Developer: Guerilla Cambridge
Release Date: 9/4/2013
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Amazing visual feat, gun play transitions well from the PS3, fun multiplayer, brutal melee kills, the Valor system and drones are awesome
The Bad: Short campaign, story is lacking, small multiplayer suite, lacks the epicness of the PS3 games, campaign feels very linear and claustrophobic
The PS Vita has been really struggling with great games lately and with the dual analog sticks everyone has been chomping at the bit for a good FPS. Resistance: Burning Skies was decent, but nowhere near the quality of the console games. Along came Black Ops II which could have been an amazing experience, but instead was a literally unfinished game and has been deemed the worst Vita game ever made. Now that Killzone has come along we finally have the great portable FPS experience we have all been wanting. While it’s not exactly up to par with the PS3 Killzone games, it’s still a great game.
Killzone has never been famous for its story, but the whole universe of Killzone is interesting itself. You play a mercenary working for both the ISA and Helghast — you basically want the war to go on longer for more money. The story picks up right after Killzone 3, but this isn’t a direct sequel to the events between the warring nations. The game also plays a little differently from other Killzone games. It feels a bit faster, yet still has the heavy feeling weapons and gun play fans have grown to love. The game is definitely optimized for portable play and for the Vita. You switch weapons with the touch screen (one secondary and primary) as well as using grenades and your drone. The controls are actually cleverly laid out utilizing the entire system without compromising comfort.
Weapons aren’t picked up via enemies this time around — you get access to a black market where you buy them and equip them. You earn cash by picking up ammo, stealth kills, melee kills, multiple kills, or any other way you can think of. This is a brand new feature to the series and it works well. The only thing about the weapons that I was disappointed about was that they are the same ones we’ve seen through the entire series and there aren’t that many of them. Even so, the campaign levels are very linear and mostly in enclosed areas so you will stick with a shotgun and a sub-machine gun most of the time. Speaking of the campaign, there are only 9 short levels. While they are fun, they aren’t anything special and lack the epic set pieces of the console games. However, most people are going to pick this game up for the multiplayer suite.
Mercenary has a brand new Valor system that uses decks of cards. You rank up and earn new cards by doing things in the game — most will be earned in multiplayer. This is to extend the longevity of the game and to keep you coming back. The online play is a bit more fast paced than the PS3 games and is a lot of fun. This is really feels like a console game in your hands. It’s so satisfying to sneak up behind someone and execute a brutal melee kill or start getting a kill streak going. Be warned — there is a lack of modes and maps here. I hope more are introduced through DLC, but what’s here is fun for quick bursts of online shooting action. Another new system introduced are drones. These are weapons that can launch missiles down on enemies, put up shields, make you invisible, or even be used as a mobile auto-turret. This adds a whole new level to the series and is a lot of fun.
The graphics in Mercenary are phenomenal. The best portable graphics to ever grace a handheld device. They look nearly as good as the PS3 games. There is so much detail everywhere it’s nearly impossible to imagine how the Vita can render this or have this much power. Thankfully the frame rate keeps up with the action which could have seriously hampered the game. As it stands, Killzone is the best portable FPS game out there, but isn’t the best Killzone game. It could have been a lot more with more time, but what we get is a decent package with an entertaining, yet short, campaign and a fun multiplayer mode.