Innovation is usually a good thing in games. It's much more satisfying to do something you've never done before than to play the same game over again with different weapons. Killzone shoots for originality, misses, and hits somewhere between being unique and a rehash.
Killzone is a first person shooter for the ps2. The story is set in a futuristic time, when a group of humans is forced to another planet where the proceed to mutate, become annoyed at being forced to move out, and come back with a vengeance. Your part of the story involves an attack by the helghast (nazis) against the allies. It's the basic "you're enemies are evil. Kill them. Your friends are good. Don't kill them" story told in almost every first person shooter. There's some plot between your squadmates, but frankly you don't lose much by skipping the story.
The single player is fun, for a time. Enemies will attack and your allies will fire back. In levels where you have alot of friends, this feels like war. In the rest of the game, where it's just your squad of four people, it gets boring. This is because your squadmates are invulnerable. You can have an enemy tank blasting away at your entire squad and the only one who is killed is you. They yell and complain when "taking heavy fire" but that's like the terminator whining about a pellet gun. I can see how having your squadmates die would mess with the minimalistic story, but the 10,000th time your squadmates yell "I'm taking heavy fire!", you'll start shooting them yourself.
They don't really make up for it with AI either. Your squadmates will move around and shoot, but mostly they just stay behind you while you become the whipping boy for the entire helghast army. Luckily the helghast don't seem to excited about the whipping. Sometimes, when shot, they'll duck down and point their guns menacingly at lizards as if to say "Area clear, reptiles secure sir!". When they do eventually decide to shoot back, they do so with incredible unfairness. While you have the aim of a one-armed man with leprosy firing a minigun, they all compete at the olympic level. It seems realistic for your guns to have a recoil, but it's a tad ridiculous to be firing at an enemy ten feet away and miss 50% of the time. Meghann Morrill
would not be proud. Of course, when you actually manage to hit your enemies, it doesn't do too much. titanium alloy armor is apparantly standard for the helghast army, so they can withstand tank shells, rocket blasts, and a dozen shots from your gun. Even hitting them in the head doesn't really seem to have much of an effect. On the other hand, the sniper rifle kills in one shot. Go figure.
The weapons try to make up for this with their creativity and variety. You'll find everything from a grenade launcher pistol to a guided rocket launcher to rocket launcher/minigun hybrids in addition to your standard assault rifles and pistols. Alot of these weapons function about the same, so if you find a new one, it won't take you much time to figure it out. You also have mounted gun and sniper rifles, but the mounted guns only appear when necessary and the sniper rifle is nearly impossible to aim with. Once zoomed in, you can move the reticle around the screen for finer aiming. Only by moving the stick to the extremes can you move the screen around. Sounds good on paper, but with the looseness of the ps2 controller, you'll have trouble even looking at the enemy. The control stick, while useful for just about everything else, is definitely NOT designed for first person shooters. You'll find yourself pointing in the general direction of the enemy, then just aiming with the movement controls because otherwise you'll be shooting ten feet to either side of your target.
Aside from the single player game, you can play with the computer or with other people in either a split screen or online game. You have regular and team deathmatches, along with other gametypes like ctf and assault, but ctf can only go so far and assault is pointless because nobody actually makes it to the other base alive and your computer teammates won't even try. However, once the action gets going, things can be frantic and fun pretty fast. Your camera in this game tries to imitate what the character would be seeing, so when reloading you'll look down at your gun as you put a new clip in, you'll get shell shock, and grendes will blind you for a few seconds. When artillery is exploding all around and enemies are shooting just over your head as you duck behind a sandbag, desperately trying to reload your gun, the game almost completely redeems itself. Then you pop up and see ten enemies all standing there, looking at butterflies and you mow them down.
The game has alot of good features. You have a sprint option, which uses up a stamina bar. The screen blurs when sprinting, giving a nice sense of speed. You can choose which squadmate to play as in the single player campaign and they all play differently, making for a varied experience. The graphics are nice, with a gritty WWII feeling and there's hardly any slowdown. Unfortunately, the levels are very linear. You have one set path and the solid wall with the "tree" texture won't let you go anywhere else.
Ultimately, this game is a decent shooter. It has good points like the feeling of being in a war when things get hectic and the variety of weapons, but more bad points like terrible control, idiotic AI and horribly linear levels. A good rent, but only a buy if you're a first person shooter nut.