Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review #108: Killzone - Liberation

 The other "We got hacked" freebie.
 Making a FPS for the PSP should be nigh impossible, unless they go with the classic Doom route, but I digress. Guerilla brought Killzone to the PSP, but it is no longer an FPS, rather, an isometric shooter. I had never played a Killzone game before, nor am I interested in the franchise, but it was a freebie so I can't complain!

 The game puts you in the shoes of Templar, a guy fighting for the... good guys against the Helghast, a group of guys with luminous red eyes. And it's your mission to... bring them down? Yes, there is a story to the game, and it is told via text before each mission, and on cut-scenes every now and then. What's the problem? The text summaries take to long to pan out, I was willing to give the story a chance, but these "scenes" took too long to go from page to page, so I just gave up on it. It's not an interesting story, to a newcomer, anyways.
 The game consists of four chapters with four missions each. The first thing you need to learn, is that this is a very slow-paced game, while the isometric look could lead you to believe that this is an arcadey, fast run-and-gun game, you'd be wrong. Templar's running speed is pretty slow, and enemies can be deadly even when few in numbers, so you need to learn to take cover. You take cover by holding the R button, which makes Templar crouch, and you need to make use of your surroundings as cover, enemies will do so as well. And this is when you realize that this is a very slow paced game, as you'll be popping in and out of cover to shoot your enemies. Melee is somewhat of a gamble, as you have to press X when the prompt appears, but enemies sometimes get to hit you before your attack goes off, or sometimes Templar just won't react in time. Melee is unreliable, so you'd better just stick to your guns. Not that it's much fun either, the PSP only has one analog stick, so Aiming is relative to where you are looking at. While you do get a form of "soft-lock" on enemies close to where Templar is looking at, it's kinda unreliable, and guns don't have much accuracy... it's not much fun. You can hold L to "Strafe", but sometimes Templar will just break out of the strafe for no reason, or if you press L twice fast enough you perform a roll, sometimes, when trying to get the strafe right, you might accidentally roll into an enemy! The awkward controls coupled with the poor accuracy of the weapons make for a less than fun experience, as shootouts against one or two enemies can over extend their welcome, and many times deaths feel as if they were caused due to the controls and not your mistakes.

 Every now and then the game will give you a CPU ally, they are pretty self sufficient, and you can order them around with the directional D-Pad. Besides shooting bad guys, placing C4 or disabling mines, you'll also come across cases. These cases are worth "money", which further unlock weapons for you to start each level with or unlock upgraded versions. Speaking of weapons, Templar can only carry one weapon at a time, if you run out of ammo, you are outta luck. Levels have plenty of "stashes" placed throughout, where you can get more ammo, different weapons, health packs or grenades, so it's hard to run out of weapons. Lastly, clearing each chapter unlocks a small collection of Challenge levels, they come in a small variety of placing C4 in certain places, shooting targets or even surviving an endless slew of enemies for as long as you can, the latter being easily the most fun of the lot, while the others are passable. Scoring on these challenges unlocks "perks" for you to equip before each mission, these are small buff like carrying 3 or 5 grenades instead of two, or placing C4 faster, earning Gold on all challenges gives you infinite ammo! Each of the 16 missions lasts 10-30 minutes, but the challenges and finding all collectibles do offer a decent replay value.
 Graphics are... serviceable. They are nothing special, and the game is filled with greys and browns, definitely not a looker. Even worse, slowdown is a bit of a common occurrence, and can ruin your shooting, even if the slowdown, usually, doesn't last too long. Music is almost non-existent, and what little music there is, is very forgettable. Voice acting is alright, not that the dialogue  is anything special.

 Finally, the game does offer local Co-Op and Multiplayer... which I couldn't try since I don't know anyone else that has this game. It does seem like it could be interesting, though. Then there's also a downloadable fifth chapter, but since it's not on PSN and went down, you have to download it elsewhere and get it to you PSP via USB cable, which I don't own yet, so I couldn't try it either.

 Killzone: Liberation is a game I didn't enjoy. According to the Internet, it's a good game, so I might be on the minority here, but I just couldn't get over how slow-paced it is, and how awkward the controls were.
 4.5 out of 10.

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