Killzone: Liberation - PSP - Preview 2
Killzone was a bit of an unsung hero when it first released on the PS2 in the fall of 2004. While it was a very competent FPS and arguably one of the better ones on the Playstation2, it had the misfortune of releasing at the same time as Microsoft’s behemoth, Halo 2 (maybe you’ve heard of it). Not quite a Halo-killer, Killzone did succeed in providing a great sense of atmosphere and solid FPS action and intensity. However, now the game seems to be getting its just due on Sony’s other systems, from the already-mired-in-controversy Killzone 2 on the PS3 to Killzone: Liberation for the PSP. GameZone was recently given a preview build of the latter, which is due out on Sony’s handheld this October, and the results were already very impressive.
Instead of going the FPS route like its console brethren, Killzone: Liberation will be a top-down shooter set in the Killzone universe shortly after the events that took place in the original game. Even in the preview build, the game did a fantastic job of showcasing the great atmosphere of the original game, and featured smooth controls and gameplay geared to take full advantage of what the PSP has to offer.
Being set closely after the events of the first game, Killzone: Liberation has you fighting of the forces of the Helghast through an intense ground war. The preview build presented two chapters of the upcoming game, putting you through WWI-style trenches, with bombs going off all around you and faceless, mechanical Helghast troops screaming out with distorted voices. In one section, we were placed in the middle of an enclosed area and forced to take on a group of Helghast tanks with only a rocket launcher and some ingenuity on our side (very intense).
The controls are smooth and fluid with an easy to grasp targeting system that also allows you to duck and cover behind objects in the environment to avoid getting shot. You also have a laser sight to simplify things a bit and let you know exactly what you’re shooting at (and if your shot will hit the target or an obstacle in the way). Throwing grenades is also a snap, as your grenade’s trajectory will be mapped out before you toss it.
You’ll also be able to order your squadmates around the battlefield. Through the Tactical Command System, you’ll be able to shout out commands to the units with you, ordering them to investigate a situation or gain better positioning in a firefight.
Even without the final layer of polish, Killzone: Liberation looked great and excels at capturing the spirit of the original game. The battlefields were teeming with activity like mines and grenades going off, and details like barbed wire adding to the sense of ambience.
Soundwise, the game is right on par with the original, only suffering from the limitations of PSP’s speakers themselves. The battlefield ambiance of bombs and gunfire in the distance adds to the atmosphere, as do the creepy and distorted Helghast voices.
Even a couple months away from release, Killzone: Liberation is an exciting PSP shooter that does a fine job of emulating the style of the console version while offering completely unique gameplay. Look for it this Halloween.