Can you put a price on happiness, on fun, on experiential immersion? That's what games do , to a certain extent. How much is a good game worth to you? What do you expect for your £30-50?
Last year I wrote a lengthy piece ranting about this industry's preoccupation with game duration -- that is to say, the "length" of a video game. This is a relatively arbitrary concept, of course, given that people go through games at varying velocities, some with the skill and drive to strive for speed from the outset, some preferring a more languid approach.But it's a key consideration for consumers in particular, that much is understandable. Games are expensive, especially these titles for new platforms, and getting value for money is a key consideration.
This is part of the reason Call of Duty is so damn popular: it's a comprehensive content package.
But the reason I bring this up is because I've just finished Killzone: Shadow Fall -- a game let down by hideous pacing and far too much wave-based padding. A game that squanders the promise of its opening levels with the repetition of bumping off streams of gormless AI mannequins over and over again in its second half. Here's what I said in my review:
The first couple of hours of Killzone: Shadow Fall hint towards a game that might just play as well as it looks. And it looks phenomenal. But sadly, the game falters and falls rather quickly, crushed under the weight of its own ambitions, and it retreats to the safe banality of staid FPS conventions for a second half that's all filler, no killer. It's a great game to show off the power of the PS4, a magnificent spectacle, and its Custom Warzones hint towards the possibility of a bright future; but it's just not that fun to actually play.
Now the reason I bring up game length rather than talking about the lack of ideas is because of a quote from Killzone: Shadow Fall's Lead Designer, Eric Boljes, made post-launch. In an interview with AusGamers, Boljes acknowledged the mixed reviews that the game has received, but stated that he felt this is the best Killzone game Guerilla have ever made:Click here to read more...
Developers: Guerilla Games
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Hot damn, Killzone: Shadow Fall is pretty. Really pretty. It's so pretty, in fact, that my very first act as protagonist Lucas Kellen was to rush to a balcony and gawp at the stunning vistas before me. Unfortunately, though, I was on the run from the Helghast at the time, and dawdling was inadvisable. I'm pretty sure I hold the current record for swiftest demise when it comes to this game.
The point is, of course, that Killzone: Shadow Fall really looks like a next-gen game.
It gallops along in clear, crisp 1080p at 30fps in singleplayer, and 60 in multiplayer, and Guerilla Games have thrown colours into the mix, which makes a nice change from the decidedly military tones of previous installments. An early mission sees you trotting about in a lush green forest to discover what happened to a missing scout battalion. Later on, as you find yourself in Vekta City, the urban landscape unfolds in beautiful fashion, with alabaster monoliths giving way to skyscrapers of vanilla marble and shimmering glass.
The lighting is phenomenal. From glorious sunsets that see stars melt into the horizon, to rich neon hues in more urban environments. There's a hint of lens flare in some shots, occasionally specks of dust and dirt on the camera that add to the framing, as surfaces glimmer and gleam with reflections. Every single frame of Killzone: Shadow Fall is a feast for the eyes, and if you want a next-gen game to drop your jaw with sublime prettiness, then this is it. It's a testament to the artistic craft of Guerilla's designers that you want to move through the game at a relatively languid pace just to enjoy the sumptuous visual detail. The PS4 gives this game the grunt, but the art team deserves real credit for making the tight corridors of a city's shanty built out of shipping crates just as visually engaging as the beautiful, sweeping shots of Vekta that greet you as the opening credits roll.Click here to read more...
Guerrilla Games may be hard at work polishing up Killzone: Shadow Fall for its PS4 debut, but apparently key team members have transferred to a mysterious new project.Click here to read more...
Alongside a PSP promotion, a major E3-themed sale is now live on the PlayStation Store. Killzone and inFamous titles have been slashed down to size to get us excited about Killzone: Shadow Fall and inFamous: Second Son, including full games and DLC. Note that some of these games can be found cheaper elsewhere (especially if you find a pre-owned copy), so be sure to hit up our price comparison engine.
Details after the break, as always courtesy of the EU PlayStation Blog.Click here to read more...
Just a quickie: Sony has confirmed that the Killzone Trilogy Edition is headed to British shores on October 24th. You'll get an HD remaster of the original Killzone, Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 along with six downloadable multiplayer map packs. More details on the EU PlayStation blog.
The bundle has a suggested retail price of £40.84, but we daresay that online stockists will undercut as silly season gets into full swing.
