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Expectations for Killzone continue to balloon to astronomical levels--if you listen to the hype, this game's already obliterated Halo for the best-shooter-ever crown. Can it possibly live up to its buzz? Maybe. Developer Guerrilla promises a dazzling single-player adventure with four selectable characters (each with different weapons and abilities), a bevy of teammates to fight alongside (and protect--if they die, your missions will be much, much harder), and spectacular CG cut-scenes to advance the plot between levels. All that might be enough to snatch the PS2 shooter throne, but Killzone ups the ante with full online multiplayer support (with real-time voice chat) for up to 12 players over broadband.
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For as big as the PlayStation 2 library is, it's surprising to realize that it really doesn't have a console defining first-person shooter. There are some solid ports out there, yes, but nothing that's exclusive to the system. Killzone, dubbed by many as the 'Halo killer'? for the PlayStation 2, was supposed to fill in that gap ' but unfortunately, the blind hype surrounding Killzone more than likely killed it.
Killzone does a lot of things right, but strangely enough, a lot of the game's polish lies in the smaller details. Killzone, for example, utilizes the first-person perspective unlike any other FPS out there. Small touches like the realistic motion that goes into reloading a gun, while sometimes a bit disorienting, does a lot to immerse you into the game's gritty atmosphere. Presentation-wise, Killzone is also top notch, creating a believable dystopian future set in a familiar sci-fi setting. The story isn't too impressive, but it's the fantastically built atmosphere that will draw you in to keep playing.
Going hand-in-hand with the atmosphere is the epic music score that, in many ways, rivals some of the premier first-person shooters out there. Likewise, the visuals rival some of the best stuff out there in terms of art design, and some of the environments are a surprising sight to see on the aging PlayStation 2.
Online, Killzone is solid stuff and is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game. The map design and slow paced combat lends itself well here, and although it won't floor any deathmatch veterans, Killzone is one of the better online first-person shooters for the PlayStation 2 (if not the best).
Unfortunately, Killzone does a lot of things wrong, too. Combat, simply put, just doesn't feel right. The pacing feels too sluggish, and as a result, is largely unexciting. It might have all worked out had the AI been intelligent, but enemies and allies alike are brain-dead beings that pull off some absurd actions at the worst times. Likewise, the level design is far too linear and allows for little creative innovation on the player's part. Linear levels aren't bad in itself, but they really lend themselves to fast-paced action ' that is, the complete opposite of the brand of action Killzone offers up. And unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, Killzone does look nice, but it's hampered by an extremely unstable framerate that can, at rare instances, make things almost unplayable.
It's a bit of a shame that Killzone was ever touted as the 'Halo killer'? for the PlayStation 2. Granted, the two titles share some definite parallels, but it would be hard for any game to knock off Halo's crown, regardless of how good it is. As a result of that hype, Killzone had some ridiculously high standards to reach, and it failed to reach any of them. However, that doesn't mean Killzone isn't an enjoyable FPS. It could've been much, much more, but what's here is a decent FPS that's worth a rent, or even a buy if you plan to take it online.