European Box Art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Designer(s)||Mathijs de Jonge (game director)
Neil Alphonso (Lead Level Designer)
|Composer(s)||Joris de Man|
|Engine||Deferred Rendering engine, Havok (game physics)|
|Release date(s)||EU February 25, 2009
AUS February 26, 2009
UK February 27, 2009
NA February 27, 2009
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, Tactical shooter|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, online multiplayer|
Killzone 2 is a first-person shooter for the PlayStation 3, developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the third installment in the Killzone series that began on the PlayStation 2 with Killzone and continued on the PlayStation Portable with Killzone: Liberation. The game was first announced at E3 2005, with a tech demo on display, while the first gameplay footage was shown two years later at E3 2007. Killzone 2 was released worldwide late February 2009.
Killzone 2 follows the events of Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, and is set entirely on the planet Helghan, the home-world of the Helghast who invaded an Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) colony. Two years after the Helgast assault on Vehkta, the I.S.A. had launched an assault on the enemy's homeworld of Helghan. The ISA goal is to capture the Helghast leader, Scolar Visari, and bring the Helghast war machine to a halt. Players assume the role of Sergeant Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko, a battle-hardened veteran of the special forces unit the "Legion" assigned to Alpha team, who goes on a mission to take out the Helghast threat.
During the invasion of Helghan, Sev's unit is deployed behind enemy lines to assist the main invasion force. Tasked with securing the enemy capital of Pyrhus, Helghan's first true city, the team quickly discovers that the Helghast are a more formidable enemy on their home planet. Not only are they well-adapted to Helghan's hostile conditions, they have also harnessed the power of the freakish lightning storms that always occur on Helghan which they can now use against the ISA. A cold, barren, unforgiving world, Helghan provides a ready defense with thick, acidic air, dust clouds, and violent surgical lightning storms. Sev discovers his squad is not just fighting enemy forces—their fiercest opponent may be the planet itself.
In the prologue, the ISA has set up their Cruiser airships, including the New Sun, up in the clouds of Helghan over its capital city, Pyrrhus, preparing for a final attack. Then, the invasion begins. The ISA, including Alpha Team, are deployed in an attempt to capture the city. The invasion is seemingly successful until the Helghast activate their main defense system, a series of arc towers throughout the city, killing many soldiers and severely damaging the first wave of the assault; however, the fight between the ISA and Helghast continues.
Using a piece of an arc tower picked up earlier, scientist Evelyn Batton discovers that the arc towers are composed of an element called Petrusite, and large portions of the mysterious element are located around the outskirts of Tharsis Refinery. The Alpha team is ordered to accompany Evelyn and travel to the outskirts of the city in an attempt to find a way to disable the towers.
During the mission, Sev and Rico depart from the others in order to activate a communications tower. Before the tower is activated, however, Garza, Natko and Evelyn are captured by Helghast. Eventually, Sev and Rico find their squad: they see Colonel Radec and his guards preparing to execute them. While Sev waits, Rico's impatience causes him to rush in, in an attempt to save the squad. Unfortunately, Garza is mortally wounded and Radec escapes. The only thing they can do is return back to the New Sun. Evelyn heads to the nearest Communications tower to call for extraction. The squad is then attacked by more Helghast troops, but they are able to fend off the enemies. Unfortunately, when ISA support finally lands, Garza collapses and dies in Sev's arms.
Back aboard the New Sun, Sev mourns for Garza; however, it is interrupted by a Helghast attack on the ISA fleet. All ships, including the New Sun, are boarded. In the assault, Colonel Radec reaches the bridge where he shoots and kills Evelyn and mortally wounds Fleet Commander Colonel Jan Templar. Before leaving, Radec steals the nuclear strike codes for the (previously stolen) nuclear weapons. Templar, in a final act of self-sacrifice, manages to deactivate the thrusters on the New Sun, sending it falling down to Helghan. The ship as coordinated crashes into Tharsis Refinery, destroying the city's petrusite defense grid.
With the grid down, the ISA advance and attempt to regroup near Visari's palace in Pyrrhus; however, a nuclear bomb is detonated within the city, destroying it, along with most of the ISA forces. Despite such events, Alpha team and the last remaining ISA attack the palace to face very heavy Helghast resistance.
During the final assault, Sev and Rico severely injure Radec, who commits suicide to avoid capture.
Finally, Sev and Rico find Scolar Visari who is waiting for them. He tells Sev that the war is far from over, and if they capture or kill him, the Helghast would remember him as a martyr. This would cause the Helghast to fight with more determination in order to destroy the Vektans, and that he is the only one who is keeping the Helghast "under control".
