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My name is Brad. My DToid name and GT are both derived from my nickname, B-rad. Not Radicate the Pokemon. Shame on you.

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This is an addendum to my previously posted Killzone 2 review, just so you know.

In my previous write up I did a lot of praising on Guerilla Games for their work on KZ2, and while I wholeheartedly stand by my assessment and score of a perfect 10/10, I do have one MAJOR beef with the game. Don’t worry it’s not with the awesome multiplayer. It’s solely with the single player. This rant is partially with KZ2 but veers into general game design for a time. Playing through KZ2 just brought it to the forefront of my consciousness, so I need to vent it.

As anyone who’s played the game knows, KZ2 uses a cover mechanic somewhat similar to that of the recent Rainbow Six games. It’s a cross between them and Gears-style cover. You run to a position and pull the crouch button (yeah, so much for trying to crouch while in cover) and you get pulled into cover, but unlike RS games or Gears, the camera stays in the first person perspective. This sounds cool except the game still wants you to be able to see where your enemies are, so they have you peak over the edge of whatever you’re hiding behind rather unrealistically. Oh, and you can’t blind fire… at all, which sort of destroys your ability to lay any sort of distractive cover fire of any kind.


Add these while you're at it, too, Guerilla.

Now, I don’t mind games that keep you in a forced first person perspective. I loved me some Mirror’s Edge and Farcry 2 (very much so, in fact) but I don’t want a game like KZ2 to destroy playability and tactics in an effort to keep me “immersed” in the experience, especially not when I’m armed with a defibrillator gun that can revive people with lightning from across a room.

I don’t think there is any sane reason why the cover system in KZ2 positions the player the way it does beyond just wanting to be “different.” I mean, what purpose does it actually serve? Does the game want me fully immersed as my character? Hmm, could be but then that raises the question as to why all of the cutscenes are seen from a totally third person perspective and highlight my character doing things I have no control over whatsoever. If they wanted to go that route, they shoulda pulled a Half-Life and at the very least kept you in the first-person perspective (if not kept the antagonist silent throughout the title… a huge non-no with their HIGHLY talented writing team, those fuckity fucker fucks).

The issue of cover raises another HUGE issue I had with the game’s general design because, when in cover, your only option is to pop up (or over) to shoot. However, if you watch your enemies for more than two seconds they can clearly blindfire from cover and even go prone. Hell, they can even roll in/out of cover while running, kneeling, or prone and provide a much wider variety of shooting positions than the player character. This raises some tactical issues for the player, because those tools are literally not at your own disposal. They apparently didn’t teach the advanced LAYING ON THE FUCKING GROUND tactics at ISA boot camp. How the hell did they ever expect to win a war against such an advanced military might as the Helghast, what with their inhuman ability to KNEEL?!


Best skill in the game... of life.

Why game companies allow AI opponents to have access to a wider variety of abilities is beyond me. Maybe it’s a matter of complex controls, however after playing Mirror’s Edge, I know for a fact some relatively complex (and amazing) moves are capable (and easy to understand) in a first person perspective specifically (hell, CoD4 just makes you hold the crouch button longer to go prone… hmm, novel concept, the “get closer to the ground button,” when held longer, makes you go closer… to the… ground… GENIUS!). Maybe it’s a matter of trying to make a game more challenging, but what it really does is prove super frustrating AND send a clear message that the game could have been better than it is. The controls could have been more refined, ideas could have been fleshed out, etc. Going prone, tucking/rolling, blindfiring would have made KZ2 a better game to play there is no doubt about it. I don’t even think it arguable, quite honestly.

If Guerilla wanted their game to be truly original and memorable for more than its graphical prowess, then they should have taken the time to even the playing field while simultaneously expanding it to provide an even better playing and realistic experience (not to mention allow the same maneuvers in multiplayer matches). I understand this would have taken some more clarity on their part in terms of what experience they wanted to provide the player with (i.e. either including first person cutscenes or providing a third person cover camera and/or adding the same maneuverability for players) but I think it would have proven its worth tenfold.

Clearly the game’s sales numbers mean Guerilla has no reason to care about what I have to say at all, but maybe, just maybe, if they’re listening they will realize they missed some easily obtainable opportunities for greatness.

/Rant

Thoughts?

PS - Fuck me, I dunno how to resize photos on this site anymore... damn it.
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