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Killzone: Mercenary Review: The definitive PS Vita shooter

6 September 2013

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The arrival of Guerrilla Cambridge’s Killzone: Mercenary couldn’t have come at a better time for PlayStation Vita. The struggling Sony handheld has been chomping at the bit for that triple-A, must-have release for a good while now, and what better way to end the software lull than with Guerrilla’s celebrated sci-fi IP? Killzone is synonymous with the PlayStation brand after all, and, next to Uncharted or God of War, is about as close to a system-seller as you can get--and let’s face it, the company needs to flog a few more PS Vitas.

As we’ve already commented on, Guerrilla hasn’t compromised anything here; this is the full-fledged Killzone experience, all squeezed into one pocked-sized, throat-slitting package. Mercenary itself takes place after the events of the original Killzone, depicting the brutal and bloody war between the ISA and the glowy-eyed Helghast. You’re Danner, a grizzly gun-for-hire who finds himself fighting for both camps; money is what drives you, and so it doesn’t matter if it’s the ISA or the Higs who are lining your pockets.

Narratively speaking, Mercenary isn’t the most intricate of affairs, although it does attempt to provoke sympathy from the player in certain areas. At times, Danner is forced to see the bigger picture--it’s not always about cold, hard cash. There’s ample backstory thanks to collectible intel, with the Helghast offering a more nuanced performance of the two sides. Still, Mercenary is populated by brutish dialogue from stoic, potato-headed ISA grunts and our iconic, nefarious-looking chaps in gas masks with glowing orange eyes. There's little to speak of in narrative innovation, and characters are given little time to really grow on you.

Thoughts on gameplay and multiplayer after the page jump.

 

 


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