Video Preview: Killzone Mercenary

The video shows gameplay from the first third of one level.

We’ve covered Killzone Mercenary in some depth here at its initial reveal and here from E3 this year, but over the last week I’ve been dipping in and out of a (sadly all-too limited) preview build for the game, and I have to say I’m completely won over by what I’ve played.

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And whilst it’s almost impossible to show you how good the game looks from a dodgy off-camera video recording (hey, Sony, we’d love one of those HDMI models, please) rest assured that Cambridge have done an amazing job with Mercenary’s visuals – native res, smooth framerate, fancy effects.

But perhaps more importantly, the chain of sub-par (Resistance, Call of Duty) first person shooters appears to have been broken. The preview build doesn’t go anywhere near showing what the full thing will be like, but already it’s streets ahead of anything else.

One of the best elements of the game, not shown in the video, is the Arms Dealer section. Staffed by a mysterious Blackjack, this touch-screen menu system effectively acts as your in-game shop, with both primary and secondary weapons, equipment and armour for sale.

Players also use Arms Dealer to re-equip past purchases, refill on ammo and switch out the Van-Guard (the floating MANTYS tech seen in the video above) for other cool gadgets. These include the Porcupine rocket, the ‘death from above’ Sky Fury, the Arc Missile, a camouflage system, an enemy targeting drone, an electronics jammer and a shield.

The Porcupine is my favourite – select it and enemies are circled in red. Simply tap them on the touchscreen and a rocket will automatically lock on. Fire and forget, indeed.

Whilst it costs money to buy goods and ammo, it also costs money to re-equip things you’ve already bought, although not as much as buying them fresh. It’s tricky to figure out the impact of this in the preview build, but hopefully it brings tactics and planning to the full game.

Equally on note is your Combat Profile, a perpetually changing representation of your mercenary skills, a badge of sorts but one that’s really there to just highlight your skills as you switch allegiances between the Helghast and the ISA.

Hopefully the game’s open approach to weapon load-outs and tech, coupled with the already evident wide-linear level design (you’re funneled along certain areas, but are normally free to tackle major battles your own way, including stealthy if that’s your bag) will give Mercenary plenty of replay value, and that’s not even mentioning the online multiplayer, which sadly we can’t really talk about yet.

Certainly, the AI puts up a real fight, and seems adaptive and smart. The enemy hides, rolls and ducks, and seem smarter still hunting in packs. There’s little dumb running at the player here, and it makes for a surprisingly deep shooter.

The Vita might be finding itself home to a plethora of indie games at the moment, but Mercenary shows that the machine is more than capable of big-budget AAA titles in the right hands, with the right license. Hopes are high that the rest of the game impresses just as much.

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18 Comments

  1. Wow, that looks awesome! And, actual TEXTURES – I missed them so much in Resistance and Blops Declassified!! :p

    I’m really looking forward to this (and Tearaway, and Lone Survivor).

  2. looks amazing!

  3. Looks good. Ahhh, obviously signposted red combustible barrels where have you been since the last action adventure game? It’s good to have you back!

    PS not sure about the new login requirements for commenting. Having to do simple algebra? It’s like being back at school!

  4. Want. Now.

    May have to kill Alex and steal. That’s in keeping with the themes of the game, yes?

  5. I don’t know how I feel about this game. It’s probably the best FPS the Vita has to offer but I have yet to enjoy a single Killzone game and the color palette is just sad.

    • I have to agree on the colour thing….I find the environments quite depressing; they even managed to make the jungle level in Killzone 3 look horrid. This is partly why I’ll get BF4 or CoD Ghosts with my PS4 instead of Killzone, but I will be getting this for Vita!

      • I’m with you on that. Killzone in any form does nothing for me whatsoever except for KZ2 multiplayer & they’ve backed away from that approach since

        Will see what EA do with Bf4 servers as I found my brief forays with Bf3 a total mess. CoD is always good fast paced action & well supported DLC.

      • BF4 looks good and CoD Ghosts just looks really weak and tired compared to Killzone: Shadowfall and BF4.

        Have you seen the gameplay for Killzone: Shadowfall though? I don’t think the lack of colour is really a problem anymore to be honest, the environments look vibrant and alive this time around (though I liked Killzone 2’s environment as it fit in well with the way that you’d imagine Helghan to look).

      • I enjoyed BF3 but I found it quite elitest, particularly with trying to get to grips with the plane/chopper controls – that’s not to say it’s bad, its’ just that CoD just suits my “drop in for a few games” approach. I quite enjoy the Killzone MP (in 2 and 3) but the single player environments bore the hell at of me – I’m not a sci-fi fan which perhaps doesn’t help.

      • @yiddo – you could be right with Shadowfall, I guess I’ve not seen enough of either 3 games to make a decent decision. And although CoD might look dated, I just seem to enjoy the OTT single player campaigns (not Blops 1 & 2 so much) with the set-pieces etc, and the co-op Spec-Ops missions that IW do are brilliant, I’ve had more fun doing all of those with McProley than I have had playing the MP or SP. BF4 would probably the best choice if I played a lot of multiplayer, but I just don’t enjoy multiplayer so much anymore.

      • I agree Battlefield grey/brown is so much nicer than Killzone Grey/brown.

        :-/

      • That’s a fair point, although when Killzone can make any kind of non-fictional place/environment, I wish they were just a bit more imaginative and the environments more varied ;)

      • To be fair I’m not really into shooters. I’m only interested in the campaign and coop aspect but I will give KZ:SF a try once the price has dropped significantly.

  6. This does look like enormous amounts of fun. I really do enjoy the Killzone games

  7. I so hope I get into the beta, I love the whole Killzone series still to finish one

  8. Looks wonderful. Hope this comes to Plus soon after it’s out.

  9. Once this drops I’m getting a Vita!

  10. I wonder if they’ll augment the aiming by allowing you to use gyroscopes to fine tune your aim. worked great in uncharted and many iphone games

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