Killzone Mercenary assessment: Employed gun
From a superficial perspective, Killzone: Mercenary is about as rote a shooter as you will discover. It stars former soldier Arran Danner who has opted for a extra profitable life as a mercenary, battling the Helghast invasion as a part of the Phantom Talon Company. This units the plot up for a lot of cliché twists and overwrought scenes of dramatic betrayal that gamers will see coming miles away. And but, regardless of its drained storytelling, Killzone: Mercenary largely succeeds by specializing in the kind of properly-polished, frenetic first-individual shooter gameplay not often see on the PlayStation Vita (although not for lack of making an attempt).
Whenever you first step into the world of Killzone: Mercenary, you will discover its beautiful graphics. There is no hyperbole in saying these are a few of the greatest the Vita has ever seen – Killzone: Mercenary might very simply cross as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation three recreation. Followers of earlier Killzone video games may discover this worrying, because the collection has earned a popularity for being overloaded with cutscenes that, whereas engaging, take away management from gamers for prolonged stretches of time. The builders behind Killzone: Mercenary appear to have discovered their lesson on this entrance. Mercenary does function periodic interludes, however they’re primarily used to segue into and out of missions, and rarely final various moments.
In fact, this added autonomy would imply nothing if the gameplay weren’t worthwhile. Fortunately, in a pure, intestine-degree means, Killzone: Mercenary stands alongside virtually any current shooter – for higher or worse.
Mercenary‘s controls, which use the Vita’s shoulder buttons to fireside and goal, whereas counting on the face buttons for actions like reloading, ducking into cowl and opening doorways, ought to be instantly acquainted to anybody with current shooter expertise. Weapons too have a standard really feel about them. Shotguns deal out an considerable kick with every shot, sniper rifle photographs depart a crisp crack hanging within the air and the explosions you will inevitably set off ship simply the correct quantity of cataclysmic bang. The enemy AI in Killzone: Mercenary can also be good, and whereas nobody would name the Helghast grunts really sensible, it’s refreshing to see them try and flank gamers and flee when wounded.
A number of care went into correctly modeling the violent bits of Mercenary, which lends gamers much more cause to discover the sport’s surprisingly giant arsenal. Although your mercenary can solely tote two weapons directly (with non-compulsory gear tacked on), every degree options quite a few weapons merchandising machines the place you should purchase new gear or swap out one gun for an additional. Discovering your enemies too distant to successfully slaughter? Swap out your shotgun for a sniper rifle. Too many enemies swarming you? Decide from one among many automated rifles.
Whereas a number of of the weapons appear barely over-powered, the variability and stability of Mercenary‘s armory signifies that there often is not a single greatest option to work by means of a mission. The one time this freedom falters is in later ranges, which frequently pit you towards situations that appear to require a selected loadout (distant enemies needing a sniper rifle, large enemy plenty with mechanized backup begging for a rocket launcher, and so forth). For probably the most half, nevertheless, the way you play is as much as you. This lends an virtually arcade-like really feel to every mission, and incomes additional cash to purchase higher weapons and armor supplies a much more impelling purpose to replay missions than something written in Mercenary‘s plot.
Along with Mercenary‘s satisfying fight mechanics, the builders have additionally managed to reap the benefits of the Vita’s distinctive options in sparing however pleasant style. In any given mission you could be tasked with sneaking up on a foe, then disengaging the lock he was guarding. Stealth kills and hacking each use the contact display – the previous requiring a fast slash of your finger and the latter having you match shapes beneath strain. In contrast to the contact display antics in different Vita video games, these diversions are brief and keep the strain of the missions themselves, thanks largely to the fixed menace of gunfire – or an alarm which guarantees to summon much more gunfire do you have to fail a hack. There are not any really protected moments in Mercenary, however the controls are intuitive and designed in such a well-known trend that you’re going to not often really feel you have been killed by a poor design selection.
These intuitive parts are a double-edged sword, nevertheless. Whereas it is good to see a developer ape far more highly effective consoles to a level that anybody accustomed to shooters ought to be capable of decide up and play the sport instantly, these similar decisions have prevented Killzone: Mercenary from providing something really novel. There’s little or no on this shooter that you have not seen beforehand in any variety of different shooters, and whereas it is all executed surprisingly nicely on the Vita, there isn’t any one component that basically stands out.
Additionally, given Killzone: Mercenary’s give attention to delivering a excessive-high quality shooter for the Vita, many gamers can be anticipating multiplayer to stay up the identical commonplace because the marketing campaign, and sadly that is the place the sport begins to crumble. The modes themselves are wonderful – solo and staff deathmatch, together with the target-based mostly Warzone – however having fun with an internet match is usually extra hassle than it is value. I had little hassle connecting to eight-participant matches and was by no means as soon as dropped from a recreation, however I repeatedly discovered my bullets trailing behind enemies, and the in-recreation motion noticeably lagged much more typically than you’d anticipate from a contemporary shooter. Hopefully that is simply the results of poor netcode and might be fastened with a easy patch, as a result of when Mercenary‘s multiplayer does work, it performs admirably. [Word: A day one patch has been launched for Killzone Mercenary, aimed toward enhancing stability and on-line connectivity. After enjoying with the patch put in, I can affirm that lag is now much less of a problem, although it stays periodically problematic.]
The core mechanics of Killzone: Mercenary function a superb lesson in methods to create a shooter with an enormous-price range, console really feel on a handheld. Whereas it is hamstrung by flaky multiplayer performance and a scarcity of latest concepts, it’s spectacular simply how properly the primary-individual motion of the Killzone franchise has translated to the Vita. As competent as it’s, nevertheless, Killzone: Mercenary is teetering on the sting of being one thing really nice, if solely it might shake the dusty conventions of the fashionable first-individual shooter style it is making an attempt so onerous to stick to.
Joystiq’s assessment scores are based mostly on a scale of whether or not the sport in query is value your time — a 5-star being a definitive “sure,” and a one-star being a definitive “no.” Learn right here for extra info on our scores tips.