, but I played Resistance 2 and I swear that had nobody said anything about the controls, I wouldn't really have noticed that they were much different. I expect different games to have different control setups, and if I have to click R3 to aim, fine, I click R3 to aim. Doesn't bother me one bit. To be honest, it's more difficult to learn the maps and the gameplay tactics than it is to learn the controls, so I very rarely change them around.

To me, from a technical point of view, KZ2's friendly AI is as advanced as the enemy AI. I think the reason that people have been saying that the enemy AI is so good whilst the friendly AI sucks is due to the fundamental design decision to include an AI partner in the first place. Most people confuse AI with difficulty, or at least put the two in the same boat, and to a certain extent they are right. Make the AI partner too good, and the game's difficulty will be low, as you can just sit back and let him do all the work. So they have no option but to make your ally quite weak. When the enemy stands out in the open, they start firing at you, but you can pick them off quickly. When your ally stands out in the open, he doesn't fire so much to keep it balanced, and doesn't die as quickly for the same reason, so it seems like his AI is poorer. It's not so clear to the player that the enemies make the same mistakes as the allies. As far as many people are concerned, the abilities of the enemy to dodge out of the way of bullets, take cover, and advance from different directions signifies great AI. And as I said, in some ways they are right, because it's well-tuned to make the game fun and enjoyable, as well as challenging. It's just a shame that in order to counter all the complaints we had a few years ago about FPSs starring "one-man armies", we now have to have a useless AI companion and a "two-man army" which doesn't really solve the problem, just creates issues of its own. I'd love to play a game where I'm either on my own, or actually part of a balanced battle with as many good guys as bad. Not a team of 4 who can take down an army of a thousand.

Don't write off the online until you've unlocked everything. I mentioned before that the ranking up is flawed - and this is one of the reasons. The most interesting classes are unlocked at the end. The saboteur is a tremendously fun class to play, and it's just great to run behind enemy lines with nobody noticing you, planting some C4 in a doorway and watching somebody get blown up whilst you hide in a corner. The scout's invisibility is also great for sneaking around and adds another great dynamic to the gameplay. No longer is the game chaotic - you have to move slowly, use tactics and pick your shots. I love watching people run past me whilst I'm cloaked so that I can get past them and infiltrate the enemy base to take down the assassination target.

Warzone truly is remarkable. In other games, the game modes always play out the same, making some redundant. I can see that people wouldn't want to play pure search and destroy because it would turn into a 20-minute grenade spam fest. But when it comes up in warzone, if you're quick enough you can plant the bombs before the enemy team has a chance to mobilise. If you can guess or predict the next mode that's coming up, you can prepare - lay some spawn grenades in the correct places and the next round is yours before it's even begun. It adds a whole new layer of strategy, and whilst I'd like to see some more customisation options, these are being added in future patches starting with one just next week to give the option to increase the body count (team deathmatch) kill limit.

I was wrong at first to write off Killzone 2 as not being tactical online. Once I unlocked the last 2 classes and their secondary abilities, it had so much more depth to it and I'm really enjoying it. Even the larger games now seem more tactical as I've become used to the play style. If some balancing issues are fixed, it could become more so as the air support becomes a useful weapon. I implore you again, give the online a chance and don't write it off before you've unlocked everything.


In conclusion, Killzone 2 basically is an excellent FPS with a couple of flawed design concepts, but ultimately these are overshadowed by the attention to detail and the polish on the game. It's set the new benchmark, and for that reason it's going to set the benchmark for my new unconvertible-to-an-N4G-user-review-score-out-of-ten scoring system. See my blog for a detailed explanation.

100 out of infinity

Spike475556d ago

Nice review. Honestly, Killzone 2 did not wow me, but the thing was that I couldn't find anything much wrong with the game. So in other words, I'm the problem and not the game itself. If I had the money I would buy Killzone 2 in a heartbeat.

iceice1235556d ago

You're obviously biased and/or getting payed by Microsoft.

JOLLY15556d ago

Why so low? 100 out of 100 is good, but out of infinity is bad!

NineteenSeventyNine5555d ago

I'd give this review 5 out of infinity.


Games that need a performance patch on Switch 2

NE: "With the Nintendo Switch 2's announcement coming, we look at Switch games that could use a performance patch on it."

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Terry_B10h ago

Basically every game on Switch :-)

jznrpg1h ago

I was going to say all of them but you beat all of to it. Of course they won’t do it for every game and are they going to charge for it?

Eonjay1h ago(Edited 1h ago)

Well a Switch 2 should be able to stabilize most gay with dips. And hopefully any gay with dynamic res should be maxed out at 1080p.

Nintendo tho is the worst out of any company for reselling older games. I wish they would give a free patch for the Xenoblade games.

Goodguy011h ago

Botw and totk 60fps updates plz


Indiana Jones And The Great Circle Devs Confirm In-Game Locations, Hint At New & Familiar Characters

MachineGames has revealed the in-game locations that are featured in its upcoming action adventure title, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle.

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DefenderOfDoom237m ago(Edited 36m ago)

I am looking forward to this game because of MachineGames.


Why I Can't Get Enough Of Shadow Of The Colossus

The beauty of the Shadow Of The Colossus lies in the vast world with emptiness. Read more to know how this game stand out from other games.

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Shadow of the Colossus and Ico should be remade in UE5. I know Shadow of the Colossus was in 2018 but I say remake both of them for PS5 and PC.

DarXyde3h ago

Shadow of the Colossus is kind of a perfect game, at least to me.

Man, this has me nostalgic. I know how I'm spending my Sunday evening.

chicken_in_the_corn3h ago

I tried the remake but couldn't get into it. Time to give it another go.

Elda2h ago

I tried both versions of the game & I can never get past the 4th boss.

Inverno57m ago

Well if anyone else can't get enough of this game you should check out Project Tribute. Basically a fan remake with all the cut colossi for PC.