Everyone has a game or series that they just don’t “get,” making it difficult for them to decipher what the fuss is about. For me, one of those franchises is the PlayStation-exclusive first-person shooter, Killzone, and it seems like I’m not alone on that point of view. I have always admired his universe, replete with striking similarities to WWII and the powerful depiction of a corrupt and evil dictatorship dominating a civilization populated entirely by antagonists of the series, the terrifying Helghast decked out in his instantly recognizable orange-eyed uniforms. . Regardless of my passion for the world, the developers Guerrilla Games had built a heavy gameplay and somewhat rigid shooting mechanic that didn’t keep me engaged in anything other than passing encounters with the series.

With that in mind, it’s unusual that, like many PlayStation Vita owners, I find myself eagerly awaiting the latest installment in the Killzone: Mercenary series. For the first time ever, players will be able to enjoy a full Killzone first-person shooter experience on the go with a fully competitive online mode. Killzone isn’t the first FPS to hit Vita, Sony’s proprietary Resistance series and Activision’s colossal Call of Duty were previously released on hardware in 2012 to a tepid response from fans and critics alike; both developed by the same company: Nihilistic Software. Owners of the powerful notebook are hoping it will be Guerrilla Cambridge’s first attempt at Killzone that will prove to be Vita’s FPS savior and counter the trend of the laptop disappointment genre. Sony seems to be confident in the game, as PlayStation Plus subscribers received an open beta of the online multiplayer early last week that I spent some time with.

Let me start with my impressions by saying how amazed I am that the 4v4 rounds run incredibly smooth with little to no lag issues. During my time playing, I have never seen a player disconnect once in the game. The highest praise I can impart to Killzone Mercenary is how perfectly it emulates the gameplay of Killzone 3; The engine has been so sublimely tuned to the Vita that it reproduces the previous PS3 installation to such an extent that it is like playing a console quality game in the palm of your hand. Even with my doubts about the playability of the previous innings, I really enjoyed every round I played. Without a doubt, if the beta is any indication that Killzone could easily be the FPS that Vita was waiting for.

Killzone Mercenary bears a stronger visual and gameplay resemblance to its predecessors than it does to the upcoming PS4 launch title, Killzone: Shadowfall. The locations that players can access in the beta are awash in the traditional war-torn brown and gray color palette. The controls are much tighter than expected considering the jump to a handheld; there is a slight adjustment period, but players need to acclimate fairly quickly, after which both the target and the movement feel responsive and precise. Mercenary controls undoubtedly and surprisingly better than any previous portable FPS thanks to the Vita’s twin joysticks and happily feels as comfortable as gaming on a home console like the PS3. Touchscreen functionality is present, but fortunately not intrusive – most touch inputs are also assigned at the press of a button, allowing gamers to choose which one they prefer. Only intuitive knife kill inputs require swiping of the touch screen, losing these touch QTEs allows enemies to counter or escape attack, adding an additional level of skill to procedures, if this will simply become a nuisance, without However, it remains to be seen.

As stated above, all beta activity is restricted to a map called Shoreline which draws heavily on locations from Killzone’s past, it has yet to be announced how many maps will appear in the full commercial release. Shoreline is well built with a combination of underground tunnels, open-plan arenas, and strategic high ground for sniping, perfect for 4v4 matches where the multiplayer spins. Once released, the game will feature three competitive online modes: Mercenary Warfare, Guerrilla Warfare, and Warzone – Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Objectives respectively. For the purposes of the beta, players are restricted to Warzone only. Within Warzone, the two rival factions, ISA and Helghast, face each other trying to meet alternate objectives before their rivals to score points.

Warzone matches consist of five rounds with four different types of alternate objectives. The round begins with the first of the five objectives called the reward. In the reward, players must face each other like in a traditional deathmatch, although unlike a traditional Deathmach, players must also collect the reward card that rivals drop upon being defeated, which means that snipers They won’t do much good unless you can jump in and collect the reward. . In addition to collecting the reward card from defeated enemies, if teammates are quick enough, they jump to the rescue and save a deceased ally’s card before opposing forces claim death. The objective is fast and engaging, setting up the rest of the match, and perfectly guiding players to work as a team to ensure successful card collection.

Next on the playlist is the hacker, this type of target is listed twice in both the second and fourth rounds. In this mode, the VAN-guard capsules are placed on the map, inside these capsules there are special temporary power-ups, players who hack them are randomly assigned a boon, which includes, among others, air-to-ground missiles, a stealth personal. generator and a bow launcher that hits nearby enemies to subdue them. Claiming the loot inside these capsules requires a fair amount of teamwork, as hacking one requires the pirate to participate in a matching symbol minigame, while doing so makes them vulnerable to fire and dependent on allies for cover. The minigame is simple enough to put an intuitive twist on the usual opening animation and timer without becoming a hassle; In addition, it rewards expert players who will be able to claim the prizes more easily.

A hit in the middle in the third round is an interrogation. The goal of the interrogation is to sneak up on rivals and dispatch them using Mercenary’s violent knife attacks. These attacks use the touch screen QTE mentioned above, which makes killing a group of enemies in rapid succession impossible, instead they must be isolated; picked up one at a time. The round is an exciting fun of the wonderful gun game that forces the fighters to change tactics to defeat the enemies. This is the lowest scoring round in the challenge stack, as in many games I played, the fighters continued to just shoot each other rather than trying to interrogate with knife kills, which made scoring points difficult.

After a fourth round consisting of another hacking attempt, players are given a more traditional closing round – the kill count. With the body count, teams engage each other within normal team deathmatch rules, points are awarded to each side each time a rival combatant is killed by an ally. The mode doesn’t require much more description than that and is a delightful way to close out the chaos. Since most players seem to play this way 90% of the time, this is where points are recovered and losing teams can make miraculous comebacks. Overall, the Warzone mode is a good laugh and a strong indicator of the strength of the Killzones gameplay. The final round kill count just gets me excited about playing a standard team deathmatch.

Like most online shooter titles, each “positive” action rewards experienced players, actions such as: assassinations, headshots, collecting ammo and completing objectives, etc. Killzone experience also works as credits, the in-game currency used to purchase new weapons, armor, and items that help tailor your character to your preferred play style. When the game launches actions from a single player, it will also allow for the collection of credits by adding a cross-mode value to the coin, giving the player the option of how to win. Online, the credit approach is a friendly system that allows players to advance on the paths they want instead of a default system that blocks players from upgrades based on their level. Speaking of which.

Although players are assigned ranks and levels in a traditional sense, Killzone also features an additional skill indicator. Do you remember the reward cards you must collect in the first round of Warzone? Well these are designed to represent the skill level of the players combined with their style of play. Each card is represented by a card from a traditional deck, players earn a rank from 2 to Ace depending on how much money they won the day before, the more credits they get, the higher the representation. The costume is awarded based on the weapons with which players had the most kills the day before. Collecting the cards awards players prizes and gives them an incentive to kill as many types of players to collect their cards as possible. Also, the card is a better indicator of the current skill than a level.

In the end, the small portion that is offered in the Killzone Mercenary beta exudes hope for the title, the fact that Sony allowed the game to go into open beta a few weeks before launch should be a strong indicator that they are feeling confident. ; with good reason. What is available to play is a riveting, well-polished, well-controlled multiplayer experience packed with a good variety of exciting game modes. The unique reward card system feels right at home in a portable system where players may not have the opportunity to play every day. I wasn’t a fan of Killzone going to Mercenary, but his fun and slick play beat me to it now that I’m eagerly awaiting the release. Open Beta is now available to all Vita owners who want to give it a try. Check back soon for a full review.