With Mass Effect out of the way I’ve been trying to find smaller games in the backlog to play. I’m not sure if other gamers feel the same way, but after spending a prolonged amount of time on a single game the last thing I want is to jump in to another. I played Mass Effect exclusively for over a month, so now I feel the need to play catchup on the backlog. There are other games on the stack that I really want to play, but I know once I start I’ll be in their world for a month or more. Witcher 3 (Witcher 1 and 2 also), Skyrim, and Dragon Age Inquisition are some of the top contenders on the pile calling me, but I just don’t have the fortitude right now. Thankfully, or perhaps unfortunately, there are many other games to choose from. So, what have I been playing this month?
Before Berserk or Mass Effect arrived, I had popped in Killzone 1 and played the first chapter so I decided to go back to that. Developed by Guerilla Games who is currently riding high on the success of Horizon Zero Dawn, I had never played Killzone but saw the trilogy set for PS3 on sale and decided I would give it a shot. I had always had the impression that it was Sony’s attempt at a Halo franchise. That isn’t entirely incorrect and despite all the flaws, I was mildly surprised with their first offering. Killzone was originally on PS2, but the collection has a “remastered” version for PS3. Trophies were added in and it was HD, but my god was this an ugly game…like Max Payne 1 ugly. If you get past that there’s a decent sci-fi story in there with some pretty great voice talent attached. It’s your typical humans go to space, space changes them, and over time differences lead to conflict with the humans that didn’t go to space story. You’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the story before. In Killzone it’s the Helghast that went to space, had a rough time of it but eventually adapted. They’ve now become very militarized and are led by Scolar Visari (or Space Hitler pretty much) voiced by the always awesome Brian Cox. Not so awesome is that you only see his character in the opening video. The Helghast attack a colony planet and the game starts up with you in the trenches trying to fight them off. It proceeds to check off all the usual FPS environmental check boxes from there with you fighting in cities, swamps, jungles, etc.
You team up with companions, which was slightly different from other FPS games, but they aren’t particularly useful I found. Sometimes they would help fight, but more often they would just stand there. In some of the later missions I started using them for cover so they could contribute. Each chapter you can choose which character you play as and each one has their own different weapons and other quirks. I don’t believe it changes the narrative very much, so I just kept playing as the character I started with. If one wanted to replay it though, that is a nice way to spice things up and earn a few different trophies. The only other major flaw I found was that the game almost has no rhyme or reason one when they use checkpoints. Some chapters I would find that the game has several checkpoints scattered throughout, but I never seemed to need them. Other chapters I would have a particularly tough time and there would be no checkpoint at all in it. Chapter 6 in particular, I had to turn the game off and walk away for a while after dying at the end of the chapter and having to redo the entire chapter a few times.
While most of this is all negative, ultimately, I did finish the game and I’m glad for it. It took less than a week so it wasn’t a huge time investment to play through it. I will probably start up Killzone 2 in the near future and pray that there’s improvements all around. I want to see where they take this story. And more Brian Cox.