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Is Killzone’s Reputation Deserved? |

Killzone has a reputation for being the PS3’s flagship franchise. To pick a representative quote from IGN’s recent preview of Killzone 2:

Since that video at 2005’s E3, Guerilla’s Killzone 2 has earned itself – for better and for worse – a reputation as a flagship title for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the console’s ability to usher in a new generation of fully immersive digital entertainment.

But why is this considered such a flagship franchise? Does it have a reputable developer, were early Killzone titles particularly loved, or does this title hint at to do something really new and exciting? No. None of the above.

The first Killzone had some strong points and it wasn’t terrible, but almost no one would rank that among the top PS2 games. So far, Killzone 2 looks like another me-too entry in the overcrowded shooter genre. It does exactly what all 3D shooters are doing today: amazing graphics and technology, lots of shooting, an elaborate cover system, a variety of internet multiplayer modes, etc.


The game does look good, in an amazing-graphics, big-budget, big-event sort of way, and I suspect I’ll buy it, but this is relatively low on my overall anticipation list. In the shooter genre, Resistance 2 seems like it has much better ideas for delivering something new and fun. Specifically, the party-style grouping dynamics sound like a genuine evolution to the genre.

The Killzone teaser video at the 2005 E3 generated tons of controversy. But the controversy and attention seemed to be centered around platform wars politics rather than actual interest in the game.

So, is there something that I’m missing? Will this title really do something beyond just being a bigger, better, flashier version of the swarm of shooters that we have today? Does this title really deserve a reputation as a flagship franchise?

  • Well, I personally absolutely loved the original Killzone on PS2. Whether or not it was the ‘Halo killer’ that it was originally billed as really depends on personal opinion, but I actually preferred it to both Halo 1 and 2. It looked great, played very well, and the sound was awesome. I found it to be very immersive and atmospheric, and loved every minute of it.

    I had a PS2 from launch until a few weeks after PS3 launched, and of all the games I owned for it, Killzone was second only to Resident Evil 4 on my list of all-time PS2 favourites.

    Killzone Liberation on PSP, while presenting a very different gaming style, was equally as impressive. For me, it’s still one of the best games on Sony’s portable system.

    All of which is why Killzone 2 has been top of my most-wanted list since it was announced. Sony took stick for the pre-rendered video shown when it first broke cover, but a lot of people have had to eat a lot of negative words, because – like Motorstorm – it actually DOES look like the video.

    The gameplay trailer shown today is awesome. If you haven’t already, I STRONGLY recommend that you download one of the hi-def versions, and don’t waste your time with the low-quality streaming rubbish.

    Does it do anything original? Maybe, maybe not – we’ll have to see how the much-reported cover system works. But really, who cares? The scope for being truly original in any FPS game is extremely limited. All people really care about with an FPS are how good it looks, how well it plays and (to a lesser extent) how good the story is. Nail those aspects, and you will almost certainly have a winner.

    Given those targets, I’d say KZ2 is off to a very good start. Even at this early pre-alpha stage, it’s looking better than practically any other game in the genre. It also looks to be frantic and great fun to play, so that’s potentially 2 out of 3 factors accounted for. And as for the story – well, both the original Killzone and PSP’s Liberation had a fantastic back-story, and there’s no reason to suspect that KZ2 will be any different. So in my book, it’s a winner.

    Resistance 2 may offer more in the online area, but a game doesn’t need a great online side – or in fact ANY online modes – to be worth getting. Yes, Resistance 2 is offering a lot, but what it is offering won’t be original by the time it is released. The dire (in my opinion) Army of Two and the Rainbow 6 titles have already offered co-op gameplay, and Haze will beat it to the punch with the online campaign side of things.

    I’m looking forward to both Killzone 2 and Resistance 2, but if there was a law saying that I could only buy one of them, even at this early stage I can tell you without hesitation that it would be Killzone 2.

    Hell, that’s a long reply! Bet you weren’t expecting that… I know I wasn’t when I started typing! ;-p

  • Jast3r Rogu3

    Long bibble reply lol.

    anyways more anti-Sony fud from ps3blog.

    i will take that pix though thanks.

  • Bigg Rob

    COD4 didn’t really do anything new for the genre either… it just did everything extremely well. To that extent, I think that Killzone 2 will impress in the same way. Due to the cutting edge graphics, attention to detail, and scale of battle, the single player looks to be more immersive than anything else I’ve played to date. I’m sure there are some surprises yet to come forward as well… even as it stands now, Killzone 2 is definitely a must play title.

  • JH

    Obviously it has amazing visuals so uh its going to be hyped. Nothing wrong with imrpoving upon what others did and making a pretty game. As for the general opinion regarding the visuals, its the best to date. That should warrant some sort of praise at least.

