Killzone Mercenary is the next game in the series between the war of the Helghan and the Sol, and while the story does not take the scope of a major war, what it does provide is a great experience for any who jump in and play it.
Taking the role of Danner a mercenary for hire who is happy to take money from anyone for any job. The game starts you off with a rescue mission, it is here where you meet some major players and I won’t say anything more than that because the story is quite fun. So ruining it won’t happen here.
The characters that you interact with are not really special in a sense that each game these days seems to have them all, the surly guy, the shady guy, the guy who makes jokes. But it’s the way that Danner interacts with that, that your character actually has, what feels like, a proper personality that makes them feel alive.
The game is running on the engine used from the PS3 games, all be it slightly modified and it does look stunning, with the levels having an absurd level of detail in them. Shadows play off the water in a way that I have never seen before, and the fact that this is a handheld game system, well that makes it even more impressive. The character models are detailed enough, that when you get in close for a kill, you will see details on them you could not imagine seeing before.
While the level of detail is nothing short of outstanding, it is just a shame that the level design does not match up, in terms of quality. While a lot of the levels contain multiple planes where you can flank your enemies, it’s the spaces that are meant to feel open that let you down. Paths are so easy to spot, that having an on screen indicator just feels pointless. And it’s not because they are colour coded or such, it’s just obvious.
Thankfully, that is a minor issue, and one that does not impact the actual game itself. Playing this game I kept thinking that I am not supposed to be this happy. Games of this quality are not found on handhelds, but no matter how I look back at my time playing the game, I keep coming to the same conclusion, that this game plays amazingly well.
Now you would think that a game that requires touch screen prompts would be a little hard to work, more so when you are taking on multiple bad guys at once and moving from place to place. But the team at Guerilla Cambridge have made once simple decision that changes this from being tedious to being second nature. Each button that you can interact with can be done so by either touching the screen or simply pressing the Triangle button.
When you are able to sneak up on an enemy, and you start the process of a take down, you will notice a rather large arrow being displayed, telling you to swipe your finger in that direction. Now some games have done a similar thing, but here you don’t have to do the motion on the giant arrow. Nope in fact you can do it in any part of the screen and in any size you want. I found myself sticking to the bottom right corner and doing just small motions. This to me made me think that these guys know how to make the controls work for the player, rather than against them.
This game has a great soundtrack, and I don’t just mean the music. The voice acting is great, the sound effects sound sublime too. And while your machine is capable of playing those sounds, you will want to stick in some headphones.
Oh and don’t forget that this game has online multiplayer, which I was not able to get onto as I played this at 32,000 feet. If you want to learn more about how that goes, I have to point you away from my site.
I have heard people explain that this is the game that defines the PS Vita, and while I can agree with them that it is a great game, and if you own a Vita, you need to get this game. This is not the game to get a Vita for, but don’t worry, if you do go that route, your money will be well spent. Killzone Mercenary is a game that feels big, big story, big scope and big action, the fun comes from remembering that it’s just on a handheld.