Killzone 2 is the best-looking game on the PS3
Killzone 2 is the best-looking game on the PS3

Killzone 2 is the best-looking game on the PS3

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Sony's 32-player FPS Killzone 2 is the best-looking game on the PS3. And that's going by a multiplayer beta of a game that's not even finished. The graphics are, in places, almost too good to be true. Salamun Market, a large, war-torn above ground area that is one of three playable maps in the beta, grabbed my jaw, slammed it onto the floor and gun bucked it into oblivion. Your average Killzone 2 multiplayer match is a frenetic, intense experience, but as you make your way towards the chaos from your spawn point, you'll be compelled to stop, pan the camera around and gawp. The skyline in Salamun Market, blood red with distant explosions, frightening clouds and billowing smoke, is a wonder to behold. In Radec Academy the indoor structures, overturned vehicles and the textures of mere handrails and steps are all hugely impressive. We'll be honest, many developers have struggled so far to make the most of the PS3's undoubted graphical potential. Sony-owned Guerilla games is not one of them.

Yes, there's a hell of a lot of motion blur, yes, it's very, very, very grey, and no, it doesn't look as good as that movie from E3 2005, but it fits in the context of what Killzone 2 is - a gritty, science fiction shooter that makes no apology for the fact that its game world is depressing, war-torn and bleak. If LittleBigPlanet is the PS3's super cute poodle, then Killzone 2 is its savage Rottweiler.

Of course, graphics alone do not make a great competitive multiplayer shooter, so it's great to find that the gameplay is both fresh and familiar fun. Imagine the kind of game Team Fortress 2 would give birth to if it had an illicit love affair with Call of Duty 4 - that's the kind of experience Killzone 2 provides. There's a heavy emphasis on classes, some of which seem to have been directly inspired by Valve's stylised shooter, and a heavy emphasis on levelling up, now a required feature in the post CoD4 FPS world, with L1 iron sight aiming and R1 shooting.

There are seven available classes, each with their own roles and abilities. The Rifleman is the default troop type. The Scout can disappear Predator style with the camo suit. The Engineer can build automated turrets (incredibly annoying!), the Medic can revive dying allies (when you're downed you writhe around in agony for ten seconds before you respawn, each second providing a sickening rumble on the DualShock 3), the Assault Trooper is a heavy weapons specialist, the Tactician can lay down smoke grenades that act as spawn points (a tactic that is already proving incredibly useful) and the Saboteur can disguise himself as an enemy player. Ring any bells Valve fans?

Imagine the love child of Team Fortress 2 and CoD4

Imagine the love child of Team Fortress 2 and CoD4

The CoD4 feeling is less pronounced, but it's still there. Killzone 2 plays slower than CoD4, and the pace of an average match can sometimes feel more like a war of attrition than a frag-fest, but already the tactics players are using seem airlifted straight out of Modern Combat. It doesn't take many hits to kill, and it doesn't take many hits to be killed. There's no Halo 3-style shield system, so you have to think carefully about where you're going and where enemies might be. There's a lot of zooming in and inching your sight into gaps in the environment from which you'll be able to take pot shots from relative safety, which doesn't provide the immediacy of a run and gun shooter, but will appeal to your average CoD player.

The levelling up system, however, is where the CoD influence is felt the most. At the end of each match you'll get a certain amount of experience points that feed into your overall rank. As you increase in rank you'll unlock different abilities. At Corporal you can create and join a squad, at sergeant you can create a new clan, at sergeant first class you unlock the SMG and Shotgun for the default soldier class and, further down the line, you'll unlock badges which open up the other classes. Badges can be mixed and matched, allowing you to incorporate abilities from two classes into your own, hybrid class, which we reckon is a cool touch and should help prevent a scarcity of healers most class-based FPS games suffer from.

Where Killzone 2 excels is in making your average match a varied and intense experience. The Warzone match type, which is the one currently provided by the beta, includes five different missions that rotate every five minutes, or when they're failed or completed by either the ISA or the Helghast. The Warzone game type on the Radec Academy map, a medium sized indoor level great for close quarters fighting, for example, might have you at the start protecting a randomly selected member of your team in the Assassination mission, then, five minutes later, it might switch to the Search and Retrieve mission, which charges both teams with picking up and holding on to a propaganda machine. Then it might be Search and Destroy, which charges you with disarming a number of explosives before the five minute time limit is up, 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, which is essentially a race to the highest number of kills, then a Capture and Hold mission, which is pretty much King of the Hill, and finally Search and Destroy again, except this time you need to place the charges and defend them. All this is linked together by the screaming military voice of an ISA commander, or the creepy, almost undead tones of a Helghast.

