This is the Zone for Killing. Again.

February 7, 2009 by Tim

So after only one (almost cruelly) short demo, I definitely think that Killzone 2 is going to be a must-have title for the Playstation 3. It may even be a reason to buy the system (alongside LBP, Uncharted, and the upcoming Uncharted 2).

I knew the game was going to look gorgeous when I fired up the demo… I’ve seen the screens and trailers. But I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect. There’s no gimmick here… you’re not terraforming the ground around you, you don’t have a gravity gun, there are no zombies, and you’re not making portals… Killzone 2 is pretty much just straight FPS. But let me tell you, it does it really well.

It feels like they went back to basics, and just aced it for the current-gen systems. The action is raw, brutal and intensely violent. And it’s one of the most gorgeous console games I’ve ever seen. I didn’t notice any framerate loss, but I don’t know if there are instances in the full game where there is so much going on that it effects performance. But Killzone 2 kind of feels like the first game that really takes advantage of all this Playstation 3 power that Sony is always telling us is there, but rarely shows us. This is it, and I’m not sure the Xbox 360 could match this.

There’s no multiplayer portion to the demo, but if it matches the intensity of what the single player campaign is promising, it should be a pretty damn good time. February 27th can’t get here fast enough.

Another game that I had a blast with last weekend is less graphically impressive, but offers a top-shelf co-op experience. No, I’m not talking about the Resident Evil 5 demo (though that was pretty damn fun), but rather Schizoid on Xbox Live Arcade.

The style of the game is very similar to Geometry Wars, in that you’ve got a single screen map, top-down view, and a little ship and tons of enemies. Rather than shooting you use only one analog stick to destroy enemies by touching them with your ship. The catch is that it’s a two-player co-op game, and one player has a red ship and the other player has a blue ship. And the enemies come in the red or blue variety.

The blue enemies can only be killed by the blue ship, and the red enemies can only be killed by the red ship. So it becomes very much a co-operative experience because you have to not only work together, but learn to anticipate your partner’s next moves.

You get ten lives between the two of you for every bracket of seven levels. If you get through the seven levels, your lives are replenished to ten. If you lose all your lives, you start at the beginning of the bracket. If you get a gold medal on a level (complete the stage without losing any lives) then you skip that level if you have to repeat the bracket. As there are over one hundred levels in the game, and they get trickier and tougher as they go, in the later game you have to incorporate getting gold medals into your strategy for passing a bracket. You just won’t pass a bracket on your first try, so you have to focus on acing levels so that your next run through the bracket you have one less stage to worry about.

It’s an incredibly fun experience if you have a buddy to play with in the same room or even online. You can play with a computer partner, but you’d really be missing out on what makes Schizoid shine. However, if you’re really into some mind torture shit, you can try Uberschizoid, where you use the two analog sticks to control both the red and the blue ship simultaneously. It will break your brain.

Give the demo a try.

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