Previews// Killzone 2

Just ask Peter Molyneux

Posted 15 Dec 2008 18:04 by
When someone shouts about a game being a "Halo killer", the aftershock is predictable, no matter what the source. Just feed it to the forums and let it ferment. No external intervention required - they'll just cook up a vision of the future from a few pictures and two words.

That's exactly what happened in 2003 when one trigger-happy journo, possibly trying to lend some worth to his exclusive status, splattered the words over his Killzone preview. Picture a growing bubble filled mostly with fermentation gases.

Come the game's release in 2004, after months of bubbling and fizzing, what we got was visually impressive and accomplished in the gameplay department. Heck, it even had PS2 online multiplayer, even if Sony was waiting for PS3 before providing a proper online framework. However, there was no way any game could live up to that level of artificially inflated expectation. The damage had been done when the game was far from release, and few gamers rated the game on its merit due to the overpowering fart stink as the bubble burst. Just ask Peter Molyneux how that works.

Zip forward to E3 2005, when Sony showcased a trailer for Killzone 2. The visuals were nothing short of eye-wateringly good. Depicting an airborne landing craft carrying the player and his squad to a landing zone within a Helghast city, other craft are shot from the sky, lots of stuff explodes and finally the squad touch down and commence brutally explicit battle with Helghan soldiers. First thought to float through my head? F*** me!

Moments later a second thought elbowed its way in, and rather bossily claimed that there was no way that this video was really gameplay footage. Sure enough, it was confirmed to be "pre-vis" render based on projected PS3 capability.

Cue a hundred thousand hands slapping a hundred thousand foreheads.

Over the intervening years - such is the protracted development cycle of a typical Killzone it would seem - Sony and developer Guerilla Games have gone some way to assuage the disbelief and reddened foreheads. Screenshots and actual in-game cut scene and gameplay videos have shown the almost final product to look pretty damn close to the rendered video that many claimed couldn't be done. However, even now, many gamers' response is one of disbelief.

So, let me just get this out of the way; Killzone 2 really does look as good as the screens. It actually does look better than the pre-vis video that many claimed couldn't be done. The sense that you're taking the fight right to the front door of the enemy - whose home world is a horribly inhospitable place battered by high winds and electrical storms is never far from your mind - thanks mainly to the excellent dust and smoke effects and the movement injected in the scenery: tarps billow, flags snap and cables dance as they're buffeted by the wind.

You're fighting on their turf, so the enemy don't wait around for you to come to them. They make damn sure you have the pleasure of their company as they engage and attempt to flank your position. Even in this preview code, which is clearly a good way from complete*, it's soon clear that Killzone 2 is a game that doesn't just raise the HD visuals bar a notch, it sticks it on the top peg and says "Go get your rocket boots" to all comers.
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mcain44 15 Dec 2008 21:24
DAY-ONE purchase for me!
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