Killzone: Mercenary is the FPS all Vita users have been waiting for. Tight controls, solid story, addictive multiplayer and the added bonus of it being down right bloody gorgeous make it not just the best game I’ve played on the Vita but also one of the best military shooters I’ve ever played on any platform. It does so much right that its console cousins seem to get wrong every time in terms of gameplay while also hitting every shooter cliché brilliantly, weaving it into an astonishingly powerful story (considering the length of the game) that made a grown man well up and I only do that at 90% of Disney films. There is a reason clichés are clichés.
I never thought killing hundreds of faceless Psuedo-Nazis as a hipster Merc could be this emotionally engaging and gleefully enjoyable at the same time. I occasionally just thought to myself “I’m having fun! I’m enjoying myself so much! But I feel so bad! I’m so sorry!” As I knife another hapless soldier betwixt his 3rd and 4th rib. Every second of game time the characters are being developed through dialogue during gunfights, from intel packages found around the map or interrogated out of officers. This method of story-telling and character building is so much more preferred than the common FPS method of 3 gun fights, cutscene, 3 gun fights, cutscene etc. It works it all in so seamlessly I never felt detached from the protagonist, aided by his Gordon Freeman like muteness.
Rarely do games make you feel so incredibly bad-ass as Killzone: Mercenary does. It’s easily on the level of Assassins Creed, Metal Gear, Batman: Arkham Asylum/City for that Run in, Stab a bit, Shoot a bit, Loot a bit, Rinse, Repeat feeling that really makes me love myself as a gamer. The fact you are given more money based on how awesome your dispatching skills are makes you really push yourself to get those chain kills. K:M also rewards you on how well you play your own play style and there are many. Picking dudes of from a distance with a sniper rifle and you get more points because they know you won’t be able to get the multi-kills as easily. Want to stealth the whole way? Receive a bonus at the end of every encounter for successfully avoiding the alarm being raised. Want to shoot and stab everyone at the same time with both hands because you are a crazy mother f**cker who doesn’t answer to anyone but whatever face is on the space dollar, go ahead man, rack up those multikills.
This badassery really transfers into the multiplayer which allows you to use all the unlocks you have in singleplayer with no limitations. One of the new features in K:M is the inclusion of Van-Guards which are the fantastically powerful bits of weaponry which allow you to change up your playstyle totally. They range from the Porcupine, a touch-screen operated shoulder mounted missile launcher which decimates anything you tap to the covert Ghost which turns you invisible, only making you visible when you run or gut an enemy from behind. There’s loads more but the fun for me was trying each one out so I don’t want to deprive you of that.
Talking about the sweet Badoosshh! Pew Pew! Gahshunking! of the Van-guards takes us nicely into the regular weaponry which offers a slightly less maniacal way of taking down your opponents. The armoury has all your FPS staples. Your sniper rifles, your SMGs, your grenade launchers, your rocket propelled grenade launchers your shotgun that sets enemies on fire, it’s all there and it’s all bought with money you earn killing (or not killing) your current targets. It’s nice to feel rewarded for ones efforts with more than a score. I’d much rather get a new revolver than a “HEY A++ SCORE GOOD JOB YOU’RE THE BEST” at the end of each mission although, not gonna lie with my current level of personal achievement throughout the day maxing out at going to the shop without forgetting my wallet (HEY A++ WALLET BRING CHARLIE GOOD JOB YOU’RE THE BEST!), this kind of validation wouldn’t go amiss.
Killzone: Mercenary allows players to battle it out over six varied maps in three different modes, two of the modes being an intense four Vs four fire fights with the other being an even more intense free for all. My favourite mode is ‘Warzone’, a hectic objective based mode where you are forced to band together with your teammates to complete certain tasks like hacking into machinery or shooting each other. ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ is the other four Vs four and is just your bog-standard team death match but with the added bonus of regular drops of powerful Van-Guard weaponry keep the fighting around certain areas until one guy gets the porcupine and obliterates everyone. Being able to use your Van-Guard weapons during the fire fights is obviously very strong but because of their lengthy re-arming time they don’t feel too overpowered, they more just keep the gameplay a bit more interesting than most modern shooters.
Although the campaign is short, the bonus modes unlocked after that allow you to replay the missions with set goals and equipment add some more time for the replayers out there. The multiplayer is just as robust as any console game with some features that really make it shine out amongst its competitors. The whole game was a treat to play from start to finish, I couldn’t put it down and I expect anyone who buys it will feel the same.
A 5 out of 5 score is greatly deserved.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.