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Killzone: Mercenary

Killzone

When it comes to fashionable approaches to combat situations, the squirrel suit is truly the new exciting option to sport. Call of Duty had it, Far Cry 3 used it and now the Killzone franchise, dropping onto the Vita, is carrying along its own variation: the glide suit. Less like a parachute, more like a one-piece that turns your clothes into a hang glider, this technical marvel is the perfect thing to wear when entering combat because it’s simply a lot cooler than slower, more cumbersome methods of entering battles.

It also makes for an excellent way to demonstrate the technical prowess of the Vita in the first few seconds of play. Air defense towers launch spikes of electricity into the sky as you, and your soon to be dead comrade, descend onto the battlefield, missiles and bullets soaring past. The handheld doesn’t stutter the slightest once you get your boots on the ground, and the action can get quite hectic.

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“He’s a mercenary…he’s in it for the money”The demo followed the adventures of a man named Danner as he was tasked to go about the business of killing Helghast and taking over defense towers, but unlike previous protagonists his stake in the mission was not personal. He’s a mercenary, as the title states, and he’s in it for the money. Payment is offered for every single enemy you drop, with bonuses handed out for better kills. Anybody could point their gun and shoot, but a headshot from long distance? That deserves a little extra.

Peppered throughout the level you’ll find access points to the black market, of which each will do an excellent job helping you spend your cash. Need weapons? Armor? A few more bullets? They’re all available for sale, and more. Conveniently, if you’ve already purchased a gun you won’t have to buy it again. The black market only demands a small fee to re-equip.

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“It doesn’t hide how linear the game feels”On one hand I find myself questioning the tactics of the Helghast, considering they have unsecured gun stores throughout their base. On the other hand the ability to constantly change out, re-equip and rearm your loadout gives a great degree of freedom to how you can approach combat. Most games either give you two guns with more ammo than you’ll ever need or force you to scavenge weapons from the guys you kill. With the black market consistently available, there’s no fear that you’ll run out. It’s a lot easier to find favorite combinations, as well as experiment with new weapons.

And while the demo did well to showcase the game’s technical abilities, and the new features your mercenary status brings to the table, it doesn’t hide how linear the game feels. I understand that these objectives that I’m meant to complete are important, but that doesn’t mean I need a handler to badger me on the radio every few seconds that a button needs pushing. Or a switch needs pulling. There’s already a waypoint.

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Perhaps that’s the game’s way of providing direction when there’s no one to shoot. At the very least, when there are bad guys occupying the screen, the act of running and gunning is fast and visceral enough to stand up alongside its console brethren.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

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