Killzone Mercenary feels like it has been a long time coming and while there are still a few months to wait before it finally gets here, we managed to get some hands on time to see how it’s shaping up.
Our preview code saw our hero take on the Helghast on their own turf. Danner is tasked with taking down some Arc Canons in order to open up the Helghast to an out and out attack and although it seems like he’ll have help, he’s very much on his own.
One thing that’s strikingly clear from the moment you land on the Arcs is that graphics on the PS Vita have never looked so good. It’s fair to say that we are looking at early PS3 quality here. It’s incredible to think that a dedicated gaming handheld can produce such visual splendor, but it does and the longer I played, the more impressed I became.
The quality doesn’t just stop at the graphics though, because this really is a Killzone game both in terms of looks and gameplay. Shooting feels as responsive as ever, while the tension is turned up to max as Helghast come at you from all angles, forcing you to act on instincts to take them out. This particular mission really is a side line as you figure out the best way to get to your objectives and take out the enemy at the same time, however there is no doubt a deeper story here which, based on the preview, will play out over quite a few hours.
As you’d expect, the combat is quite tough in Killzone Mercenary, thankfully though you do have some help in the shape of the weapons. As usual there are both primary and secondary weapons, as well as other equipment such as grenades, armour, etc. The guns includes the likes of the M82, STA-52SE and STA-18SE and all have limited ammo, meaning you’ll have to scavenge between kills or even get up close and personal with some swipe screen melee combat.
On occasion you can get particularly overwhelmed by enemies, so it’s probably good to know that you also have access to Van-Guard systems which give you that extra boost were a gun just can’t cut it. Two of the systems accessed in this particular level include Manty’s Engine, a remote controlled device which flies towards the enemy for an instant kill and Porcupine, a shoulder mounted missile system which has you tap multiple enemies using the Vita’s touch screen in order to blow them to pieces. The latter is particularly nasty but ever so useful when there is a screen full of enemies and only one clip full of bullets.
Obviously, since this game is on Vita the developer has made some use of it’s unique features. For instance, the touchscreen has been utilized to trigger certain objectives and solve puzzles (i.e hacking), although the touch features don’t go over the top, keeping most of the action to the analogue and triggers and therefore making for a more console-centric experience.
It’s hard to judge a game on around 40 minutes of gameplay, but based on what I’ve seen Killzone doesn’t lose anything by shifting to Vita. It seems to me that this could very well be the FPS that the Vita has been crying out for, although only time will tell if that’s an accurate statement.