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
If that wasn’t enough to diversify the Killzone experience, Guerrilla Cambridge has also introduced Valor Cards. Each day, the Mercenary server rewards you with a unique card based on your performance in scoring kills and cash--in both single-player and multiplayer modes. The better you do, the higher your card. Conversely, however, if your performance dips, then so does the quality of your card. It’s a fantastic way to cultivate player performance, and during missions, I was ever mindful of that tiny card icon in the corner of the screen, which propelled me to better my performance in-game. There are few things more satisfying than logging on for a game of Mercenary to find your Valor Card has been raised--and equally dismayed I was to see it lowered after a particularly poor session. Furthermore, you’ll get different cards (diamond, club, heart, etc.) depending on your weapons set, encouraging further tinkering with the loadouts.
Multiplayer has always been the backbone of the Killzone experience, though, and Mercenary certainly delivers the goods. Spread between three game modes--from rudimentary deathmatches to team-based affairs with objectives--online firefights are smooth and relatively trouble-free. I had a few instances where I was kicked out of a game mid-match, but overall, my experience was very enjoyable. Before each match, you have time to pick a loadout that best suits you before the game drops you into the thick of things.
Mercenary’s solid combat translates effortlessly to the online landscape, and the Valor Card system also adds a bit of punch to the proceedings. Here, killing enemies allows you to then loot their card, adding it to your own collection. As with the single-player campaign, your performance is also tracked, so the better you perform, the better your rewards, in terms of both cash and new Valor Cards. And while Valor Cards are obvious attractions on the battlefield, sneaky players can use them to set traps for the enemy; after all, what better way to score an easy kill than by waiting in the shadows as someone darts by to claim a card?