Every now and then, a game comes along that is so big, filled with so much potential, that the hype surrounding it cannot be contained. We all knew all about Metal Gear Solid 2 months before the game was finished (or at least, we thought we did); we all knew the merits of Halo before Microsoft shipped their first Xbox. Now, the world will know all about Killzone, the latest squad based shooter from Guerilla Games, formerly Lost Boys. Killzone was initially revealed to the European press well over a year ago, but Non-Disclosure Agreements have kept the game under wraps until recently, which has only heightened the anticipation over what is arguably the most anxiously awaited Playstation 2 game since Sons of Liberty.
Killzone is set in the not too distant future, a time when humanity has begun to colonize the universe. However, human beings soon find themselves in an interplanetary war between two groups- the ISA, a group loyal to Earth, and a rogue group known as the Helghast. The game revolves around four ISA soldiers caught behind enemy lines in a "kill zone" (hence the game's name), with a battalion of Helghast soldiers and storm troopers surrounding them from all sides. From this opening sequence, players will control their four man squad over 26 different missions, each with their own "memorable moment" delivered in a highly stylized story based setting. In every mission, players will find themselves part of a breathtaking sequence, be it a huge melee battle over a strategic location, such as a bridge, or being caught in the middle of dozens of enemy soldiers repelling down into their midst.
As some of these missions suggest, the combat and gameplay in Killzone is chock full of frenzied battles that should give off the feeling of being smack in the middle of a huge conflict. Think Saving Private Ryan meets Halo, and you've got the idea. Throughout the game, you'll see dozens of different soldiers, each part of their own formation, each involved in different activities. You'll see soldiers smashing in faces with the butts of their rifles, wounded calling for help, and much more. All of this will take place in several varied environments ranging from suburban shopping malls to futuristic urban pits of hell.
Somewhat similar to Zipper's critically acclaimed SOCOM, Killzone will have you leading a four-man squad into battle. Each member of your team will have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, forcing you to utilize everyone in your unit. You'll only control one character at a time, while the rest will follow your command while being controlled via AI. This should allow for a good deal of replay, as you could ostensibly play the game through four times with different results, depending on which character you focus on. One character is reported to be a master of stealth tactics, while another is reported to specialize in heavy arms. Other members and their specialized skills have not been released yet, but they should work fairly well with the rest of your unit.
However, no matter which member you take control of, you will have plenty of weaponry to choose from. There are over 20 different weapons found throughout the game, and each offers a wide variety of death- dealing power. You can pick off your enemies with a simple pistol, frag them with grenades, pump them full of lead with assault rifles, or simply blow them to hell and back with a rocket launcher. On top of that, there are also five "fixed positions" weapons to be found in the game, which most likely means strategically placed turrets and other weapons, similar to those found in Red Faction and Halo.
Right now, not much is known about Killzone. Only the barest of details has been revealed, and from what we've seen, we're dying to know more. Things such as multiplayer and online capability have yet to be disclosed, but rumor abounds that Killzone will sport the most impressive display of these and other in game features that the Playstation 2 has ever seen. As tall of a claim as that seems, everything that has been revealed so far only supports that assertion. We'll just have to wait for more information on the game, which should be forthcoming in the future.
Killzone is currently and tentatively scheduled for a fall 2004 release. In the meantime, check out the most impressive screenshots, and we'll have more information on this title as soon as it becomes available.
8/15/2003 Ryan Hartmann