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Killzone: Liberation PSP

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Guerilla
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

This year at E3 many complained how there was no news on the PlayStation 3 version of Killzone. Last year at E3 everyone was surprised by the footage that was shown because of the excellent quality of the graphics and the debate to whether this was pre-rendered or actual in-game footage is still undecided. Still I’m a bit baffled by all of the interest in the game. We gave the first game in the series (on the PlayStation 2) a well deserved 6/10. Yes it had excellent graphics (for a PlayStation 2 game) but other areas of the game were much less impressive. There are going to be plenty of reasons to own a PlayStation 3 but I don’t see a Killzone game as being one of them. Maybe this PSP addition to the series can stir my interest?

If you’ve seen screenshots of the game you will know that the PSP game is quite different from the rather mediocre effort that graced the PlayStation 2. In terms of the storyline, Killzone: Liberation is a continuation of the one found in the PlayStation 2 version. The battle against the Helghast is still raging. Your job, as Templar, is to undertake a covert operation to save the hostages that have been captured by General Armin Metrac. Of course whilst all this is going on the ISA troops are continuing to fight for liberty. As well as the single-player campaign there is also a Challenge Games mode and support for ad hoc co-operative play. The game even supports game sharing and additional downloads that will be available in the future.

The game is played from an isometric perspective. This might seem like a crazy decision but after only 10 minutes of playing the game I found myself beginning to warm to Killzone: Liberation. The reason for that is the game is actually enjoyable. Playing the game from a third person viewpoint works surprisingly well on the PSP, better in fact than it would have done if the game had been another FPS. Liberation isn’t a run and gun shooter. You’re encouraged to make use of cover whenever possible. The game has a nice array of different firearms and explosives. You’ll even get to drive a tank and hovercraft at various points in the game. Templar can crouch and roll to avoid enemy fire and avoiding enemy fire (and grenades) is rather challenging at times due to some rather good enemy AI.

Visually the game looks good. Killzone: Liberation reprises the rather dreary look of the original Killzone quite nicely. Full marks must to the developers for not skimping on the visual effects. The explosions look very nice and very impressive for a handheld console. The character models are nicely detailed too and they react in a believable way when they are shot down. Perhaps the most impressive thing of all is the frame rate which always remains smooth no matter how hectic the action.

Killzone: Liberation is subtitled and the subtitles are enabled by default. As a result you’ll be able to follow not only the game’s story but all the important conversations during the game. All tutorial messages are subtitled too. The chapter introductions are in text only. The mission briefings are in text, as are the objectives. The objectives can be recalled at any time. There are no captions or visual warnings for when Templar lets out a yell when he hurts himself walking too close to the barbed wire fences. Eventually though I daresay you’ll notice the health bar depleting rather quickly. Some sort of caption to show the yell would have been preferable though.

I found Killzone: Liberation to be pleasantly surprising. I don’t know why but it somehow reminded me of that old Capcom game, Commando, that I used to play back in the 1980s. The decision not to make an FPS on the PSP was a wise one as this third person perspective version works much better. In fact it’s fair to say I enjoyed the game. It’s just a shame you can’t play online. Had support for infrastructure mode been supported it would have made the game an excellent overall package. Killzone: Liberation is easily one of the better games we’ve seen on the PSP and unlike the game that appeared on the PlayStation 2 is worthy of your attention.

Overall Game Rating 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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At last we have a Killzone game to finally get excited about. Unlike the PlayStation 2 version this is engaging stuff. If only you could play the game online we would have a great all-round PSP title.