Preview – Killzone Mercenary (PS Vita)
HI, I’m Glenn, and I’m a Killzone-aholic. There, I admitted it (that’s the first step, right?) Sony was awesome enough to send us this preview build for Killzone Mercenary for the Vita, and I couldn’t have been more excited. This is the same content that was available to play at E3, but being able to relax, play the entire level, and actually be able to hear makes a world of difference.
As a mercenary, you’ll be sent-in on covert missions behind enemy lines. For this mission, you’re required to penetrate a Helghan base that controls a battery of cannons. When you get in, you’ll hack the cannons and send control to the Vectans, who will then turn them back on their enemies.
Your team swoops in using glider suits, and when you land, you ride a cable car into the base. Then all hell breaks loose. Alarms sound, and soldiers move in to find you, all while you search for a way to get the doors open. The visuals are incredibly similar to those in Killzone 3, and the Vita’s luscious OLED screen brings every pixel to life. All of this is brought to you with stunningly smooth framerate, better than I ever expected (especially after the first two FPS titles that were on the Vita.) Everything just pops off of the screen at you, just as it did in the PS3 iterations before this.
Controls are great too, surprising since the sticks are so much shorter on the Vita when compared to those of the Dual Shock 3. As I showed from E3, you’ll have a good amount of control options to use, including being able to use motion for aiming (which worked fantastically in Uncharted: Golden Abyss, set the grenade so that it can be cooked or simply thrown, and use the rear pad for running or not (I used it, and it worked great once I got used to it.) If you’ve played any of the Killzone games before, you’ll feel right at home. The biggest change is that melee attacks are now performed by touching the screen when you’re close enough, then you’ll swipe a certain direction on the screen when prompted… and yes, the melee’s are as brutal as ever!
As a mercenary, these missions are all about earning cash, which can be used throughout the levels as you purchase new weapons, armor, and other upgrades. You do so when you find a blue chest that interfaces you with the marketplace. Everything is easy to navigate with the touch controls, and descriptions of every item are available at the bottom of the screen. Even on this single level, plenty of items are available, and many of the weapons will look very familiar.
As expected, the audio is exceptional. A huge smile covered my face when I heard that first chirp that associates a kill, and even though I should have expected it, the layers of audio took me by surprise. Everything sounds as it should and it dos not disappoint in the least. I was using headphones manly, and I’d recommend that if possible. You get so much more out of the audio design that way.
I will say though, with the effects of the smaller screen, I definitely played through the level much slower than I would on my 55-inch plasma. I don’t think that there’s much that any developer could do to alleviate the differences, but one thing that definitely helped was by using the motion aiming. Once you get used to it, the gameplay takes on a whole new “natural” feel, and it does help immensely. I never had a problem with running around or finding my enemies though, and that’s something that I was really worried about. Guerilla Cambridge have done a great job at bringing Killzone to the Vita, and my craving to get my hands on the full game has now risen to an almost insatiable level. This isn’t just a good FPS “for the Vita”, so far, it’s simply a great FPS in the Killzone universe. Get hype Killzone fans, get some serious hype.