Reviewed by Jimmy | 11.10.06
As we wait for more footage of Killzone for the PS3, Guerilla and Sony have prompted a diversion with Killzone Liberation. Transferred from the first person perspective to a top down shoot Killzone Liberation is amid a giving the gamer something new based in the Killzone universe. Enter the zone, and let the killing begin.
Killzone: Liberation takes place two months after the events in the original Killzone with the Helghast still holding onto Southern Vekta. The man behind the Helghast movement is Scolar Visari, the perfect villian who is motivated for all the wrong reasons. To stop Visari the ISA sends in Jan Templar of the ISA Special Forces, the same guy from the original Killzone. As, Captain Templar, you will have to run across dangerous territory and attempt to save the city of Vekta, along with the daunting task of taking out the Helghast army. This is the set-up for Killzone: Liberation, and if couldn't already tell, Killzone takes its plot line very seriously.
The action takes place in a 3rd person view with a top-down camera style. You will always have an overview of the action, so you have time to plan ahead, and move accordingly. Even with strategic planning your trigger finger will be constantly blasting away at the Helghast because they are a relentless bunch that keep sending wave after wave of disposable heroes. Liberating the Helghast forces isn't as easy as it seems, and for some reason I found Killzone: Liberation to be a challenging little expedition. It's not overbearing and impossible, but the game will provide a challenge for gamers.
Taking out the Heighast is a big job for one man, and even though Templar is tough, he is still going to need help on the battlefield. This is where Killzone brings in the new feature of drivable vehicles, and comrades you can control including the new character Rico Velasques. The drivable vehicles like a massive tank really fit the top-down gameplay style and add a wow factor to Killzone. It's great to run around on foot, but once you get behind a massive killing machine, the fun really starts.
Controlling other characters in Killzone is cleverly accomplished by semi-pausing the action and letting you select markers for your allies to move. The system is easy to use during gun battles and brings a small element of strategy and planning into Killzone: Liberation. I wasn't expecting this feature in the game and I was pleasantly surprised early on when you get to run along side of a fellow ISA solder. Further, I loved how in the middle of battle you can search for ammo, weapons, and do other features like heal friendly solders and arm bombs, etc. Killzone: Liberation is always moving forward and focused on action while adding still taking the time put other gaming elements fluently into the mix
Killzone: Liberation does a good job of immersing you into this pint size world of war. Even with the story being un-original, I still cared for the characters and I wanted to wipe out the Helghast treat. Guerilla Games does a good job pushing the plot forward, along adding some twists and turns along the way. They also seem to bring in supportive characters in the right places making Killzone seem more cohesive rather then a lone hero adventure. Along with the progressive storyline, you can also take on Killzone: Liberation with a friend in a two-player co-op mode.
Even though Killzone: Liberation is a solid game all around, it has one problem that is right up front in the action, that being the loose gun play. Shooting and targeting has a loose feel in Killzone: Liberation which is partly because of PSP stubby analog stick, and the other reason is because Guerilla opted out of an auto target feature. A lots of the time you'll will be blindly shooting and hoping to connect with a target which only gets worse when enemies appear on different levels. For the majority of the game it can be handled, but at times you'll bluntly blame the controls. Another fact that doesn't help the mindless firing of bullets is that you have to watch your ammo carefully. Ammunition is placed along levels in good areas, but if you're heavy on the auto fire you might hear that empty click coming from your trigger. A simple solution would have been a simple targeting system, but some might argue the placement of auto targeting systems would of make Killzone too easy. This is Killzone: Liberations biggest flaw, and although it shouldn't be overlooked, the game is still enjoyable, even if you're firing like a Wildman.
Back to the positive, Killzone: Liberation offers up a small amount of customization which deals with your weapons, health and items you can carry. Keeping your character balanced is key, nothing is worse then running out of ammo during a mission, well, except running out of health. Besides the upgrades Killzone: Liberation kicks in a few multiplayer modes supported in Ad-Hoc. These are deathmatch, assault and capture the flag. The maps are all well developed and a highlight of Killzone: Liberation and Sony is promising downloadable maps and modes at a later date. Now, all you need is to talk in a friend into buying Liberation, and you're headed for hours of fraggin fun.
Killzone: Liberation is a dark, foreboding game with a limited colour palette of grays and brown. The action takes from the same environment styles found in the PS2 version and converts them down for the PSP. Killzone defiantly has its own dark aesthetic that they achieve again for the PSP, but after a while it can get a repetitive. After the first few desolate levels, I would have welcomed any beam of light. Just because the Killzone: Liberation is a dark and repetitive in its colour scheme doesn't mean the graphics are bad. Actually, I respect the fact that Killzone kept the grunge, and you can tell the developer has love for their game because of the high level of detail put into every sceen. Technically Killzone: Liberation is graphically consistent, performing quiet nicely on the PSP.
The sound quality of Killzone: Liberation is also surrounded in a nice level of polish. The tone is still serious which creeps in from all areas. The voice acting is a little forced, but acceptable given the stern serious delivery of lines. The other areas of the audio like the sound effects, explosions, guns, etc. and the soundtrack is superb. Killzone: Liberation has the total package, and falls in suit with a handful of other top quality PSP titles.
Killzone: Liberation might not be the follow up you expected, but don't let the lack of perspective fool you. Killzone: Liberation still offers the same level of action, dramatic storyline and strategy that a FPS would have exulted. Besides, the minor fault in the targeting system, Killzone: Liberation is a finely tuned, polished game that is worth the investment. I recommend you check out Killzone: Liberation. and gamers who like their action with a little strategy, this is one of the top ten games for the PSP.