  • cell

    Killzone 2 will smash every lame skeptic out there to oblivion. It sports impressive visuals, sweet effects, gorgeous animations, meticulous detail, bad ass sound, and more muzzle flashing extravaganza then your precious “10” rated Halo 3. To say that Killzone will be a big tank, is nothing short off fanboy s***. It might not be a perfect game, because honestly there will never be a perfect game, but the fact that it plays as good as Ive seen, with all that visual splendor going on at the same time, and to think its only in PRE-ALPHA, then rest assure this game is going to set new standards,if not at least on visuals.

  • anon

    i like titties…

  • Killzone Liberation on the PSP is an awesome game. I hope they do as well with Killzone 2.

    And I think that CoD4 did break ground. The leveling up and perks system was awesome and hadn’t been done that well before.

  • Darrin

    Great comment Paranoimia.

    I loved Resistance 1 single-player, and that was just really well done, it didn’t do anything fundamentally new either. Maybe KZ2 will be the same. I am looking forward to it, I think the graphics are awesome.

    The perk + leveling system in COD4 isn’t original at all. It’s also a fairly obvious idea. Planetside was an online FPS with a involved class/leveling system (by Sony Online Entertainment)

  • Kris

    The biggest thing for me is where GG has come from.

    The first Killzone was a technical disaster, at least from a critical stand points. A lot of the technology they built for the game sometimes didn’t play out properly, and it showed. However, the game did have a very artistic atmosphere and their concepts in regards to first-person immersion are certainly awesome, with the animations and subtle tricks of the camera really pulling off the feel of being an ISA soldier. But then comes the shoddy AI, the touchy physics, and the broken level of detail that all bogged the game down. The universe they created was enthralling, but the gameplay failed to live up to that potential. Throw in stuttering frame rates and you have a mediocre experience at best.

    Next comes Killzone: Liberation. This game was by and far better than the first Killzone in many aspects. It didn’t maintain a first person perspective, but it did push the rich story forward and make some extremely well thought out decisions in regards to cooperative and squad based tactics. Unlike the first Killzone, this one wasn’t plagued with many technical faults, with the action being fast and furious.

    But for me, it wasn’t until I downloaded the new additional content that I began to understand just how far GG has come since the first Killzone. See the moment I jumped into the first level of the additional campaign, I was sucked into amazingly varied and detailed environments, and some really hectic battles. At many points I could finally see just exactly what Killzone should be about, as I was consistently stuck in situations with enemies coming from all angles, and it took some quick thinking and sweet shooting to survive. This was, by far, way more entertaining than I remembered even the original Liberation campaign missions to be.

    And so, with the release of Killzone 2 less than a year away, I have every faith that GG will be capable of providing a fun, rich and enthralling experience.

    The only thing they could use some work on is the laughable chatter from the ISA troops. Profanity is all nice in war, but we really don’t need to lay it down so strong.

  • JeffJudgesGeorge

    I totally agree with you there Kris. The jump from the first Killzone to the PSP games was a big leap in GG’s history, and playing each game in succession definitely shows that they’ve got the pedigree to learn and adapt.

    Now with Killzone 2 coming out in February, and Resistance 2 in fall, I don’t see how any PS3 lover can’t be psyched.

    Not to mention LittleBigPlanet will keep many of us busy come this autumn 😉

  • John

    Well, it’s Yet-Another-Shooter.
    Shooters were fun and novelty in the days of Doom, Quake and UT, columinating with Far Cry IMHO, but from now on every shooters looks and feels as boring as the previous one to me.
    I guess that’s from trying the Haze demo, graphically well done, well scripted, enemies much smarter than those in the above games ever were, but still… the demo level was as long as I can stomach a shooter those days. Dark Sector demo, I uninstalled 2 minutes in the game probably (graphics too ugly to bother).
    KZ2 replay videos evoke the very same feeling of boredom “been there done that” as Haze’s… very pretty, very well done, but nothing new under the sun *sigh*

  • The Claw

    Astounding camel toe… but uh, the only reason Killzone 2 is regarded on such a high level is because it is supposed to be the game that proves, once and for all, that the PS3 has the power to run games that look like target renders. Since Killzone 2 seems to be achieving that goal I’d say that it’s reputation (graphically-speaking) is deserved.

    The reputation Killzone 2 has doesn’t really have anything to do with gameplay or previous games in the series, though. It’s basically a reputation based solely on graphical hype so don’t go off getting all confussled about “gameplay this” and “series that”.

