Killzone 2 is a game I've been highly anticipating since that early 'target render' trailer and is even a game that I considered buying a PlayStation 3 for. It seems to have subscribed to the ever-increasing list of games that will finally elevate the PS3 into the #1 spot in the console wars.
Well anyway, I finally got the chance to play it with my girlfriend at the weekend. Please take this with a pinch of salt as admittedly we only played a couple of levels, but it seemed enough to form a fairly valid opinion. That opinion is that Killzone 2 follows firmly in the footsteps of its predecessor in being thoroughly mediocre. Yes, the visuals are jaw-dropping, blah blah blah. We all know that's not enough for a game to stand the test of time as visuals will inevitably become outdated. What doesn't deteriorate with age is a memorable experience and that's something that Killzone 2 failed to provide for me. The backdrop of the epic battle of Helghan seemed perfect for an intense rollercoaster ride through war-torn streets and bombed out buildings, but it almost feels as it the game was shipped before they finished scripting the events. We played the game on a 32" HD TV and yet every experience felt sub-par, like Call of Duty 4 had already done it better with bigger fireworks and more emotional engagement. I've heard many others say the same thing, but Killzone 2's characters appear to be little more than your typical meat-head US marine type. CoD4 had those characters, but it also had characters you genuinely cared about (who, incidentally, were all British!).
Moving more on to the gameplay side of things, Killzone 2 lacks substance in its combat. Sure you have the odd 'down the helicopter' scenario, the regular 'turn the crank', you even get to drive a tank around, but these are all things we have seen countless times before in a FPS. For me the game failed to provide either fresh new mechanics or interesting twists on old ones, so it all felt somewhat redundant. On top of this the weapons felt a little weak which was partly due to the sound effects and partly the often unclear visual responses given when hitting enemies.
All in all I felt that Killzone 2 brought very little new material to the table that is first-person shooters, and certainly not much more than the first game in the series did. I would definitely play it again to form a more fair opinion, and it's a solid game which is worth a try but don't go expecting the killer app Sony was hoping for as you may be disappointed.