Killzone: Mercenary Review: The definitive PS Vita shooter
- Posted September 6th, 2013 at 12:49 EDT by Michael Harradence
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The definitive PS Vita shooter and a must-have for any Killzone fan.
- Fantastic visuals
- Great multiplayer
- Solid gameplay, with unique twists like Valor Cards
- Some dull indoor environments
- Main campaign is over too quickly
- Characters are underdeveloped
The opportunity to change up your weapon loadout mid-level (for a small service fee) also spices things up, allowing you to adapt to increasingly-stronger foes and switch up your playstyle on the fly. Is your current loadout making too much noise? Then get a sniper rifle with a suppressor and rack up the headshots. On the other hand, maybe you lack the necessary firepower to deal with hulking mechs? Go grab a rocket launcher and cause some damage. It’s a great system, ensuring a fresh experience whenever you play and giving you the freedom to do things how you want--rarely are you forced into adopting a strategy or loadout you aren’t comfortable with.
The aforementioned VAN-GUARD system, new to Mercenary, really injects some much-needed variety into the familiar Killzone paradigm. Here, you can adopt defensive or offensive tech to facilitate your journey and complement your preferred playing style. I found myself soaking up too much damage and was never a confident combatant, so I put cash down on a forward-facing shield to help give me the edge. On the other hand, strapping a rocket launcher to your shoulder and tapping the touchscreen to mark out targets has its bonuses too, allowing you to rain destructive death from a distance. There’s something for everyone, and experimenting with all the different weapons and VAN-GUARD loadouts is an immensely enjoyable, if expensive, past-time.
Mercenary’s campaign is woefully short, but this is offset by the fact each mission can be replayed on a higher difficulty setting. Not only that, but you can also tackle each assignment with extra objectives, which breeds ample cash rewards and really puts your skills to the test. In one stage, for example, the primary goal was to extricate a key figure in the war to safety, but I was also tasked with scoring a specific number of melee kills, blowing up tanks with a pre-determined VAN-GUARD tool and eliminating enemy weapon caches. It’s rewarding, and injects plenty of variety into the otherwise familiar standard mission goals. Not that they’re any less enjoyable, though; missions are punctuated with slow-paced moments of dialogue and skirmishes are evenly spread out, ensuring the action is never monotonous and the pace is kept fresh.