Hands-On Preview: Saving the PS3, one shot at a time.
With a history of strong exclusive first person shooters (FPS) on the Xbox 360, and it being dubbed as the "shooter system," it was only a matter of time until Sony fans began to clamor for something more than the the Resistance series and the subpar Haze. Enter the much hyped Killzone 2. As the direct sequel to the events of Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, the demo starts off placing you amidst a battle between the ISA and the Helghast with a strong resemblance to the D-Day Invasion of Germany.
Playing as Sergeant Thomas Sevchenko, or Sev, you'll immediately see that the game's city is in ruins and your first task is to rush up along a beachhead. Trying your best to avoid the deadly fire coming up your way from the bridge, you'll get orders to grab an RPG and stop the enemies so your unit can continue its invasion. During the first couple of minutes, you'll get a chance to get acquainted with the game's controls through a series of on-screen tutorials. From learning how to use cover and blind fire to switching weapons, the demo does an excellent job at explaining things to even the most novice FPS player.
Unfortunately, you're limited to only a few weapons along with the inability to switch out your pistol. Granted, the game's only a demo but it would be great to have been able to swap it out and allow players the freedom to fool around a bit more with the number of weapon choices in the game. Especially given how intriguing some of the game's features promises to be, including but not limited to using the Sixaxis motion to arm charges or turn valves.
What stuck out the most from the demo was the game's graphics. Although Killzone 2 doesn't run natively in full 1080p resolution, as with many other PS3 games, the game has a very sophisticated look about it. While most of the level is covered in grey, the black levels are amazing and you're able to tell what's what without much difficulty. Just as impressive is the game's lighting effects, which to me outshines most other first person shooters I've played on the 360. The game's exterior scenes are quite amazing, using a good deal of HDRI lighting to reflect the atmosphere. Additionally, the game's brief interior scene sets a different mood by using more subtle lighting effects.
Audibly, the game doesn't particularly do anything different to stand out from the rest of the FPS crowd. While this might just be as a result of the game being nothing more than a demo, it didn't do much for me. Sure, enemies will spot you and they'll yell to their comrades telling them where you might be while you hear gunfire in the background, etc. but it's all been done before and perhaps better.
With a short half hour or so download, depending on your broadband speed, the demo itself is rather on the short side clocking in at around ten to fifteen minutes. Only one difficulty is present and it would have been a welcome addition to let gamers experience some brief online co-op or match play. Instead we're regulated to a single player campaign with a single level which although itself is already great, is really too short and restricted to form a full early opinion regarding the game.