Sunday, May 15, 2011

Killzone 2 (another FPS), and Hogan's Heroes

I just got around to completing Killzone 2 for the PS3 (thanks Fallguy - I think that's all of them now I'll ship 'em back).  It was a serviceable FPS game, but nothing memorable.  I don't really understand how it got such high ratings from most reviewers - on Metacritic it got a Metascore of 91/100.  Me, I give it more like a 73/100.

You play as Sergeant Sevchenko (a fact it took me a very long time to realize) and are bringing the space war to the Helghast planet. I don't know the history of this war since I never played the first Killzone, but according to your own government's propaganda anyway the Helghast started it.  OK fair enough.  And that's pretty much the story - kill all the Helghast baddies and work your way up the boss chain to Vasari - the head big bad daddy - basically Future Hitler of this army of Space Nazis.

However, even though the uniforms, symbols, etc. all had a decided Nazi flair to them, for some reason all the Helghast spoke with an English accent. Does this mean that a London scientist invented the universal translator that enabled me to hear the Helghans swearing at me?  Or maybe the future British were allies or collaborators with the Helghast?  Maybe there is even some sort of connection to Grand Moff Tarkin - that overconfident member of the Imperial English aristocracy that stubbornly refused to evacuate the Death Star in his moment of triumph (should've evacuated Moffy). I dunno.

And of course when I talk Nazis, well I'm gonna talk Hogan's Heroes.  Colonel Radec, the no-nonsense sadistic Helghan officer was, as far as I'm concerned, modeled after Major Hochstetter - the no-nonsense Nazi who was always busting Colonel Klink's balls.  And maybe Vasari, the leader of the Helghast, was supposed to make me think of Hitler, but to me he was the long-lost brother of one General Burkhalter - another of a long list of Nazis that enjoyed busting Klink's balls and was always throwing around that threat of sending Klink's ass to the Russian front.

...and of course the vast array of almost identical Helghast soldiers who march single file into their role as cannon fodder are all the loveable Sergeant Schultz, except of course that they are constantly cursing at you and have an unrealistically optimistic expectation of killing you.

The AI of the enemies is pretty poor and the AI of your squad mates is even worse. They are constantly getting in your way while simultaneously barking at you to get off your ass and follow them.  And you can't shoot them - I tried. I emptied full clips into their eyes in frustration and blood flew everywhere but not a scratch. By the way, all FPS games should, by default, have friendly fire enabled. Nothing breaks up the realism of a firefight worse than when you accidentally fire a round into a fellow soldier's head and he just yells something stupid at you like "OK! that hurts!" or "don't shoot at me, shoot at them!"

And the guys were CONSTANTLY swearing.  It's not like I'm offended by cussing. Fuck. See? It's just that the cussing was so relentlessly forced and the dialogue was so juvenile it just seemed silly. Kinda like Starship Troopers if you've ever seen that movie - except sillier. And all the steroid-soaked characters were so interchangeable - like Gears of War with its soul stripped out.

The various levels and minimal cut scenes felt generic and gave virtually no sense of progress - so much so that I think if you randomly mixed up the play order of the levels you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference.

And I kept hearing about how great the graphics were but they didn't look particularly good to me. Even for 2009 when it actually came out. Like the rest of the game the graphics seemed average.

And that's it in a nutshell - Killzone 2 wasn't bad but I'm forced to damn it with faint praise. It was passable. Decent. Average.  In my opinion, there really just wasn't much to Killzone 2 to set it apart from all the other war-based first person shooters out there. An OK shooter but basically forgettable.

Now, understand that I'm only referring to the single-player story campaign here. I didn't even play the online multiplayer which I of course realize is the target audience component of the modern FPS game.  I know a lot of FPS guys don't even play the single-player story and would tell me that I'm missing the best part of the game, but I just don't really enjoy the online deathmatch stuff that much anymore.  Back when I played the first Resistance on PS3 I quite enjoyed it. Then when I got Modern Warfare I still enjoyed it but maybe a little less. And my interest in the online multiplayer has just continued to wane since then until now I am at the stage where I just won't buy a FPS game unless the story component sounds like it is enough up my alley to merit buying it on its own.

So anyway - it sounds like I'm trashing the game, but I'm not. It was a decent middle of the road shooter. Just nowhere near as good as I had heard and not quite good enough to prompt me to try the multiplayer, replay, or want to buy Killzone 3.

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Fallguy40 said...

KZ2 was not my favorite shooter either. I liked it but not enough to want to buy part 3. I did play the online for a little bit though. I liked it but preferred COD for multiplayer action. For that matter, I preferred Resistance for sci fi FPS campaign.

gnome said...

An exquisite write-up/review thingy dear MadPlanet. Read it despite not really caring for Killzones of any sort...

MadPlanet said...

@ Fallguy40: Agreed on all counts. And I think that is basically in line with what I was trying to say - I liked it OK, but the 1-player campaign wasn't up to par with something like Resistance and the multiplayer wasn't up to par with something like COD MW. Nothing makes it stand out. It's a ham sandwich.

@ Gnome: Then I appreciate your readership all the more then friend Gnome knowing that the genre holds no interest for you. Thanks!

gnome said...

Mind you, those brilliant movie analogies did help quite a bit!

MadPlanet said...

It's my assertion that 85% of modern day entertainment can be directly traced back to either Star Wars or Hogan's Heroes. Then 10% to Logan's Run. And 5% miscellaneous. :)

PungentOnion said...

I don't know anything about the series, but it did come to life with the Hogan's Heros analogies. Since it's unlikely I will ever play KZ, I will forever assume it's a Hogan's Heros game with Schultz bumbling around yelling 'Ya Volt'.

MadPlanet said...

Yep that's about the size of it. Hogan's Heroes with headshots. Except in this version instead of telling Hogan "I see nothing. NOTHING!" Schultz would say "I'm gonna rip your fucking heart out Yank!"