Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Killzone 2: Napalm & Cordite Review

I can't think of many more satisfying experiences playing games online than launching a bolt through two enemies at close range, fastening them to the wall before the bolt explodes and sends them flying. Thankfully, the newest map pack for Killzone 2 makes this kind of experience possible against friends.

Arctower Landing

The featured weapon pick-up on Arctower Landing is the boltgun, and it's a ton of fun to use. If you're lucky enough to pick it up and are at least halfway decent at the game, you'll instantly become a demigod capable of terrifying destruction. It's absolutely thrilling to use, impaling people left and right for one-hit kills and watching your score skyrocket. Getting to use the boltgun online is alone easily worth the price of admission.

That said, it's unfortunate that the rest of Arctower Landing doesn't hold up as well. Playing in a server with the full 32-player roster was way too chaotic for my taste. The map just isn't big enough to support it, so spawn camping and questionable deaths are far too frequent. At one point, my team got pushed back all the way to our original spawn point and with 16 players trying their hardest to keep us there, we simply couldn't get ourselves out of the situation for the rest of the match. Even in matches that weren't totally one-sided though, deaths still often felt cheap.

The most fun I've had on Arctower Landing was in a game with five other people. It was intense without being frustrating, and as a plus, everybody got to use the boltgun a fair amount. Contrast that with the 32-player match where I touched the boltgun once before immediately getting sniped from somewhere.

Suljeva Cliffside

Suljeva Cliffside is in many ways the complete opposite of Arctower Landing. The featured weapon is the flamethrower, which isn't nearly as awesome as the boltgun, but the level itself is so much more enjoyable than Arctower Landing that it more than makes up for it.

The flamethrower is still quite fun to use and allows for some great situations where you can rain fire down on groups of enemies from above in a truly spectacular fashion, but it simply doesn't compare to the jaw-dropping power of the boltgun. By picking up the flamethrower, you're pretty much guaranteeing yourself a couple kills and a potentially hilarious suicide. It's really easy to accidentally ignite yourself, and once you're on fire, you're pretty much done for.

The actual level is designed really well, with both factions starting out in bases at opposite sides, meeting in the middle at the flamethrower in an alley that is the perfect width. This alley has just enough cover and alternate routes to keep things varied and strategical. Whether I played a small match or a huge one, everything stayed fair and manageable, leading to some great back and forth action.

The Killzone 2 Napalm & Cordite map pack is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of the quality of the level design, but both of the new weapon pick-ups are fun additions that keep matches fresh and gratifying. For $5.99, it's definitely worth it if you're still playing Killzone 2 online or looking for an excuse to get back into it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently regretting my trade-in of Killzone 2. I wasn't able to cope well with the awkward aiming that the game initially offered. Though, now that there are multiple options, I might have to re-purchase it.