Hardcore shooter fans remember the original Killzone on the PS2 as a game with a ton of promise that couldn’t provide the gameplay experience many were looking for. Backed by a strong marketing campaign and a solid story, the game was supposed to be Sony’s answer to Doom on the X-BOX. Instead, it became a resounding failure destined for the bargain bin.
However, unlike the first game in the series, Killzone: Liberation has almost nothing in common with its predecessor and is one of the best games on the system.
While there have been wholesale changes made to the series on the PSP, the biggest change in Killzone: Liberation is that the old first person view that was featured in the game has been put to rest. Now an overhead third-person shooter, Killzone: Liberation plays more like the classic Metal Gear on the NES than the boring First-Person Shooter it was based on, providing a breath of fresh air into a series that was pretty close to extinction a few months ago.
Going hand in hand with the new camera system is the solid auto aiming system. While auto-aiming has been implemented in numerous shooters on the PSP since its inception, it’s never been as executed as well as it is in Killzone: Liberation. Regardless of where your enemy is, if you’re close enough to him or your gun is in his general vicinity, most of your shots will hit him. Some may feel that this takes some of the fun out of the game, but considering the fact that the game is incredibly difficult, it’s most likely that you’ll need all the help you can get.
The only elements that have really been carried over from the original game are the sound and the graphics. Despite the camera change, gamers familiar with the first Killzone will recognize the enemies and surroundings, feeling at home with the environment right away. As well, anyone who hasn’t played the first game will still appreciate the game’s graphics and solid animations. In addition, the game’s sound effects, everything from enemies cursing and screaming when their shot, also add a shot of realism and drama into an already intense game.
Considering all of the changes that have been made to the series, Killzone: Liberation is the fresh new beginning the series needed to survive and is easily one of the best games on Sony’s struggling handheld. The game’s graphics and sound alone merit moderate praise, but its harsh challenge and venerable gameplay make it stand out of the crowd. While many may find it too difficult at times, it’s still a welcome addition to any PSP owner’s collection and is even worth a rental for non-shooter fans.