Back in November of 2004, the fight between humans and the Helghast was brought to us on the PlayStation 2 in the form of Killzone. Now, 8 years later and with HD Collections in full effect, developer Guerrilla Games has re-done the game in HD and released it on the PlayStation Network. Some games have had success in making the transition to high-definition but this is sadly not one of them.
In the game you play as ISA Captain Jan Templar as you try to repel the Helghast, a faction of humans who have colonized the planet Helghan. The conditions on this planet have forced the people to adapt and mutate to survive, making them faster and stronger than regular humans. As you fight to defend humanity, you meet up with other ISA agents to form a 4 party group. The story is simple and doesn’t do much to provide anything substantial to the game. In fact, even the big cut-scenes don’t do much to really draw you into the story.
But this is a first-person shooter, so it is all about the gameplay right? Unfortunately time has not been kind to the game and there are a lot of shortcomings with the game. Players will march through level after level, fighting their way through Helghast troops as they head towards an objective. If you have played either of the Killzone games on the PlayStation 3, then the game and weapons should feel very familiar. Levels are short and easy to make it through, even on the harder difficulties. Computer AI is weak and your weapons don’t have any real impact to them, feeling weak and dull.
Aside from the campaign, there is also a battlefield mode. In this mode, gamers select from deathmatch, team deathmatch, supply drop, and more. After selecting the type, players then need to pick their side, how many bots, and how difficult. This mode gives you a little bit of a break from the campaign and can provide a bit of fun but with the same gameplay, it still has the same issues.
On the presentation front, there really isn’t a lot to like here. The HD conversion didn’t do much to improve the look of the game at all. The levels are ugly, the character models could be better, cut-scenes are atrocious, and really the only good looking thing are the guns, which look great. Explosions, especially from grenades or rocket launchers, are abysmal. I know this is an older game and going HD doesn’t create miracles, but it is clear this game just didn’t age well. The game also features a lot of messed up textures, invisible barriers, and can really get visually choppy.
Audio is also on the bland side of things. Guns sound like pea shooters and not military grade weapons. At no point in the game do you really feel like you are in a battle, as explosions going on around you carry no real weight with them. The voice work was actually the best part of the audio and really delivered on all fronts. It’s just a shame that the rest of the effects in the game couldn’t follow suit.
In the end, Killzone HD comes in at $15 on the PlayStation Network and for that price, it’s a really tough sell when there are so many other shooters available for the same price or less. For me, the only reason to really pick up this title is if you never played the original and you want to complete the trilogy. The voice work in the game and the attention to detail on the guns is top notch; I just wish the rest of the game followed suit. HD conversions are a great idea and for some games they work, but not this one. If you are in the mood for a good shooter on the PSN, this is not for you.