  • GraphIQ

    sweet latex suit`n boobs! 😀

  • @ Henning – CoD4’s perk system was good, but not original – though granted it’s something that hasn’t appeared that much in FPS games.

    Personally, the first FPS game I recall playing with a similar kind of system was Deus Ex on the PC – and that was way back in 2000.

  • I’d never played a game that used the perk/leveling up system so well. I don’t care if it’s new or original, I just know that this is the first time I’ve seen and enjoyed it in a FPS.

  • Trieloth

    R2 = something new?…in the voice of scooby doo “ArruuuhhH?”

    sigh- come on People

  • Darrin

    Trieloth, definitely! The multiplayer concepts in R2 actually do sound new. Of course, often what sounds great on paper often doesn’t survive the journey into a finished product. And maybe Killzone does have something really unique (I hope so). We shall see!

  • Meresin

    I don’t think this game’s so much a flagship product as it is the game that everyone is looking at to see what the PS3 can do graphically. If it comes out and impresses, expect a lot of PS3s to sell in 2009. Given the gameplay videos we’ve seen recently, I have little doubt that it will succeed…The game looks even better now than it did at E3 ’07, and I was impressed by it back then.

  • Pc

    Killzone was supposed to be the Halo killer, but the PS2 just didn’t have the horsepower to do it. This time around, they have more than enough resources to pull it off. So that is why this title has this reputation, it was dubbed the “HALO KILLER”, and most likely will be this time around.

  • Sporty

    Killzone was as N’Gia said, one of the best Mediocre games of last gen.

    The game itself wasn’t bad, it had a lot of promise, just seemed to have been too ambitious and not enough polish/refinement. Control problems, framerate and AI were what sank it. Sound and presentation is where is did exceed though.

    Liberation was head and shoulders above the first game.

    Killzone 2’s hype mainly comes from the E3 CGI trailer. That trailer more then anything became the warcry for anti-PS3 fanboys. The fact that Guerrilla Games was able to get this close to the trailer is impressive in itself. It obviously corrects the major flaw in the first game, don’t know about controls and AI yet.

    Unlike any other game in development KZ2 will be under a major microscope so most previews will be from the point of nit-picking it’s flaws as opposed to being impressed with it’s achievements.

  • Mike

    Killzone struck me as a good game that came out out eight months too early. The weapons, enemies, and environments were great but it was one of the most bug ridden games I ever played on PS2. The frame rate was consistently bad, there were a lot of rag dolling glitches with body parts getting stuck to walls, and a lot of the NPC dialog sounded like it was recorded in a phone booth. I don’t understand why it was released in that state, PS2 had a ton a great games coming out in fall 2004.

    Maybe they didn’t have enough time, or maybe their ambitions outstripped what the previous generation of console hardware was capable of, but the game did not live up to its potential.

    As far as Killzone 2 deserving the hype – it’s hard to say. Did Guerilla really want to be under the microscope over the past three years? I doubt it. Like you said, a lot of has to do with system wars politics. People were looking for every reason to bash Sony after the $599 price was announced and this game was a prime target. Time passes, and the real-time footage looks remarkably close to the target footage. As of now it looks like the most graphically impressive console shooter, but how much that matters is a question mark. By Feb. 2009 there will have been countless FPS released for Xbox 360, and anyone that is a fan of the genre would have bought one. In that regard, it almost seems silly to expend resources competing with that, just like how it never made sense for Microsoft to try to establish mascot platformers on Xbox.

    That said, there are less deserving games that get hype every year, largely in part to exclusive cover stories. Why was prototype on the cover of Game Informer? It is no longer coming out this year either, and there is no previous game bearing that name to gauge it by. You could rattle off the names of a bunch of other games as well. Magazines need something to hype up when they don’t get GTA or Metal Gear cover stories.

    All that said – Resistance 2 looks like it deserves the hype. Proven track record from the developer and far more ambitions online modes, plus the entirely separate campaign mode. That won’t get as much attention though, because there is a lot less for the media to criticize.

  • Mike

    “R2 = something new?…in the voice of scooby doo “ArruuuhhH?”

    sigh- come on People”

    Class based co-op exists in how many console shooters? They’re definitely trying new things. The only question is how well they work. The co-op could be a mess if people ignore what role they are supposed to play, and the same could happen for the 60 player online games. And there is one thing they can never account for – idiots. People who deliberately do stupid things can easily ruin it for everybody.

  • “People who deliberately do stupid things can easily ruin it for everybody.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Anyone who’s played something relatively simple like GT5 Prologue online can testify to that.

  • Most of my friends and I love to watch movies.

    But since we are always busy and cannot make time for the cinema theaters, we decided we are going to download The Informers the movie online now.