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Killzone: Mercenary Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Guerrilla Cambridge
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
September 10, 2013

Given the PlayStation Vita’s dual analog sticks and impressive power, the system was ripe for something like Killzone: Mercenary . Arguably the most anticipated Vita title of the year has arrived, and while it’s difficult to categorize Mercenary as a true-blue AAA production, it’s highly entertaining and a fantastic addition to your library. The control is tight, the action is fast and fluid, the balancing is just about right, and you’re gonna love working as a mercenary. Money is all that matters and it’s really fun to rake it in!

From a technical perspective, Killzone is a franchise that has impressed many a gamer and critic this generation. The PS3 iterations were always a cut above in terms of highly detailed graphics and fantastic animation. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Vita iteration really seems to push the capabilities of Sony’s handheld: There’s plenty of awe-inspiring background detail, some of the cut-scenes are downright gorgeous, and the visual presentation really only suffers from the rare drop in frame rate. No, it doesn’t quite stand up to the console entries, but you’ll be amazed at how close the developers get…

The audio is always difficult to score when analyzing a portable title, simply because the glorious surround sound found in many a gamer’s living room isn’t an option. So, we can only compare it to other handheld offerings on the Vita. And when we do that, we come away quite satisfied. The voiceover performances are mostly solid (with the exception of some minor overacting, in my opinion) and the resounding combat effects keep you immersed in every hectic firefight. The soundtrack molds itself to the bullet-infested action, enhancing the overall intensity, and the effects kick in big time. Some of it sounds a touch tinny, but that’s okay.

Forget the ongoing battle between the ISA and the Helghast. This time, we’re stepping into the competent boots of Aaran Danner, a mercenary in the strictest sense of the word. Basically, he’s willing to work for either side, provided he gets paid. And that lies at the core of the gameplay: Money. Sometimes I think the focus sits a little too squarely on the earning aspect, but it does compel you to keep playing. Every action earns at least some cash, and your desire to earn as much as possible is mirrored in your style of play. That’s what really matters; the fact that you receive more money for exhibiting more skill.