Rico, who decides to avenge Templar along with other ISA members, gun down Visari. As Visari succumbs to his wounds, he mutters his last words: "The madness...begins."
Worn from all the occurrences, Sev leaves the palace and sits on the entrance stairs. There, he sees an overwhelmingly giant Helghast fleet destroying what is left of the ISA fleet and sees, first hand, what Visari envisioned.
The game is presented almost entirely from a first person perspective, aside from vehicular combat. Killzone 2 features a "lean and peek" cover system which allows the player to take cover behind an object and then pop out to fire at enemies. The "lean and peek" mechanic stays in first person view at all times. It is also possible for Sev to pilot vehicles at two points in the game: a tank and an exoskeleton. Many classic weapons and vehicles from previous Killzone installments returns, such as the M82-G and the StA-52 LAR. The Sixaxis motion control feature is also utilized in performing certain actions such as turning a valve, arming an explosive charge and sniping. Game director Mathijs de Jonge has confirmed there are currently no plans to have co-op in Killzone 2.
Warzone, the title of the online multiplayer component of Killzone 2 has been developed by Guerrilla Games in conjunction with the game's single-player campaign. The online multiplayer gameplay is class-based, meaning the player can choose a class of character which is specialized for a specific role to better suit the player's needs in battle. There are 7 classes in total, in which the player can mix and match two according to their playing style, and can switch abilities upon death.
There are 15 weapons available to the player, most of which cannot be used until the player reaches a certain rank. Two of these weapons are secondary firearms, and a further two weapons (Boltgun and Flamethrower) are exclusive to the downloadable maps "Suljeva Cliffside" and "Arctower Landing".
Players play as either the ISA or Helghast, with a few gameplay difference, the character model and respawn points, and the "lean and peek" cover system removed. Each class levels up with experience gained from killing or completing mission objectives, with enough experience they unlock new weapons, skills etc. as well as a new class that is unlocked. Each class has two badges, the Primary badge selects the class and their specified skill, the secondary badge has an extra skill for the specified class but can be swapped to create your own custom class.
Warzone plays out through dynamic matches where multiple game types are played in a single round. The game ships with five different game types including Assassination, Search & Retrieve, Search & Destroy, Bodycount and Capture & Hold. Online matches can connect 2 to 32 players, and they can group into six squads of up to four players. If an online match does not have a full 32 players, computer-generated "bots" can be added in to create bigger teams (but only in an unranked match). Killzone 2 also offers a clan system, which allows clans of up to 64 players to compete for "Valor Points", an in-game currency that clans can use to bet on tournaments.
Players can also play offline against AIs with Skirmish mode and unranked online multiplayer but there's no offline multiplayer mode for splitscreen human players.
Eight multiplayer maps are included on disc at release, Guerrilla has stated that further maps will be made available as future downloadable content. A further 6 maps have been added to multiplayer since release via downloadable content purchasable from the PlayStation Store.
On April 10, 2009 Hermen Hulst, Managing Director from Guerrilla Games announced on GameTrailers TV that Killzone 2 will be getting a DLC map pack named "Steel & Titanium" which will contain two new maps called Wasteland Bullet and Vekta Cruiser. With new gameplay elements and strategic twists. The first DLC map pack was released on Thursday, April 30. Hulst stated that the next Killzone 2 DLC map pack that they will be releasing will have a 'Retro Vibe' to it.
The second map pack was officially announced on May 20, 2009 as "Flash and Thunder", and features two maps previously seen in Killzone called "Beach Head" and "The Southern Hills". Both maps followed the first map pack by bringing new gameplay elements and strategic twists; Beach Head, the wide open battlefield, with rain-filled trenches, and Southern Hills with its intermittent nuke explosion. It was released on June 11, 2009.
Both map packs have twelve trophies that go along with them, six for each map.
On July 10 the third map pack was officially announced, even though Sony stated that there were no plans for a third pack. The DLC "Napalm and Cordite" was released on July 23 2009, it contained two new maps "Suljeva Cliffside" and "Arctower Landing", in addition to the maps the Flamethrower and the Boltgun both from singleplayer made their debut in multiplayer. The Flamethrower is found in the Suljeva Cliffside map and the Boltgun is found in the Arctower Landing map.
A Multiplayer Map Pack Bundle was also released to coincide with the release of Napalm and Cordite, containing all six maps from the DLC packs, for the price of four maps.
Downloadable Content pack three has eight trophies that go along with it, four for each map which are for the new weapons.
