View Full Version : Game Review: Killzone: Liberation (PSP)

March 14th, 2007, 21:47
Killzon: Liberation
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Guerilla
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Reviewed on PSP by gdf

The original Killzone was released a couple of years ago on the PS2 after an enormous amount of hype, mainly orchestrated by magazines. When it came out it proved a very enjoyable, if unoriginal game, and wasn't quite the "Halo-beater" that it was widely tipped to be. After the implausibly beautiful PS3 trailer for Killzone 2 appeared the hype once again stirred. Over a year on and with no more news concerning it, fans felt lost. Not any more.

Killzone Liberation is a pint sized version of the shooter that continues the story of the first game. You play as Keller from the first game- on a mission to hunt down the evil Helghast officer General Metrac- but from an altogether different perspective (quite literally). Instead of being in first person, the game's developers Guerilla decided to take the player a step (or twenty) back from the action and have a psuedo top down view a la Metal Gear Solid. Amazingly it seems to have worked and the game proves more fun and rewarding in the new view. The controls are very well adapted to the portable's limited button arrangement and the game maintains the feel of the original. Your man can roll, melee, shoot, grenade, reload, order squadmates, perform context actions, crouch, cover and even strafe thanks to good thinking on the developer's part. It almost feels like Gears of War Mini at some rather excellent parts of the game, especially due to the clever cover system...

You press R to crouch and if you are behind cover when you do so then you attatch to it. To fire over you press square, and thanks to a laser sight and some subtle auto aiming, blasting enemies is easier than ever; of course this is compensated for by the nails-hard Helghast, who can take more lead than a stack of peiodic tables (I know, that was awful). The system works surprisingly well, and this is good, since without it getting past Level 1 would drive most to suicide. Another life-saver is the strafing, which is activated by pressing L. This makes you lock-on to the nearest enemy and lets you circle round like a little crab with guns-for-claws. It is well implemented and becomes second nature after fifteen minutes' play.

There are only eight guns in the game and they only become available by progressing in the story, but they are a tight, well balanced lot, all of which have spcific strengths and weakness'. My personal favourite has to be the magnum, a great combination of fire rate, accuracy, power and reload speed. Sadly, only one gun can be carried at a time, which doesn't help when you want a sniper or a bazooka and a shorter range weapon, but have to settle for the most boring one purely because you simply wouldn't be able to progress using just the more powerful or longer range weapons. On a happier note, throwing grenades has been well adapted. You simply press circle to enter grenade mode and tap fire when you want to throw. When in this mode, a set trajectory appears and you move around, locking on to specific targets if necessary.

One area the controls fall down slightly is in the conrol of the Tanks, a bizzare mixture of shoulder button rotation and weird face button driving. Thankfully these are few and far between enough so as not to disrupt the rest of the game. Another potential sticky area is the VIP escorting, though thankfully this is one game where a) they can take care of themselves and b) they do what you tell them to. This is the kind of thing that puts many next gen games to shame and is a reflection on the excellent AI on show. Enemies will crouch behind cover like you and help each other out, trying to flank your position. Of course this can be put to rights with a few blasts of the shotgun or a lobbed pineapple.

The action in the game is tense and exciting, especially when you have a teammate in tow. A tap of select brings the pace of the game to a crawl, and you select a position, enemy or your character and they will go there/kill them/follow you. Sadly there aren't nearly enough of these sections as it's a great way of ordering the AI; very streamlined and simple, but effective. Another commendable element of the game is the graphical punch it carries, with some excellent effects and enemy death physics. The visuals are well above par for a portable game and it impressively matches up to the first game on the creaky old PS2.

Multiplayer is great in Liberation and an online download will be out soon- enabling you to take on the world wirelessly- thus extending it's already decent lifespan. Combined with the story and excellent challenge mode, this could keep the UMD in your PSP for months to come. A warning however; this game is HAAAAARD. The levels are long and arduous and you'll be swearing at the screen more than once throughout the single player. You'll get to the end of a level, heaving a sigh of releif, when a giant tank boss comes up behind you. SHIT! The difficulty does provide a worthy challenge however, and if you're into beating hard games then this will be right up your street.

Despite some small flaws, Killzone Liberation is superb and these comparisons I made during play are testament to what a great game it is: Halo, Killzone 1, Contra, Gears of War, Rainbow 6: Vegas. If I haven't convinced you yet, then you should take your PSP and smash it up, because without this game you don't deserve to have that system. Killzone Liberation is a great example of how to do a shooter on portable consoles; keeping the feel of the original, but adapting it to the different platform and along the way far surpassing it in terms of quality and quantity. This game is a gem and should not be ignored in favour of endless retro collections, miss at your own risk.

Replay Value 4/5
Sound 4/5
Graphics 4.5/5
Gameplay 4.5/5

Superb execution, silky visuals and impressive AI make this an experience not to be missed.

March 14th, 2007, 23:14
Nice review. I enjoyed Killzone Liberation.