It’s being built up as the PlayStation Vita’s first real First Person Shooter. Boasting incredible visuals, unparalleled on the platforms and solid shooting mechanics, can Killzone Vita hold up to the pressure that’s being put on it? After playing through the campaign and many matches online is should say that I’m done with the game but a large part of me feels as though this is only the beginning of my time with Killzone Mercenary.
Killzone Mercenary sees you take the role of mercenary Aaron Danner who is not afraid to work on both sides of the war with missions seeing you take out ISA and Helgast throughout the campaign. You will see Danner take missions on either side, regardless of the moral implications and the result means that story itself won’t feel like a one-note shoot-fest.
The beauty of Killzone Mercenary however is the money system. Regardless of what you do, or what mode you are playing in, all the money you earn goes into one single pot. This makes replaying single-player missions more believable as it’s a “do whatever makes you money”. This approach allows for a very easy access to jump back into missions for a pay check.
What is bitterly disappointing though is the length of the campaign. Although nothing close to the catastrophe that was Call of Duty Declassified, Killzone Mercenary will take about 4-5 hours to complete. What is a great addition however is contracts mode in which you will play through those missions again with a whole new set of tasks to complete across three different disciplines that will certainly challenge you but keep the pace frantic for most parts.
If you have played Resistance: Burning Skies, you may have noticed that the shooting or action in general was just not up to par with what you’d expect from home consoles. Killzone Mercenary however keeps the action fast and explosive but the controls feel just right to help keep you in-tune with the action. It takes a few minutes to adjust to sensitivity of the analogue sticks but after a few minutes adjusting you should be free to go and it can really feel like a home console game at times. There are no exceptions to feel when playing this game, it’s precise and on-point and can be compared with console shooters once the setting are to your liking.
You may have already heard both Sony and Guerrilla Games boasting that Killzone Mercenary runs on a modified Killzone 3 engine. While you won’t get quite the visual fidelity of its PS3 counterpart, it is a visually striking game. You will easily stop to take things in just thinking that this is running solely on a handheld consoles. It isn’t perfect with some very minor frame-rate drops, but this game proves just how powerful this little system is.
As I already mentioned, it’s the money system that will keep you coming back. When you first start playing, you may feel as though the money popping up when you kill and enemy is distracting but it almost becomes compulsive after some time, always wanting to rack up headshot after headshot. It really keeps you invested and mixing that with the visuals and controls, it’s always satisfying to look t and play.
Killzone Mercenary has a loudout system that allows you to choose the loadout of your choice for different missions and approaches. Each weapon must be bought and with 24 weapons, many explosives and unlockables, it will take quite some time and dedication to buy everything but there is enough content to easily give you the chance to should you want to without it becoming a grind-fest.
The van-guard system is a great wildcard to the loadouts as they allow one special ability that can used once you kill enough enemies to fill up the meter. These abilities feel essential to complete the harder contracts, especially when ramping up the difficulty and can really be your saving grace if things get too hairy.
There is also a multiplayer mode for those that really want to jump into the deep end. The 4v4 multiplayer is surprisingly engrossing. Although it is stripped down from its home console counterparts, there is enough to give you hours and hours of enjoyment, even just for the modes and maps alone.
Killzone Mercenary isn’t just an indication that there can be great shooters on the PlayStation Vita; its proof. There are some small rough edges that can be smoothed out given another go but Killzone Mercenary is a great shooter as it stands and a great beginning finally for the genre on this handheld.