Thwack! An errant bullet whizzes by your head and strikes a gas canister. 'Who leaves a gas canister in the middle of a battlefield?' you think, as you notice a plume of gas escape. War is hell. You hastily back away, just managing to escape the blast. Two of your enemies, however, weren't as quick witted. One lies against a wall, limbs contorted like the hands of a clock into some sort of yogic position. As for the other guy, who knows where he ended up... War is hell. Thick, black noxious smoke stings the back of your throat as a smell that no man should know swims up your nostrils. You begin to lose your cool as panic extends a hand and takes hold of you. Suddenly you realise that for the past half minute you have just been running blindly in a circle while staring towards the ground. 'Remember your training, remember your training' repeats through your head. You decide to crouch behind a wall, gather your wits and get back out there. But you've momentarily confused the button for crouching with the button for throwing a grenade. The grenade rebounds off a nearby wall and comes to rest just a few feet away from you. A grim sense of inevitability overwhelms you, as the explosive device emits an increasingly high-pitched tone until... Boom! War is hell.
This is Killzone 2, a frighteningly realistic new game for PlayStation 3. In it you play as Tomas 'Sev' Sevchenko, a Special Forces veteran equipped with just the right sort of moxie (not to mention an array of high calibre weapons) necessary to deal with the Helghast, your enemies from the planet Helghan. Why are they your enemies? Let's leave the politics to the suits in Washington; you're here to follow orders. And those orders seem to be to simply shoot everything that moves.
This is an intense video game. At no point do you feel at ease as you manoeuvre your character from battle to battle. The tension is cranked up to 11 as the game makes great use of the powerful PS3 processor giving you beautifully rendered graphics and movie-like scenes to advance the plot. Killzone 2 makes great use of the Havok physics engine, software designed initially by a bunch of guys from Trinity College which has received worldwide acclaim for the astounding level of realism it brings to video games. This really becomes apparent in Killzone 2 when, for example, you shoot somebody from the top of a building and he drops like a ragdoll to the ground below.
Killzone 2 has set a new standard in the busy First Person Shooter genre. This is immersive gameplay, it can often overwhelm and suck you in, something that is lacking from the majority of games in this genre. The designers have implemented a level of realism so intense that it rivals things you'd see on a cinema screen, something only heightened by a harrowing score composed by Joris de Man.
This game looks beautiful and has the gameplay to match. The question is, can you handle it?
Rent or Buy: Buy
Game Play: 4/5
Replay Value: 4/5
Review by: John Balfe