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Killzone: Mercenary (PS Vita) Review.

The PS Vita is taking off at long last. A timely price cut coupled with great value packs and games has swung the mood of the Vita to new heights. Killzone Mercenary is the latest title in the AAA franchise for Sony which sees the series for the first time replicate and enhance the PS3 console versions-even bettering those in some ways. After the miserable attempts last year from Resistance and Call Of Duty for the Vita, the Vita finally has a very good shooter on the console.

Killzone Mercenary as the name suggests centres around a mercenary group. You control a mercenary-fighting neither the ISA or the Helghast for international supremacy. You are fighting them for money, contracts and the sense of right, wrong is eluding to the player. The game takes place mostly on the Earth like planet Vekta in which the player battles through a variety of missions with different enemies, objectives etc. The main set of missions does not unfortunately live up to Killzone 2 nor does it have the gratuitous harsh enemies that will adapt and overcome your every move. What it does do is make FPS gameplay appealing for a handheld console and fun.

Graphically, the game is lush with vibrant colours, detailed effects and lighting. The game uses a new modelled version of the Killzone 3 engine from 2011 on the PS3 and arguably looks better. Character modelling is impressive with faces, suits and those pesky red eyes being more fleshed out than before. The environmental design holds up extremely well also but is faced with some cliche linear design.

There are a wide range of weapons and loadouts to use-more so than ever before in a Killzone game. These weapons are unlocked from you purchasing them and the player can purchase these weapons from money gained across multiplayer and single player. What this translates into is a careful consideration of the mission. An assault rifle and silenced pistol will do for most missions for an all round edge. But what about when your faced with a tank? Or a team of marksmen shooting at you from afar? Luckily, the player in missions can change their loadout at arms dealer checkpoints-similar to the system used in Battlefield.

It is a game at times looted with FPS cliche. Some of the most exciting sequences appear in the cutscenes and you-as the player is thinking why am I not doing that directly? Linear level design is perhaps expected although in fairness to the game makes more than one route available to the player in tackling different situations. This is frequent throughout each mission.

The multiplayer-despite limited to 8 players (4 vs4) and 6 maps is FPS multiplayer at its finest despite being on a handheld. There are three modes-deathmatch, team deathmatch and warzone-a collection of team based objectives. Warzone excels in particular and operates a new system. Instead of teams winning rounds with the score ending 3-2 or 4-1, points are accumulated and then are totalled. So even if your team win three rounds, if your team did significantly bad in two of those rounds then the other team can win.

Van-guards make an appearance as killstreaks without the need for kills. Players can access these through downed capsules and when interacted can use these drones for devastating effect. It makes multiplayer games much more open than before with players able to get the edge without having necessarily played the game more. In my first game, I got 40 kills to 12 deaths and was using the standard equipment. Enemy players had better equipment than myself but the game is even.

With all that considered, the Vita finally has a FPS game in which is of the AAA standard even if it is more suited to burst gameplay at times. A very enjoyable and fun shooter with some net innovations.

What is good.

-The controls

-The Graphics


-As modern FPS games go, its well rounded and has a nice blend of action, stealth for choice.

What is bad.

-Not as difficult as the console versions

-Limited to 8 players online

-Some cliched design and linearity

Killzone Mercenary is one of the best games available on the platform. This is a true example of how shooters can work on the Vita with the benefit of dual analogue controls. A brilliant shooter held by by genre stipulations. Despite its flaws, its enjoyment and value rivals that of Killzone 2 and Battlefield 3. This is turning into a stellar year for gaming. 10/10.



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