Killzone Mercenary review
SG Gaming Info takes a look at the PlayStation Vita’s latest first person shooter, Killzone Mercenary developed by Guerrilla Cambridge.
Please note that this review is from the perspective of a player who has not played a Killzone game before.
Killzone Mercenary sees you take on the role of Arran Danner, a mercenary during the war between the Helghast and ISA. The main focus of the story is a powerful virus which both sides want so they can win the war. The virus is split into two components, the virus itself and a trigger. Both sides are offering a big money to the person who brings them both components.
First of all, since you are a mercenary you are not aligned with either group, this means you get to play on both sides – Helghast Empire and ISA. This is a nice idea as you get to see how both sides operate during the war. Also as a mercenary you are only involved in the conflict for the money. This is something the game constantly reminds you off as scavenging ammo and finding ways to stealth past enemies all give you money.
What this game does great from the beginning is put you in the position of not choosing a side, you are a mercenary, you are neutral you just want the money for a task and leave. You don’t care what the job is as long as you get paid.
The single player campaign is a bit short with it only taking me about 4 hours to complete on trooper mode.
Touching on the subject of money in the game, there is only one major reason to use it and that is buy new equipment. New equipment includes: weapons, armour, grenades, van guard systems etc. You can buy these items during a mission via specially marked boxes or at the end of mission. While playing I didn’t really find myself really purchasing any equipment, apart from a van guard system which allowed me fire missiles, and I also bought grenades. I mostly found myself using it as an easy way to stock up on ammo or instantly recharge my van guard system. The only time I purchased a weapon and armour was at the very end after I found the standard loadout to be a bit weak to defeat the final boss.
On the gameplay front, Killzone Mercenary is pretty solid. You have your pretty standard shooter affair of shooting down waves of enemies, but with the added option of using alternative paths to sneak around some enemies. If shooting and sneaking isn’t you thing there is a hacking mini-game which is surprising fun. This mini-game is a timed event where you must place symbols in the correct location before time runs out. The mini-game is done via the touch screen which makes selecting and placing the symbols hassle free.
Before I talk about additional mode and the controls I want to mention the melee system. If you wish to kill a target with a melee attack you have to press the triangle button and after swipe your hand in a direction told to by the game. It does seem a bit of a gimmick, but my main issue with it is the trying to do a melee kill during combat is frustrating because every time you knife a target you have to go through the same swiping action and while doing this you are wide open to attack (mainly because the attack animation seems to go on forever), this one addition to the game was responsible for the majority of my deaths. What I think would have worked better is allowing you to do quick melee kills when attacking from the front and have the assassination style kills (melee attack from behind) have you do the hand swipe motion. Another idea could be to remove the overly long animation which can lead to your death.
In online multiplayer there are three modes: Mercenary Warfare, Guerrilla Warfare and warzone. Mercenary Warfare is a 6 man free for all deathmatch, Guerrilla Warfare is a 4v4 team deathmatch and Warzone is an objective based mode which consists of five phases each with their own set of rules, for example in one mode to win you have to interrogate 3 enemy players.
All three modes do have a good number of players playing online and are each rather fun. The only downside is the number of players that can play at once, but this is likely due to the fact it is on the PlayStation Vita. Also in multiplayer mode you can collect valour cards from dead players. You can receive cash rewards for completing hands such as four of a kind etc.
While I am not a multiplayer player, the addition of online multiplayer and valour cards are fun and they do a good job of extending the life of the game.
Contracts mode is sort of like an extension of the campaign mode. In contracts you re visit the missions you completed in the campaign attempting to reach certain conditions. These conditions include using a specific weapon, performing X amount of headshots etc. Contract mode is a nice little addition which offers an incentive to continue playing the game.
When it comes to controls on the PlayStation Vita it is hit and miss with me. I find my hands cramp up very easily holding the controller, and while this did happen during the game I did feel it was more of the Vita’s fault and not the game. When playing Killzone Mercenary for the first time I did find aiming rather difficult as it felt rather slow and difficult to line up shots right, but after a few minutes this issue went away after I got used to it.
Finally I just want to mention that Killzone Mercenary is a beautiful looking game. The game uses a modified version of the Killzone 3 rending engine and well it really brings out the power of the PS Vita with high resolution textures and good lighting.
Killzone Mercenary is a good handheld shooter which sees you take on the role of a mercenary for a higher during the war between the Helghast and ISA. The game has a relatively short campaign with it clocking in at 4 hours, but the game’s multiplayer and contract modes make up for the short campaign.
Killzone Mercenary Information
Developer: Guerrilla Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: First person shooter
Rating: Mature 17+
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release date: out now