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Nov. 20 2006
Killzone Liberation - PSP Review
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These graphics are pretty impressive.
Killzone is a game that should require no introduction to any PS2 user. Touted before its release as the PS2ís answer to Halo, the hype surrounding the first Killzone (reviewed here) was massive. So much so that the game was basically doomed before it was even released, as there have been very few titles that have lived up to that amount of hype. Eventually, it came out, and it was a decent enough release, but not the Halo-killer everyone was hoping for. We here at gave the first Killzone 73%, so we werenít expecting anything particularly amazing of any sequels.

However, when we got word of a PSP Killzone game in the works, along with the news that the game was making a move to a top-down view, we started to get a little excited again. Thankfully, this time, Guerilla has been able to deliver a much better and more original-feeling game.

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Stuck in the heat of battle.
Set two months after the end of the first game (and without trying to give anything away for those yet to play the PS2 title), the Helghast have taken a major blow, but have not given up. Kidnapping several ISA VIPs, Templar is charged with a rescue mission, infiltrating the Helghast bases of Southern Vekta, while the remaining ISA troops continue to fight on for liberty. All of this is the fault of one man Ė Helghan General Metrac.

As mentioned, Killzone: Liberation is played from a top-down view rather than first person. This makes for a much more strategic game, and players will almost always die with a run-and-gun approach as worked in the PS2 game. There are no chances to play as the other three characters available in the previous title, but both Rico and Luger will assist you at times. Thankfully, the ally AI is quite good, and you can control where they hide, attack from, who they escort, and even which target to attack if you wish. This is done by simply pressing up on the directional pad, which slows everything down to snail pace. This means that you can direct them about without too much danger of taking shots, but the game never feels as though it stops completely.

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Explosions are pretty spectacular.
Aside from commanding your partner, controls are very simple and easy to pick up, with a lot of context-specific actions along the way. As well as this, players will be given a chance to control a few vehicles (including a hovercraft and a tank) and this is just as intuitive as can be. Controlling Killzone: Liberation really is a breeze. But thatís not to say the game is easy. At times we found ourselves repeating the same section over and over, especially the bosses. There arenít too many hard titles on the PSP to date, so it is refreshing to see a game provide this type of challenge that seems to be lacking in the handheld consoles. That being said, some of the later levels will probably give casual gamers quite some trouble.

Aside from the campaign mode, players can also undertake many challenges upon completing each of the 4 chapters (each with 4 levels Ė total of 16 levels with 6 challenges each) of the game. These are interesting little exercises such as racing through a level to finish in the quickest time, shooting still targets, blowing up platforms with C4 quickly, etc. These add quite a lot of replay to the game as completion of these rewards players with points that can be used to upgrade the single-player character, allowing Templar to hold more grenades and such.

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Man down, man down.
Killzone: Liberation also comes with full co-op mode, as well as the usual styles of competitive multiplayer. While no online multiplayer is running just yet, it has been built into the game and a patch is set for release over the next few months that will allow anyone with the game and Wi-Fi to go online and play all these modes which is something we are eagerly awaiting. You can participate in Ad-Hoc multi-player matches for up to six people, while the game also includes Game Sharing to spead the love.

There really isnít much wrong with Killzone: Liberation Ė the entire game is a solid package. However, one complaint I am seeing a lot, though I myself didnít have the problem, is that people are having issues with the aiming system. For the most part, aiming is controlled freely by turning your character, but then the game will automatically fine-tune the shots. For instance, if an enemy is above or below you, but you can get a clear shot, you need only shoot in their direction and auto-aim will deal with the angle. It takes a little getting used to, but nothing that you shouldnít pick up within 10-20 minutes of game time.

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You have plenty of options.
The only other issue I really have is that one a few rare occasions, playing could have been a little easier with the ability to rotate camera, however, this was only an issue half a dozen of times through the entire story, so itís well within bearable limits.

As you can see from the surrounding screenshots Killzone: Liberation is one of the better looking titles to hit the console thus far. Sure, itís not quite as shiny as Tekken: Dark Resurrection, but there is also a lot going on in every level. The game holds itís own graphically from start to finish, with both gameplay and cut-scenes looking marvelous and with no slowdown (aside from the intentional one mentioned earlier when directing allies) Liberation is up there with the best looking PSP releases. Fighting several Helghan warriors with a range of different weapons being shot at you at once might be hard, it might even get you quite frustrated, but it looks great!

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Fine, another great screenshot.
To match, audio is also very high quality. Voices, both inside and out of the cut-scenes, are all very nicely recorded and acted (even without the impressive voice cast of the first Killzone). Sound effects too are awesome Ė you really feel as though you could be in the war. The only complaint here is the lack of music. Killzone on the PS2 had a beautiful soundtrack that really added to the atmosphere of the game, and while Liberationís music is equally as good, the tracks are few and far between once you leave the games menu. Otherwise, anyone with an ear is going to like this side of the game.

Itís odd that Killzone: Liberation has outdone the original Killzone, but that is exactly what has happened here. A beautifully crafted action game, with surprising depth for a handheld game, wonderful controls and high quality audio/visuals, as well as a decent amount of replay value with great multiplayer. Thereís very little to stop you from buying this title. So why should you? One of the best PSP releases to date!

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSSimply put Ė spectacular. No issues here, cut scenes equally as impressive as in-game.
SOUNDAll very high quality. Great voice-overs and amazing effects. More music would have been appreciated though.
GAMEPLAYA challenging game with a lot of game-time. A few things that take a little while to get used to, but overall a very solid gameplay experience.
VALUELots of replay value, a fairly deep plot, and great multiplayer with future online support coming. Well worth the money.
OVERALLKillzone: Liberation is one of the best action releases to date on the PSP. Overall this is a very solid title.

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