It’s been a year and a half since the release of the PS Vita, and up until now there were no mind-blowing FPS’s . Nihilistic Software tried their luck with Resistance: Burning Skies and Black Ops: Declassified, but both of them failed miserably and left us waiting for a big shooter to come out. It’s not a matter of if, but when, because the Vita is more than capable to deliver a console-like experience thanks to its advanced hardware, touch screen and dual analog sticks.
Finally the wait is over with the release of Killzone: Mercenary by Guerrilla Cambridge, the same studio that brought us the classic MediEvil and the PSP version of LittleBigPlanet.
Killzone: Mercenary will put you in the shoes of Arran Danner, a Mercenary that was hired by the ISA to do some dirty work. He will infiltrate enemy bases, rescue hostages, retrieve intel and basically anything you can name for the right price.
While the overall idea is great for a spin-off title, it seems like Guerrilla Cambridge forgot to develop its main protagonist. Arran is extremely quiet through the game, so most of the time you’ll hear side characters explaining the mission for you or talking with each other. Sometimes they won’t even notice he’s in the room, so it’s almost like you play an invisible character.
It’s quite a shame, because we are only getting a glimpse of Arran’s background and his daily dilemmas between doing what’s right and what pays. Nevertheless, I’m sure that the average FPS players can still enjoy this, thanks to the constant action that goes around the screen all the time.
As for gameplay, Killzone: Mercenary feels just like its previous entries from the PS3, and that’s a good thing. Everything that you are familiar with is there: weapon layouts, bombs/grenades, mechs and melee combos. The only thing that was left out is weapon customization, but considering there are 12 weapons to choose from it’s not such a big deal.
To make things more interesting, Guerrilla Cambridge implanted a system that gives you money for everything you do, and I mean everything. Killing an enemy, pick ammunition, melee kills and assassinations, all of those will get you richer. With the money you can buy new weapons and gadgets, and the best thing about it is that it carries to multiplayer.
That’s the main point of the game, and surprisingly it works very well, especially because the player is engaged to try different techniques in order to unlock new stuff.
Killzone: Mercenary’s campaign includes 9 missions that take around 6 hours to complete, that’s not much for a single player experience, but it’s better to be left wanting more than to play a game that drags for too long. If you really liked it, you can always go back and search for hidden intel or play the demolition mode which requires you to complete additional tasks along the way.
Luckily, the multiplayer mode will be the one you should dig for countless hours, mainly because it keeps the same feeling from the previous entries and allows you to play with up to 8 players at the same time. There’s nothing unique about it, but because it’s the first working FPS Vita owners would be satisfied.
As for graphics, Guerrilla Cambridge proved to us all what the Vita is capable of. The textures are super sharp, bloom effects look amazing on the vibrant OLED screen and the animations are done very well. Now imagine all of this with a steady 30 frames-per-second, and you got the most beautiful game you can play on a handheld.
Conclusion: Guerrilla Cambridge managed to do the impossible and delivered a console experience on the go. If you own a Vita, go get it. If you don’t, here’s another reason for you to get one.
–Nothing special about the story
Score: 9 out of 10