KZ2 Flash And Thunder Pack Impressions

The chaps at Guerrilla have been a busy bunch.  Since the release of this years biggest FPS on the PS3 they haven’t stopped tweeking the game, adding refinements and tinkering with the settings to give the fans a solid and well rounded experience.  The steady release of map packs to complement the multiplayer side continued with the release of the Flash and Thunder pack this Thursday.  We’ve had a just a few days with the pack and we’re here to give you the skinny on the remakes of Killzone 1’s brutal Beach Head and Southern Hills.


Now, as I’m sure many of the faithful TSA clan would tell you, I’m not exactly the best when it comes to kicking some Helghan rear.  I’ve spent quite some time patiently starring at the small count down waiting to respawn or watching as medics run past me as I lay there in a pool of my own bean juice but this hasn’t stopped me from thoroughly enjoying this great game.  You can thank Warhawk for that conditioning.

After being suitably impressed with the first, I was straight in there dropping the cheap as chips asking price into the wallet, loading up Killzone 2 (along with another update) and setting up a bot match so as to explore my new death beds.  Beginning with Beach Head I was thrown onto the side of the ISA and started in a solid concrete base camp.  With three exits to the battlefield and an elevated lookout, perfect for those sneaky snipers, I felt like this might be a good place to start.

When I got to the lookout I was greeted by one of the most hostile looking maps yet.  We’re talking black mud, big trenches, sand bags, crates and barbed wire all ravaged by the violent wind and rain that pounds the scenery.  If you’ve ever had the chance to stand still and admire the work gone into these maps then I’m sure you know what to expect visually.  This time though, the setting is a perfect fit for the kind of battles that the map encourages.

Tight, concentrated fire fights are the name of the game with several opportunities to get above the chaos and pick off players and some ideal bot spots. A number of nice touches include the concrete pipes that act as protective route to the opposition but be wary of C4.  On the Helghan side of the coin there is a three entrance hidey hole ripe for a lucky ‘nade shot and a number of big ol’ craters and ditches that are perfect for sneaking about in.

If there was one complaint about this map it would be the colour of the ground.  As inconsequential as it sounds, sometimes it makes it hard to see the Helghast from behind when the backdrop is black which cost me several deaths when I realised that the easy kill I’d just bagged had company.  It’s no biggy but it could lead to more people choosing the Helghast before too long so be aware.

So far so good.  Southern Hills is a completely different kettle of war-fish.  Another dusty map destined for greatness, it’s large size allows for many a long range bullet exchange.  The medium sized two tier central structure quickly becomes the focus of most of the modes giving vantage points for turrets, snipers and good spawn point locations.  The two bases are heavily guarded with several routes to the mayhem including a stealthy pipe that runs end to end which will no doubt feel like home to campers.  Access to this spot also comes from the central structure making sure that no one stays safe for too long.

Southern Hill’s sting in the tail comes from an inspired decision to have the looming ISA cruisers be more than just a backdrop.  Every so often an alarm that’s sure to get your heart pumping will be heard.  This is the signal to drop what you’re doing and run unless you fancy your chances against an incoming nuclear blast.  Thankfully, all you need to survive the blast is to get a roof over your head.  Despite what the leaflets say you can even stare directly at it through the windows.

Let me tell you, it looks every bit as awesome as it sounds and is bound to make for some interesting last gasp missions.  Pair this with the fact that the search and destroy locations are just far enough from from the safety of cover and that both the bots and automated turrets aren’t built for nuclear blasts and you’ve got what I’d expect to become a boot camp favourite.

Overall, another solid pack from Guerrilla keeping the fans more than happy with some great remakes with more than enough changes to make it exciting.  Both look fantastic as ever and are going to occupy a alot of my gameplaying hours without a doubt.  If Guerrilla keep this up I might not need to touch that eject button for some time.

If you feel you might need help escaping from the ISA fire works I suggest you read the EU Blog’s guide to surviving a nuclear attack.