Killzone HD Review (PS3)

Killzone is one of Sony’s biggest franchises and this gen Killzone 2 & 3 have both been received well critically and commercially. Guerrilla Games, the developers behind the franchise, have now given the original Killzone an HD makeover. There’s a decent game here but there are reminders that this is very much a title from the PS2 era.

As this is an HD makeover the graphics should be a main highlight but they are a bit hit and miss. The guns and character models do have the HD look about them, but a lot of the environments don’t look much improved, if at all. This isn’t helped by the fact that many of the stages have either a brown or green colour palette, making the game look a bit washed out.

In an age where games, including the later Killzone titles, have a variety of visual tones, Killzone HD seems a bit stale. Graphical fade-in also regularly occurs, where items will gradually come into existence. There are a couple of exceptions, like the mountain stages. Those snowy environments look brilliant in HD and it’s a highlight when it comes to level design.

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However, much of the level design is uninspiring. There are stages where one area looks almost exactly like another with only a slight difference, like a door being closed or the inclusion of more enemies. This repetition of design serves as a bit of an immersion breaker and as a reminder of how far game design has come since the release of the original Killzone eight years ago.

[drop2]There are also a couple of problems in both the sound and gameplay departments. In some instances enemy calls seem much closer than they are. At the opposite end of the spectrum, sound will occasionally just cut out. This is most noticeable when you face someone and they speak but when you pan the camera away from them then sometimes the speech will just cut out mid sentence. There’s also the rare occurrence of lag when moving. It only lasts a split second but when it happens it’s noticeable. Fortunately, when it comes to the action there’s plenty of fun to be had.

During the game, players can control one of four characters, selected at the beginning of most stages. There’s Jan Templar, an ISA soldier, Luger, an assassin, Hakha the spy and Rico Velasquez, the heavy weapons specialist. Each of the characters have different roles in the story but they all play similarly, though Rico does have extra power available with his chain gun.

The lack of distinction between characters doesn’t really have much impact on the gameplay itself. Killzone HD is a military shooter, even with its sci fi elements. The Helghast AI is brilliant for the majority of the game. They’ll run into cover, try to flank you and generally provide an opposition that isn’t too forgiving of player mistakes. But, there were a couple of times when the enemy AI acted a bit silly, like taking cover next to an item in a position where they were fully visible.

Ally AI sometimes fails to react as well, especially during gunfights. At one point a machine gun nest had me pinned down. I was hoping that my AI companions would give me some support. Instead they ran into the gunner’s line of fire, aimed down their sights, and just soaked up bullets without firing back. In the end it helped that the AI partners are invincible, so while they took bullets I ran to the nest and killed the gunner.

What’s Good:

  • Game is fun to play.
  • HD upgrades of character models are well done.
  • The enemy AI is smart.
  • The mountain level is a highlight.
  • Good for fans of the Killzone series.
What’s Bad:
  • Some environments look bland.
  • Problems with sound.
  • Ally AI doesn’t always respond.
  • Occasional textures that look last gen.

Though there are issues with Killzone HD, it should be remembered that this is an HD port of a last gen title, not a complete remake, so some bugs should be expected. For fans of the Killzone franchise, or FPS fans on a tight budget, this is well worth playing. It’s a solid enough challenge and a respectable length so it certainly accounts well for its cost of £11.99/$14.99. It’s just a shame that the game didn’t receive a more comprehensive update than the patchy coat of paint it seems to have been given.

Score: 7/10

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19 Comments

  1. Good read. Gonna trade my originals in for the trilogy. Worth it for all map packs ^_^

    • They are the originals in the trilogy box just with not to be sold separately on the front and back of the cases and killzone in a case with Classics in big letters and a voucher for the map packs.

      • So basically, trading in the originals would snag him the map packs, right? That was his entire reason for doing it. Nothing of value is lost.

      • Well basically yeah only downside is having not to be sold separately plastered on you’re nice original cases and I can’t see the originals being worth much on trade I had the trilogy as I thought I’d give the multiplayer a second chance but it was still as unenjoyable as i remembered like playing in treacle and what I played of killzone hd didn’t float my boat either so it swiftly got returned to the store.

  2. Should add to “What’s Bad” the fact that they left out the online MP. I mean if GG were willing to go through the whole effort of upgrading the SP & offline bots to HD, surely a few maps of online MP could have been achieved?

    • That right there stopped me from buying it.
      I never played the original but I heard the MP was brilliant.
      No MP – no purchase for me

  3. Not sure I’ll pick it up. But maybe a bargain bin for me.

    Good review though, reminded me that the game wasn’t as great as I remember.

  4. oh

  5. Doesn’t seem worth it for the premium price over the Ps2 version.

  6. This was the first game i ever played online on my ps2 with, in fact, i ran an ethernet cable through a hole in the wall, down the interior of my parents stairs and out another hole under the stairs where the router was, just to get my PS2 online to play this! So a shame the MP is left out of this remake.

    All the same, I’m still considering getting the trilogy, esp as I couldn;t have been bothered to get off my ass and buy Killzone 3 yet!

  7. Good game, it hasn’t aged well but am loving but so far but then again am a killzone series fan anyway. I recommend it but it should have been 9.99 for its poor aging

  8. “In an age where games […] have a variety of visual tones, Killzone HD seems a bit stale.”

    But… a lot of games in this generation use those filters that make them brown or green. There are even orange filters. This is more predominant this generation than it was when Killzone was originally released too. Those filters only really became a huge trend for a while this generation, so to say it’s stale (suggesting, as “stale” does, that it suffers from an old thing) is weird to me.

    “[…] including the later Killzone titles […]”

    This one is pretty wrong. Out of the three Killzone games, only the third one featured a wide array of colours. The second title, released this generation, also had a brown/green filter on it.

    I agree entirely with the rest of the review though. That part just stood out to me.

  9. enjoying it so far.

  10. I bought the original on PS2 just before the release of Killzone 3, still not tried it yet. Not going to bother with this. I’ll just play the PS2 version i think. Have the urge to play Killzone 3 when I finish work.

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