Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Killzone: Mercenary - Public Beta Now Live!

Today the Public Beta for the upcoming PlayStation Vita game "Killzone: Mercenary" went live. Anyone who owns a PSV can now download the 900 MB beta from PSN. I personally spent quite some time checking out the beta, and I have to say that I am impressed.

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The past few shooters to land on the Vita really haven't been anything great. Resistance, for example, was a game that I was able to 100% within five hours (yes I got the platinum trophy), and when I went online I learned that it was nothing but a shotgun blast. The game really didn't stand out, and its limited online play really felt dated; I felt like I would have been better off playing Metroid Prime Hunters on the DS instead. The second shooter to come out was Call of Duty, but once again it failed to meet fan's expectations. So, with that being said, I really wasn't expecting too much when I went into this beta; however I am happy to say that the game does seem much more promising.

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Although the beta only features a single map with a single mode, I found it to be quite fun. The mode that is included is one where you actually play through 5 different "phases," each with their own goals. For example, in one phase you must capture or defend points, but in another the game turns into a flat out death match. This helps mix things up, and it helps give you the feel of what other gameplay modes may be like. On top of that, you can level up/rank up in the game to unlock more guns and content, and you can also spend in game cash on new pieces of equipment and armor as well. Even though matches are limited to 4 v 4, the limitations really aren't as apparent in Killzone as they were in Resistance and Call of Duty, and the unlockables really give you a reason to keep on playing.

The final aspect of the beta that really stood out to me was how great the game looked. Textures are extremely detailed, and there's a lot of extra touches that were made to the map a well. At one part I was walking through a cave like area when a snake just sort of jumped out at the camera. I personally wasn't expecting to see anything in the form of wildlife, and I just thought that it was a really nice touch. Even so, due to this being a Vita game, there were some limitations that did stand out from time to time.

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While the map was extremely detailed, and the game looked nice overall, these detailed textures cannot always be seen. Although everything around you has their full textures loaded, objects at a distance seem to use a lower quality texture to prevent slowdown. As you get closer to objects the detailed textures load, but the moment you back away, the lower textures soon replace them. Really the effect is a lot like that seen in the Spyro games on the PlayStation One which actually had objects morph into lower polygon versions of themselves so that the game could have a much larger draw distance. Overall, despite the pop in being a bit strange when zooming in with your guns, it really isn't an issue, and because they used lower quality textures it actually allowed the developers to bring us a much nicer looking game.

Even though this is still in fact just a beta version of the game, I think it is safe to say that the game shows a lot of promise. I cannot comment on how the single player will be, but I'm sure the multiplayer will be something that will keep bringing me back. If you haven't played it yet, you should really check it out as soon as possible.

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