With the fifth anniversary of the original Killzone taking place, the map pack "Flash & Thunder" was reduced in price in North America and Europe.
At E3 2005, Killzone 2 was debuted with a trailer depicting soldiers landing in a hostile war-zone on Helghan and fighting Helghast forces. Critics in the media argued that the trailer shown at the trade show did not show actual gameplay footage, as its high level of visual detail has been argued to be impossible to render in real-time on the PlayStation 3 and the audio mix of the trailer was slightly delayed. SCEA's Vice President, Jack Tretton, stated that the footage of Killzone 2, that was believed to be pre-rendered, "is real gameplay everybody's seeing out there". Several days later, Phil Harrison, SCE Europe's Vice President of Development, stated in an interview that all of the footage of PlayStation 3 games at E3 2005 were "running off video" which was "done to PS3 spec". Further interviews eventually revealed the trailer was indeed a "target render", a prerendered video showing the developer's goals for the finished product.
At the Game Developers Conference in 2007, a Killzone 2 teaser was shown behind closed doors, and was never released to the public. It featured various battles, destructible environments, and lighting effects among others. Killzone 2 was shown to a panel of journalists at a special pre-E3 2007 event in Culver, California, and then the next day to the public at Sony's E3 press conference. An in-game trailer showing real-time gameplay of Killzone 2 was also released, along with several videos of extended gameplay. A number of media outlets since E3, such as the BBC, have referred to Killzone 2 as being "one of the most cinematic and immersive games ever produced on a console." At the Leipzig Games Convention in 2007, Killzone 2 was presented in playable form to the media. It was the same demo level as shown at E3 2007, although journalists were allowed to play it hands-on. At Sony's PlayStation Day 2008, the first level in Killzone 2’s single-player campaign was presented, named "Corinth River".
Beta access was given to a select number of North American and European PlayStation Network subscribers. The beta consisted of three online multiplayer maps; "Blood Gracht" (small), "Radec Academy" (medium) and "Salamun Market" (large), with unlockable ranks and character classes ("badges"). Beta testers had their own statistics and have the ability to enter clan competitions. Beta access was private and thus could not be shared with other PlayStation Network accounts. Also, beta testers are tied with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. by a non-disclosure agreement; therefore they were not allowed to reveal contents of the beta experience.
A technical demo of one of Killzone 2's TV commercials, known as the "Bullet" trailer, was released on the PlayStation Store on April 2, 2009. The demo features the commercial itself, the ability to shift camera angles and film speed, and several commentaries from key development staff at Guerrilla Games.
On February 5, SCEE released a single player demo of Killzone 2 on the European/Oceanic PlayStation Store. The demo includes the first two sections of ‘Corinth River’ (the first level of the game) as well as the tutorial sequence from the final game.
A demo card, granting access to a Killzone 2 demo was also offered to US gamers who pre-ordered the game at GameStop. The US demo was also made available to those customers on February 5, 2009.
In the North American version of PlayStation Home, if users found an avatar dressed in a Helghast costume, the avatar with the Helghast costume would give that user a code for the demo. This occurred on February 16, 2009.
On February 26, the demo was made available for download from the PlayStation Store in North America.
In the North American version of PlayStation Home, if users pre-ordered Killzone 2 from Amazon.com, users received free male and female I.S.A. and Helghast uniforms for their avatar. In the European version of PlayStation Home, if users participated in the "Killzone AM" event that took place on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 11 am CET for one full round, the Home Managers gave the participants a code for the Killzone 2 uniforms. Requirement was that users had to have a United Kingdom PSN account. For a limited time in Japanese Home, users received an I.S.A. uniform for watching the Killzone 2 trailer and answering a questionnaire. To get the Helghast uniform in Japan, users had to do a pre-order.
In Home's shopping complex, there are fourteen — seven for male and seven for female — Killzone 2 themed shirts available for purchase as well as the Helghast Tactician uniform. A costume for Radec was released on March 4, 2010 to the European Home.
A Home space for Killzone 2 has been confirmed as well as Game Launching. Whether this Home space is the Visari Throne Room apartment or an interactive game space is to be determined.
Guerrilla Games have released a Killzone 2 themed apartment called the "Visari Throne Room" for Home. The Visari Throne Room apartment is based on the throne room inside Visari’s Palace from the final mission of Killzone 2. For the Visari Throne Room, there are five pieces of furniture based on actual palace furnishings from Killzone 2: two types of Visari-style chairs, an administrative desk, a plant container with authentic Helghan vegetation, and a freestanding painting which portrays an important moment in the colonial history of the Helghast. The Visari Throne Room and matching furniture were made available to the European Home on July 2, 2009, the North American on August 27, 2009, and the Asian and Japanese Home on October 9, 2009.
