“Killzone: Mercenary” is an upcoming title for the Playstation Vita, Sony’s portable device. Developed by Guerilla Cambridge, a restructured division of SCEE, who is now a sister studio to Guerilla Games (the original developers of Killzone), Mercenary follows Arran Danner, a former ISA soldier who now works for the highest bidder.
I was lucky enough to be invited along by Sony New Zealand to an event that showcased the latest code of the single player mode.
As soon as you start playing, “Mercenary” immediately strikes you with its stunning visuals. It feels like this is the first time a First Person Shooter, that’s graphically on par with the likes of “Half Life”, “Halo” or “Call Of Duty”, has transitioned from the Console and PC market to the Portable.
This is only part of the overall experience though. While graphics are nice, the game needs to have great gameplay to draw the audience in.
And boy does this game do it well.
Due to the nature of the character you play in-game, you are rewarded as you tackle the Campaign. Different kills, how quickly you complete a task and other environmental effects, adjust how much money you earn, which allows you to make purchases that change your character’s loadout.
Of course this feels similar to the likes of the aforementioned “Call Of Duty’s” multiplayer, but this adds to replayability within Single Player, and feels rewarding as you earn more while you play.
The control scheme makes full use of the Vita’s layout, which emulates the style many console players have become accustomed to with FPS games.
With the Vita, there’s also constant chatter around integration of the unit’s dual touch screens, which is another part of the Vita’s overall controller layout. While it’s not innovative use of the screens, it uses the front panel to execute melee attacks on enemies in a manner similar to the popular iOS title “Infinity Blade”, which while simple, brings a lot of fun to the game.
The rear panel can also be used, with a quick double tap that allows your character to sprint.
For a preview version of the game, Guerilla Cambridge has done an amazing job to sell it. While it was only one level of the full game, it has shown me the First Person Shooter is ready to make its place in the portable market, and “Killzone: Mercenary” is ready to take up the mantle as King.
“Killzone: Mercenary” releases for the Playstation Vita on the 4th of September, in New Zealand.