Sony has announced that the original Killzone will be headed to PSN, confirming the news after Game Informer spotted an ESRB listing for the 2004 PlayStation 2 title. Sadly, while you might have expected an HD remastered version, it will only be a straight port... and thus only really suitable for nostalgia value. While Killzone 2 and 3 pushed the bar in terms of PS3-exclusive shooters, the first game was underwhelming to the extreme.
This is definitely a report of two halves.
First up, the latest physical edition of EDGE Magazine [via Gamerzines] states that "the bulk of Guerrilla's staff are soldiering on with the next Killzone instalment," with veteran Killzone senior producer Steven Ter Heide at the helm. It's been described as a "follow-up." This is a big claim, but it's likely that EDGE know what they're talking about - otherwise, they'd have ran the story as an uncorroborated rumour.
Which is where act two begins. See, EDGE also recently ran a story from an anonymous source who suggested that an internal Sony Studio had started developing for the PlayStation 3's successor (the PS4, if you will). So... yeah. You can see where where we're going with this.
Either way, we'll keep an eye on the situation.
The games industry faces many issues despite the major profits that development generates... but according to Treyarch, recycled titles and buggy coding aren't the major problem. We are. Speaking in an interview with NowGamer, Treyarch community manager Josh Olin states that gamers with "negative" attitudes are holding back games development.
Too many developers who try new things are getting burned by “pundits” and angry entitled fans who look to be contrarian, sometimes simply for the sake of being contrarian.
The only thing this attitude aims to achieve is stunt that creativity and innovation even further, which is something that no rational gamer looking to be entertained would want to do.
Treyarch has also been receiving a huge amount of flak regarding Call Of Duty: Black Ops' PS3 performance. Maybe we're just being too "negative?" [NowGamer]
Right, you know that you want to weigh in on this one. Do us gamers have an attitude problem? Are we holding back development? Or is the giving us plenty to moan about? Have your say in the comments!
Cor blimey, wow and so on. Sony has released a new trailer for its recently-unveiled NGP handheld that shows off some of the games that will be hitting the platform- and it's enough to make even this jaded gamer reel his tongue back in. Killzone, Uncharted and Resistance look absolutely stunning, but several newly-unveiled IPs are also shaping up nicely. Insane parkour platformer Gravity Daze will be one to watch.
Seriously, hit play already. And ignore the terrible preppy music.
The NGP has met an extremely mixed reception from pundits, journalists and gamers alike, but there's no denying that it's shaping up to be a stonking piece of hardware with some killer games. You can read our reactions to the device here.
THQ Executive VP Danny Bilson has confirmed to VG247 that a "big" Saints Row 3 announcement will be "coming soon." We expected that the third entry in the anarchic sandbox franchise make would be unveiled last year, but after nary a peep from THQ on the subject, we're delighted to hear that we'll soon be in for some concrete intel. Since the Q3 investor's call is set for later tonight, the smart money is on at least a mention.
Naturally we'll keep you posted. [VG247]
Here's another teaser for you. During today's quarterly investor's call, EA boss John Riccitiello dropped a few hints about a potentially new and "exciting" FPS title that will be announced this year. When questioned about the future of the Medal Of Honor franchise, Riccitiello delivered the following cryptic response:
This year, with the tail-end of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 still doing well and Medal of Honor still doing well... with Crysis and Bulletstorm we're clearly going to make more progress towards our goal and that's before we get to what I think is going to be a very exciting entry later in the year that we're not yet announcing.
Before you get too excited, this "exciting entry" could well turn out to be a Battlefield 3 or a new addition to the MoH franchise. Here's hoping for a new IP- possibly from Respawn Entertainment. [EG]
Killzone 2 was an excellent and thoroughly solid slice of FPS action, but there's a niggling little fly in the ointment. When asked what they'd improve about the game experience, a huge number of gamers simply say "the controls"... and Guerrilla have been listening.
Killzone 2's controls have consistently come under fire for being clunky and unresponsive (though they possess a fairly satisfying weighty feel), but Guerilla are apparently on the case. Mathijs de Jonge states that they'll be "going back to the drawing board and tweaking the “input lag, acceleration and dead zone, and how each affected the overall gameplay”.
“We’ve recalibrated the dead zone to be more responsive and significantly reduced the input lag, resulting in far better accuracy. Best of all, we’ve managed to retain that sense of weight that set Killzone 2 apart from other shooters. I can’t wait for people to try it out.”