Michal Valient, a Senior Programmer at Guerrilla Games, presented details of their Killzone 2 proprietary game engine at a Developers Conference in July 2007. As with many other titles published by SCE, including LittleBigPlanet and inFamous, Killzone 2 uses a deferred shading engine which enables far greater control over the game's characteristic lighting palette, while maximising processor throughput and limiting shader complexity. Other games to use similar approaches include Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto IV and GSC Game World's Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. However, this approach does create some additional problems; notably with respect to anti-aliasing and transparencies. The former was solved using a MSAA Quincunx (multisample anti-aliasing) solution, and the latter by the addition of a standard forward rendering path. The game's graphics were universally praised by critics.
The animation was done in Maya 8.5 with some motion capture animations tweaked in MotionBuilder. 3D artists, animators and level designers used Maya as their production environment, which is unusual considering that most 3D games are produced using 3ds max. A large library of custom Maya tools and scripts was created to support these different disciplines. Tools like "Hyperion" which replaced Maya’s viewport rendering software with a lightmap rendering software. In-game animation was assisted with another tool they created called AnimationBlender and Particle effects were edited using a tool called "Particle Editor". They also created a tool called "ColorTweaker", which gave them the possibility to do color correction on the PS3 in real-time.
Most of the animation was done using motion capture with some animations, reload animations for example, done by hand. Facial animation was done using blendshapes with bones for the jaw and the eyes. Lead tech artist, Paulus Bannink, explains that "The main reason for going with blendshapes was the relative ease with which they can be transferred to different faces, it would also provide a more artist friendly way of editing the facial animation rig.". The cut scene facial animation was done using marker motion capture. In game dialog was done generically using MotionBuilder after audio files were plugged in. The game was developed not only by artists in Amsterdam, but also by people living in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, the UK and the US. The data files, gigabytes in size, were sent over the internet.
The score to Killzone 2 was composed by Joris de Man, who scored 60 minutes of in-game music and 30-minutes of live orchestral score for the game, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, with the Nimrod Studio Orchestra.
|Official PlayStation Magazine (US)||5/5|
|Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)||9/10|
|Official PlayStation Magazine (Australia)||10/10|
|Play Magazine||93% |
In Issue 27 of the Australian Official PlayStation Magazine, Killzone 2 received a 10/10, and the game was said to have "amazing, fluid graphics and animation" as well as "beautifully constructed levels and intense sweaty-palmed action." The review concluded saying "Killzone 2 is the best console first person shooter ever made." In their February 2009 issue, the US version of Official PlayStation Magazine gave Killzone 2 a score of 5/5, stating players "will instantly tag this sequel as a powerful contender for best game of 2009." In the February 2009 issue of the Official UK Playstation Magazine, they awarded Killzone 2 a 9/10 with the editor Tim Clark stating, "The most surprising thing isn't the visuals - anyone who's seen recent footage will know it's the most handsome thing on the system - but the fact it's got the gameplay to match." 
In their review, Edge gave Killzone 2 a 7/10, praising the online multiplayer, attention to detail, "unparalleled graphics" and the pacing of the single-player campaign, but included criticism of the game's use of "gameplay clichés" and its weak storyline and characters.
GameSpot did not review the game until after its release so that they could experience its online multiplayer features in more depth. Reviewer Kevin VanOrd gave Killzone 2 a 9/10 saying: "Killzone 2 boasts amazing visuals, an intense campaign, and extraordinary online play that will keep you coming back for more." but described the game's story and characters as "forgettable" and said that the motion controls seemed "tacked-on".
The debut sales of Killzone 2 in the United States were 323,000 within 48 hours of launch. The game failed to meet expectations in March and April, when it sold 296,000 and 58,000 units respectively; by the beginning of May, the game had sold 677,000 copies in the United States. Killzone 2 debuted at number one in UK sales to become the fourth fastest-selling Sony published title ever. In Japan, the game debuted at number 3, selling 41,000 units. On the 16th of April, Sony announced that sales of Killzone 2 had surpassed one million worldwide.
Killzone 2 won Best PS3 Shooter from IGN. It won Best Competitive Multiplayer, Best Sound Design, Most Improved Sequel and Best Shooter from GameSpot editor's choice. It won Best Graphics in the G-Phoria 2009 Awards. It also took in Game of the Year from Gamereactor.