I have decided to have a little structure to my backlog from now on. Rather than simply fecklessly pick a title to finish on a whim, I will now play by platform. Seeing as the PS3 hasn't been seeing the largest amount of love, most commonly being forgotten in the wake of a round of something shooty on the PC, I will now focus on some PS3 exclusives. Killzone 2, Killzone 3, Resistance 2, Resistance 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4 will all see some love in the coming weeks, as well as LA Noire, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD and Skate. Two of these titles can now be struck off.
First up is Killzone 2
. This was a game I looked at with some envy before I took the plunge and bought my PS3. It rivalled PC graphics, was darker in tone than any Xbox exclusive I'd care to name, and looked like it nailed the "doomed squadron of soldiers" vibe better than Gears of War. The first two points proved bang on the money, but the squadron of soldiers were never really that likeable.
Now I've never played Killzone 1. Maybe I needed to to care whether Templar died or not, or to give a smoking shit whether Rico survived the campaign. But Templar was your basic Captain Keyes-esque voice in the sky, doomed to die. Never reeally cared. Evelyn/Cortana was disposable too, and the only thing that surprised me about her bucket kicking was that it didn't happen sooner. As for Rico, fuck Rico. Most dislikeable NPS in any FPS. Ever. Gets that hat guy killed, swears a lot, and never really seems that suitable for a role in an important military conquest. Complains, shouts and swears. I wanted to shoot him. Also, by the end of the campaign, he's fucked everyone (not literally). Complete prick!
Sev served as half-silent protaganist in this installment, never really adding a full two cents. The only member of Alpha squad I ended up taking a shine to was the bandana guy, whom I can't remember the name of, so I'll call him Marcus. But my point is, Marcus alone could not save the good side from the bland dislikeability of the likes of Rico the fucking idiot, Cortana, Captain Keyes, dead guy and Sev. Unlike Delta squad of Gears of War, I never felt like part of a unit I wanted to carry to victory; more like a member of a band of twats who you're only on the side of because the other guys look like British cyber-Nazi's.
The best characters in this series are the villains, which I'll go into more later, as Killzone 3 exemplified this even better. Radec was a rather good villain who simply did not get enough screen time, and I did enjoy the taunting of the Helghast troops. They were a fun enemy to shoot, and the subtle variation of units made target identification quite interesting. Levels on Helghan were quite good looking three levels in, and weapons were very satisfying, especially that electric gun you steal off the big fucker in the factory.
It's well paced, good looking, and handles well (although not for me, as I have the general disposition of being a keyboard and mouse kinda guy) and aside from some severe character issues, this was a really good campaign. 8
I ought to mention that this was not my first Killzone game. I finished Killzone 3
a few days before, clearly because the game left a mark and made me want to play more.
Comparing the two, I believe Killzone 3 did the better job of handling characters. Sev was actually a sensible voice of reason, and a cunning Sergeant-type-guy who in the face of complete destruction, was unwilling to simply give up. He played a good middle ground to the other two prats he brought with him.
Narville gets a more prominant role in this installment, after only briefly appearing from time to time in Killzone 2, and after failing to extract his men from Helghan, has noticeably changed his attitude towards preserving the lives of his men. This acts as a barrier for Sev and Pricko, who aim to stop the Helghan destruction of Earth at any cost. Voiced by James Ramar (Harry Morgan in Dexter) he is actually a good character to be included, even if you're not exactly agreeing with him, and by the end of the campaign, he comes through.
Rico/Pricko is still a prick, but such a prick acts as a foil to Narville, with the two arguing constantly which culminates in fisticuffs towards the end. He serves more of a purpose in this game as a driving force against the Helghan. I didn't mind him as much in this game, and was honestly shocked at how bad a character he was when I worked my way through the games prequel. So all in all, the good side is more fleshed out and likeable, even if it is really only Sev who you find yourself agreeing with constantly.
However, this game really belongs to the Helghan. Stahl is a brilliant villain, possibly one of the best I've come across in a game recently. His complete disregard for the safety of his men ("Fuck 'em"), his scheming to gain control of the Helghan government and to undermime fat Russian-esque beard guy, and his voice! Great bit of voice acting from Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, and many, many others). Complete prick, in a good way!
So, plot is better, characters are better. Graphics are better and now support 3D (which does look pretty nice), Move controls supported (which I personally didn't get on with very well) It's well paced, there is more variation (spaceship battles, more Walker sections, tanks and that battle against Metal Gear Rex on steroids) Much much much better game, and I was honestly suprised how much I enjoyed it. 9
Next time, probably Resistance 2 & 3 (Resistance 1 looks unplayable these days, but maybe that too)