The multiplayer beta suggests Killzone 2 could be the best FPS on the PS3 when it's released next year

The multiplayer beta suggests Killzone 2 could be the best FPS on the PS3 when it's released next year

At the end of a Warzone match, which can last over 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. It's actually brilliant fun, although at times it can feel like a slog. Luckily there are other game types, including Mini Frag (max eight players), and single mission game types which go by a lot quicker, if you don't fancy a hardcore session.

Killzone 2 has the potential to be the best PS3 exclusive online shooter experience around when it's released next February. It's definitely miles better than Haze, but even more impressive is that the beta has even been keeping us from playing Resistance 2's multiplayer. Will it be a better competitive shooter than Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat and Call of Duty: World at War? Only time will tell. So far, though, so very good.

Killzone 2 is set for release exclusively on PS3 in February 2009.

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Anonymous

^^ WTF ??

It looks waaay better than Whores of war
Posted 12:42 on 25 November 2008
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spurssimon

dont wet yourself looks no better than gears of war
Posted 02:43 on 19 November 2008
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JediKnight

This will certainly be the best looking game on the PS3 - however, with the 1080p, this should be the best looking game on any console upon release - we shall see.
Posted 23:40 on 14 November 2008
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MeAgain

Why so hesitant to mention that this might just be the best looking console game to date? And this is only the multiplayer portion of it.

ps. get off of the grey comment already..it's played out and pretty false if you ask me. This is coming from someone who is actually in the beta.
Posted 00:08 on 14 November 2008
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JB19857

Best looking game on any console. Looks like something you'd see on PC.
Posted 20:59 on 13 November 2008
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klubjunkee

I was just telling some friends the same thing. Killzone 2 Beta looks and plays amazing and it has also kept me from playing R2. I love Warzone's multiple objectives/game types. You never know what's next till the commander radio's in and it keeps you in the action while giving you varied gameplay so you don't have to go back to the lobby to switch it up. Wartorn battlefields never looked so good. If the graphics are toned down a notch to keep the framerate and support 32 players in multiplayer, then I can't wait to see the game in campaign mode. It's gonna be unreal.
Posted 19:22 on 13 November 2008
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Ginger_Jesus

Sounds bloody great, did have Killzone 1 on the PS2 days and it was a good game but it did have its problems.

Likewise with FantasyMeister shall be looking out for the second hands on.
Posted 19:17 on 13 November 2008
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Anonymous

Killzone2 is shaping to be a true HALo and CoD4 slayer , what remains to be seen is if its Campaign is something to be remembered , bcoz at the end of the day that is the main element of a game
Posted 18:51 on 13 November 2008
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John

Hey Wesley Yin-Poole - Correction. Killzone2 is not only the best looking game on the PS3 but the BEST looking game EVER on any console!! There is no game on the 3fixme, Wii or PS3 that looks as good as the killzone beta. The graphics in this game are outstanding, and killzone has more than just potential to be the best FPS on the PS3 it has the potential to be the BEST pure FPS we have seen on ANY console EVER, taking everything into account!! Nothing comes close man, I challenege u to come out with a better one. If u mention Halo, there is no point in u even talking about FPS. Wether this game is a success or not, no one gives a sh*t, all we care about is that it is good! If you've got the beta, you already know the answer to this!
Posted 17:11 on 13 November 2008
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FantasyMeister

If the final reviews are as glowing as this preview then I think it's fair to say 'COD-beater', for now at least. I'm hesitant though, half the stuff in the early previews of the original Killzone never made it into the final version (like the awesome firing range).

I'd be interested to hear more about any clan support functions included in Killzone 2 as that was one of the sorely lacking areas in the original, and also if there's any news about being able to play with bots online, as they were one of the standout features in the original's beta, the A.I. was way ahead of its time back then. And whether the weapons have the same menacing 'feel' about them. And a bunch of other things... guess I'll wait until the next hands-on :)

Overall I'd be delighted to see Guerilla turn this into a success.
Posted 16:37 on 13 November 2008

Game Stats

Release Date: 27/02/2009
Developer: Guerrilla
Publisher: Sony
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-32
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,236 37
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