So there. Hopefully Guerrilla can get back to briefing us about jetpacks, gunslinging and new enemies/environments now that's sorted out! [Guerrilla]
Time to set the scene. Rumours to this effect have been floating around for a while, but official Sony developer guidelines released this week have limited 3D games to 720P resolution. Whilst the PS3 is doubtlessly capable of producing a three dimensional effect in higher resolutions, this cap has been instigated in order to ensure a solid 60FPS frame rate across the board.
This is all well and good- after all, 3D does require extra processing power- but even games that run in native 1080p resolution (such as Super Stardust HD) will be downgraded by these new measures. We're informed that even trained graphic artists can't tell the difference, mind.
Now, because I've finally set the scene... and because it's a slow news Sunday... it's time to hear from our favourite Q-list celebrity wannabe and stater of the bleeding obvious respected industry analyst Michael Pachter. Speaking in his Pach Attack show on GT, he's spoken out to slam Sony's push towards three dimensional gaming as a five year fad that will take around a decade to enter the mainstream. The main offender? You guessed it, the glasses.
“While the audience for 3D television is small, then for the next five years at least, 3D gaming is, and will remain, a fad.
“Maybe in ten years it will start to take off.”
Using usual Pachter logic, we can expect a 3D telly in every home by Christmas then. Discuss. [Pach Attack]
Aion Re-Release Set For September
NCSoft are set to re-release Aion, their fantasy MMORPG set in a stunningly beautiful and ridiculously grindy "celestial world". The new retail box set will include the original game and the upcoming expansion pack entitled Assault on Balaurea and is dated for September 10th. The add-on will also be individually available for free digital download on September 7th.
Can't remember what Aion's all about? Never heard of it? Why not have a gander at the trailer for the expansion pack below. [VG247]
If you need a decent first person shooter to get stuck into this summer, Killzone 2 is easily one of the best on market at the moment. Although there are a lot of people who over-hyped this game and are now getting on their high horse and trying to be critical, the truth is, if this game doesn’t satisfy your thirst for combat, you should get yourself over to Afghanistan.
Because, all in all, Killzone 2 is a game which delivers the whole package. If you appreciate a really decent first person shooter and are not one of those neurotic people who hates having a platinum box in your game collection, KZ2 is currently available for pre-order from Zavvi priced £14.95. After the £15 price mark, the game is going for a few pounds more on Amazon, but after that the price leaps up to around £20.
The critical reception which Killzone 2 received speaks volumes regarding the game's high quality. Based on 93 reviews, it attained an average score of 91%, with an Australian Playstation Magazine even giving it a full score of 10/10.
Completely blown away, the Aussies described Killzone 2’s visual animations as ‘amazingly fluid’, its gameplay as ‘intense sweaty palmed action’ and finally (in a rather bold statement), described it as ‘the best first person shooter ever made’. Although some would beg to differ, few could dispute that Killzone 2 is a very special FPS, and, in the words of someone from the hotukdeals thread, ‘worth £15 of anyone’s money’.
The war between the ISA and their mutated cousins, the Helghast, continues in Killzone 2 Platinum, available on pre-order from Amazon for only £16.99!
According to a price-comparison, Amazon’s offer for Killzone 2 Platinum is the cheapest around, with a three-pound saving! If you’re confused, Killzone 2 was released in February ’09, but has sold in the excess of a million copies, resulting in the release of a Platinum edition to celebrate this milestone.
Killzone 2 endured a rocky development cycle and release. Announced at E3 05 with an infamous trailer, it disappeared for two years before finally re-emerging and planting sceptic’s jaws firmly on the floor! Since its release, its averaged an impressive 91/100 on MetaCritic, with GamePro awarding it a perfect score and stating “there's no doubt in my mind that it lives up to the hype and is a must-play for FPS fans”.
Killzone 2 is the sequel to the original, released on the Playstation 2. It imagines a distant future where a coalition of military governments, known as the ISA, wage war with a mutated strand of humanity, the Helghast, who seek revenge for the persecution they’ve endured. The ISA decide to strike their enemy’s home world, Helghan, although they failed to foresee how the Helghast have adapted to their cruel environment, harnessing the inclement weather as weapons.
