Saturday, September 7, 2013

Killzone: Mercenary first impressions


As someone who has always enjoyed the Killzone games and even takes a little bit of pride in them being developed in his motherland of the Netherlands. I was looking forward to the first instalment of the franchise on the PS Vita, not in the least because it's indisputably a triple-A title of the calibre we were promised when the Vita launched.

It's here now and it looks absolutely stunning. It really does rival the current generation consoles in graphical fidelity and it's surprisingly smooth with virtually no slowdown. This is also one of those games you kind of need to play with headphones as the sound does enhance the experience and completes the triple-A package. Gameplay wise, after having played the first few levels, it truly is the Killzone experience on a handheld. Which, as I mentioned, for me is a good thing.

I prefer the slower, more "realistic" pace of the Killzone games over for example the gravity defying leaping of the Halo franchise.  One thing new to the series is the ability to take a more stealthy approach and take out a number of enemies without alerting their compatriots. There are still plenty of unavoidable firefights though but the mechanic serves some welcome variety and is a blessing in the earlier sniper infested levels where being able to take out the majority of these instadeath dealers silently is particularly helpful.

As the name implies, rather than fighting directly for the ISA or the Helghast you are a mercenary for hire. Fighting for both sides although the story (so far) favours the ISA. This also gives the developers an excuse to tack on a inventory system where you have to buy your weapons from the black market for credits. These vending points are scattered around the levels and let you kit out your guy as the situation demands. Stealthy section coming up? Swap out your loud assault rifle for a silences SMG, no problem. Credits are handed out liberally too and reward head shots and close combat kills over regular kills. But even looting corpses for ammo, taking out security cameras and releasing hostages give credits.

All in all, I'm enjoying Killzone: Mercenary immensely. Pick it up on the PSN store now!
(Seriously, it's 2013. Save the planet, buy digital!)