Behind every great shooter is great multiplayer, and Killzone 2, Sony's upcoming PS3-exclusive FPS, is no different. Here, in our Killzone 2 - What is Warzone? feature, we dish the dirt on the game's multiplayer classes and modes. For those of you who were lucky enough to have been a part of the multiplayer beta, much of this will be old news. But for the rest of you, read on for essential info that'll ensure you're not left in the dark when the game launches next month.
What is Warzone?
Warzone is the name for Killzone 2's online multiplayer, and has its own special place in the game's main menu. In it, up to 32 players battle it out in five dynamically switching ISA versus Helghast mission-based games. Body Count charges your team, either the ISA or Helghast, with killing as many enemies as possible within the mission time limit. Assassination picks a member of the enemy team and asks you to, well, assassinate him. Search and Retrieve sees both factions fight over objectives which they have to return to their base camp, Capture and Hold is your basic King of the Hill-fest and Search and Destroy has one faction destroying an objective on the map while the other defends it.
In Warzone the missions rotate every five minutes (you can tweak the time limit when designing your own missions to incorporate into your custom Warzone match), or when they're failed or completed by either the ISA or the Helghast. The game might, for example, start with defending someone on your team in Assassination, then, five minutes later, switch to the Search and Retrieve mission, then Search and Destroy, which might lead on to Assassination again, except this time the opposing team is the one on guard duty, followed by a quick Body Count mission, then a Capture and Hold mission, and finally Search and Destroy. All this is linked together by the screaming military voice of an ISA commander, or the creepy, almost undead tones of a Helghast.
At the end of a Warzone match, which can last up to half an hour, whichever faction has won the most missions wins the round, and experience points are dished out according to your personal performance and team performance. That's right shooter fans, we said experience points. Killzone 2's got an in-depth progression system as well as seven playable classes to sink your teeth into. Think Team Fortress 2 spliced with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and you're halfway there. It's all a bit confusing. Luckily we've got you covered. Read on.
The Badge System
In Killzone 2, abilities are represented by badges, which are exactly the same across the ISA and Helghast factions. The primary badge defines your main role, as well as your appearance. The secondary badge gives you complimentary abilities from another class that help you add variety to your play style. Here are details of the primary and secondary badge ability for each class:
This default multiplayer class is assigned when no primary badge is selected. A secondary badge may still be added. Riflemen can start with most weapons, except for the specialized ones.
The Engineer's primary badge ability allows him to set up an automated turret which targets the enemy. The secondary badge ability lets you repair ammunition dispensers, mounted guns and automated turrets.
You'll be able to revive downed team mates if you've got the Medic primary badge ability. Its secondary ability lets you throw a health pack which can be picked up by other players.
The Scout's primary badge ability lets you become near-invisible with a cloaking suit. The secondary badge ability tags all on-screen enemy players with a hidden marker, which broadcasts their coordinates to your team mates.
Fancy heavy armour twice as strong as normal? Then the Assault class' primary badge ability will be right up your street. The secondary badge ability grants a temporary boost to running speed.
Tacticians can throw a coloured smoke grenade, which serves as a spawn point, with their primary badge ability. With the second, you can request air support from a sentry bot which targets the enemy.
Saboteurs can disguise themselves as a randomly selected enemy player with the primary badge ability, and throw sticky, proximity-activated C-4 charges with the secondary badge ability.
Earn your ribbons soldier!
You begin your Killzone 2 online experience as a lowly private and with only one class available to you, the Rifleman. To make matters worse, you'll only have two primary weapons to pick from, too - the M82 Assault Rifle and the STA52 Assault Rifle. You'll need 30 points to reach your first increase in rank - to Corporal. Once done, you'll be able to create squads, which sorts players into groups of five. From there you'll be aiming at levelling up to Sergeant (100 points), which grants you the ability to create a clan, Sergeant 1st Class (200 points), which unlocks the SMG and shotgun for the standard soldier, and the Master Sergeant (350 points), which grants you your first badge - the Medic. Your ultimate goal is to achieve the General rank, which requires an eye-watering 2800 points. Your reward? You'll unlock the brilliant Scout badge and its associated special abilities, as well as the sniper rifle.
Supplementing the ranking system is Killzone 2's ribbon system, which grants more special abilities in exchange for performing specific feats in-game. The Natural Born Killer perk, for example, increases your grenade amount. To get it, though, you'll have to earn eight Killing Specialist ribbons, each of which require 10 kills. That's a total of 80 kills required. Keeping up?
Here's another example. To get the Trauma Surgeon ribbon, which grants the Health Pack ability, you need to earn eight Revival Specialist ribbons. To get one of those, you need to revive five players. One more. The Defence Initiative perk increases the points you earn per defensive kill. To get it you'll need to earn eight Capture and Hold ribbons. Each ribbon requires you to make 10 kills while defending an area.
There are absolutely loads of these perks to earn, and they're all tied in with your current class. As a Private, for example, there are two general perks, four combat specific perks, 11 general perks and six mission specific perks to collect. You'll only be able to earn certain perks once you've ranked up to the appropriate level. Brain melting yet?
Within the main Warzone menu are five options: Play, Communication, Clan, Statistics and Options. Play allows you to join and create games. Communication allows you to see who's online and read your game messages. Clan lets you create and manage your own clan, view clan ranking and event information through the Universe option, manage your clan schedule and check your clan's overall ranking. Statistics, as you'd imagine, lets you view your unlockables, rankings and personal stats. Killzone 2 tracks an incredible number of statistics relating specifically to your online performance. Everything from individual weapon accuracy to the number of times you've detonated C4 is included. And, finally, the Options menu lets you change the region you're playing in and time zone settings. Phew.
Desperate for more info on Killzone 2? Check out episode 1 of the VideoGamer.com Podcast for impressions from the review build, our Weapons of Killzone 2 feature, which includes HD clips of the game's tools of destruction, and Understanding The Helghast, where we take a closer look at what makes Killzone 2's bad guys tick!