“Killzone 2, while pretty freaking gorgeous, has been a bit of a tough sell since we started going hands-on with the game around E3 time. The graphics can’t seem to make up for the been-there-done-that feel that the gameplay provides, not differentiating itself enough from the FPS competition. A prettier, more sci-fi Call of Duty 4, in summary. So while the single-player could still use some more innovation, the developers are clearly putting all that and more into the multiplayer component, which is easily one of the most promising online experiences on the PS3.
Killzone 2 multiplayer is class-based, complete with ranks, tournaments, persistent experience and unlocks. But there are several elements that really set the experience apart. Lets go through them now:
1) The Graphics
It’s been said before, butt Killzone 2’s graphics rock my socks. They are some of the best we’ve ever seen in any game, and incredibly, those graphics don’t even drop a hitch when you play online. There is no noticable visual difference between the online and single-player graphics, which means it may very well be the best looking online game ever. So woo for that!
2) The Badge System
Badges make up Killzone 2’s class structure. There are five primary badges for your standard character classes. These range from Assault to Heavy Weapons to Scout to Engineer, and so forth. Now picking a primary badge does not only select your primary weapon load-out (there are multiple weapon options per primary badge), it selects your ability. The Medic, for example, has the predictable ability to revive fallen comrades. The Assault badge has a booster injection that lets you run much faster than normal. Scouts can actually cloak themselves. Very cool indeed.
But that’s not all. You can also pick a secondary badge, which determines yet another skill. For example, the Medic’s secondary badge allows him to throw down medkits for teammates (or yourself) to use. The Scout drops a beacon which scans the area and pops enemies up on friendly radar.
But the best part is that you’re not limited to picking both Medic badges. If you want to be able to revive people, but also be able to perform radar scans, you can select the Medic badge as your primary and the Scout as a secondary. You can mix and match each of the five badges, resulting in way more character classes than you’d expect. Plus, add in the different weapon loadouts for each badge and you really can create your character from the ground up.
3) Multiplayer Missions
In Call of Duty 4 (or most multiplayer games), you select a mode and stick with it. Domination, Search and Destroy, etc. Killzone 2 allows you to customize everything about your matches, including the ability to mix and match several modes in the same multiplayer match.
So say you’re playing a Capture the Flag variant. You recover the object, winning a point for your team. Instead of just doing the same thing all over again until the timer runs out, the game immediately switches to another mode…Assassination, for example. There’s no load screen, you’re just in the next mode, with your point carrying over from CTF. In a single match you can queue up a wide variety of different modes, which ensures that multiplayer shouldn’t get stale anytime soon.
4) Web-based Stats
It’ll be hard to match the powerhouse that is Bungie.net, but Guerrilla and SCEA are definitely going to try. Killzone.com will allow folks to track all of their personal stats, kill ratios and the current status and roster of their clan. It’ll give you info on upcoming tournies and allow you to see who’s the best around the world. What better way to procrastinate at work than to see if you’ve got the most melee kills with the rocket launcher?
5) It’s Not SOCOM
SOCOM has a huge following, but people generally feel a little overwhelmed by the still that folks have online. For fans, it’s great…for newbies it’s a nightmare. Killzone 2’s more cooperative modes allow you to hang in the back of the lines and provide support, lay down turrets, and so forth. You don’t need to be a twitch master to succeed here…but it helps!
So there you have it. Hopefully that gives you a taste of what you can expect. While the single player in Killzone 2 should be a fun jaunt, it appears the multiplayer is going to be this game’s bread and butter, and we can’t wait to hop online and pwn some Helghast in the coming months.”