Thanks to KillerHawk and N20Y1D from HotUkDeals
Expectation is a cruel burden. Like a dead weight, it accompanies most games whose pre-release hype outpaces rational and patience. Killzone 2, developed by Dutchmen Guerrilla and possibly Sony’s most significant release of ’09, found itself caught in the public eye following several infamous moments during its laboured development.
It began with a trailer at E3 2005, presented as gameplay but eventually admitted to be computer-generated. Then, it vanished. For almost two years, Killzone 2 was omitted from media events, press releases, and barely acknowledged by Sony, who knew a mountain must be climbed before showing their premier title to the dubious masses.
It’s difficult to judge a game by its visual appeal, as I fondly remember simply playing games as a child, on a television most mobile phones render obsolete, with graphics about as detailed as a drunk man’s self-portrait. But Sony promised a visual tour-de-force and, believe me, they delivered. Killzone 2’s beauty is unequivocal and staggering.
In Killzone 2, the ISA forces venture to Helghan, their enemy’s home-planet. Helghan is far from a holiday resort, with perpetual storms and cities of scaffolding, Nazi-esque banners whipping about in the simulated wind. Arms of lightning often scar the sky, painting the ruined streets and buildings in harsh blues and whites. Smoke from explosions linger, dust drifting in the exchange of gunfire, as you peer down the barrel of Sergeant Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko’s ISA-issued rifle.
As far as stories go, Killzone 2’s sways from intriguing to downright awful. On the one hand, you have the war between the ISA and the Helghast. Forced to live on Helghan, the Helghast adapted to their cruel environment and decided to wage war against the totalitarian ISA. Much of the conflict can be gleaned from the Helghan overseer and prophet, Scholar Visari, whose inspiring monologues are transmitted through speakers dotted across Helghan.
So far, so good. Only once you step into Sev’s boots, and hear the forced, overly crude banter be exchanged amongst your squad-mates, all the political and cultural intrigue of the plot collapses, as you find yourself cringing from yet another awful Rico one-liner.
It’s a pity, as the production values for the cut-scenes are tremendous, with highly detailed and well-animated characters, only for the dialogue itself to render any technical achievements moot in the face of simply bad writing and characterisation.
Combat in Killzone 2 is intense and visceral. Considerable time and effort has been invested in Sev’s animations, and the sense of actually holding, firing and running with a rifle is brilliantly realised. Battles are tense, tactical affairs between ISA squads and Helghast forces, with Guerrilla updating the enemy’s ranks to include specialised troops.
The basic infantry fodder is present, along with larger, stronger brutes hefting bigger weapons. Snipers feature, with only their lit-up goggles alluding to their presence before the crack of gunfire and an exploded cranium confirms suspicions. Overall, the Helghast are ruthless, cunning enemies, so you must make use of the game’s cover-system in order to survive.
Online multiplayer is a prerequisite for any half-decent shooter nowadays. Halo and Call of Duty currently rein supreme, and their vice-like grip on the top-spot is unwavering, despite the competition. However, Killzone 2 is probably the closest any game has come to shaking them from their lofty perches, with deep and rewarding multiplayer.
Killzone 2’s online multiplayer has several classes for you to unlock and enjoy. You begin with the basic Infantryman, with only a rifle and a handful of grenades at your disposal. Eventually, you unlock the other classes, such as the health-dealing Medic and shotgun-toting Engineer, who have inherent class abilities. Soon, you’ll be able to mix and match these abilities, creating, for example, an Engineer who can build autonomous turrets and also throw remote explosives.
Be warned, Killzone 2’s online isn’t the shallow end of the pool. It’s a brutal, unforgiving realm where a few bullets to the chest often result in death. If you’re alone, stealth and cunning is essential, whereas with others, team play is vital. Medics must heal their fallen comrades, and Snipers must focus on potential saboteurs.
So far, this review has been very positive. However, Killzone 2 isn’t perfect. The aiming, for instance, feels inaccurate and tends to float, perhaps due to Guerrilla’s focus on realism above enjoyment. The campaign is also repetitive, with hordes of replenishing Helghast unless you trigger an invisible plughole. Forays into vehicles are clumsily executed, and the climactic boss-battle is unfair and not especially fun. The story’s schizophrenic, too.
But the game’s technical merits cannot be ignored, and the sheer aesthetic power Killzone 2 wields is unparalleled, on consoles at least. The multiplayer is easily its strongest feature, and promises months, if not years, of fun.