I was lucky enough to be part of the October 2010 beta trial and I have recently been playing the most current beta which is open to all PSN users. I just wanted to get down a few thoughts on the current progress of the multiplayer.
The October beta included three maps – this time there’s only one – Frozen Dam. Its not a bad level but it does get repetitive after a while to be honest. But the engaging and changing game play in certain modes does offer replay value. The level itself looks lovely. The beginning of the Operations game type does see the two routes the ISA side have to cross to their objective as a lot of a bottle neck – in other words fairly easy to defend if you’re on the Helghast side. But should the ISA get past this then a whole new section opens up. This type of dynamic map helps break up the monotony unlike most other FPS where the maps are static and your options to try something new are limited.
I would like to say the other two maps from the previous beta were better – but that might be to do with the fact one had giant mechs in it and the other has jetpacks! One (Corinth Highway) was very long and the other (Turbine Concourse) was much smaller but the jetpacks gave the map a new vertical dynamic which meant the first few times I went on there I was getting pasted from above without even realising!
Before I get to the guns there are a couple of things I’d quickly like to touch on. There were a lot of gripes apparently with the controls from Killzone 2 – too different from the “standard” FPS layout on the PS3 pad and perhaps more importantly too unresponsive. I personally didn’t mind the button layout. And because it was the first PS3 FPS I played I didn’t notice the speed of input too much either. It bothered a lot of people evidently as Guerrilla have made the responses a lot quicker this time around. If you’ve played both you can definitely tell there’s a speed increase.
Onto the weapons. Most of the guns from Killzone 2 make an appearance. The ISA LMG was one of the best guns from the October beta. But the lack of recoil was noticed a lot it seems by other players and the recoil is quite big now – no longer can you snipe half way across the map with this bad boy! The standard SMG is quite tasty – fairly non descript but pretty effective up close and personal. I do feel though that they have deliberately weakened one of the best weapons, at least for the Medic class. The M82 assault rifle was in the beta (for my money at least) one of the best weapons – fully automatic for up close and personal stuff but has a nice green dot scope for medium range sniping. But now it has (only for the Medic class, not the Tactician class I noticed) been fitted with a silencer and a new burst fire mode. Which means I’ve been getting killed a lot after holding the trigger down and only getting 3 bullets. The reason I think Guerrilla have done this I think is that the Medic was possibly over powered compared to some of the other classes. For instance you could use your unlock points to eventually get a little bot that hovers over your shoulder which occasionally gets the odd kill. At the very least it is a distraction for opposing players. But possibly more powerful is the Medic can now revive him/herself on the spot. Which was VERY useful and I got a good few kills this way – a classic example would be you’re taken down by two opponents who don’t finish you off then you watch while they turn their backs on you, you then revive yourself, shoot one of them and then melee the other in the head.
There is a strange feature in this game regarding hand guns/secondary weapons. For some reason Guerrilla have set the game up so you by default have no sidearm. You have to spend 1 unlock point to get one. More than once I went to change weapon to find I didn’t have one and then proceeded to get perforated like a tea bag whilst trying to reload my assault rifle. Once you have even the basic pistol though it is actually useful this time around in as much as you can actually kill people with it! Some of the other secondary weapons are like COD though – the Medic has access to a small machine pistol – looks and sounds great but is actually pretty poor. The three barrel shotgun is fun if you’re right behind someone but otherwise you might as well throw it at them.
The last thing I wanted to mention was that Guerrilla have learned a lot from Killzone 2 and the example I wanted to raise was spawn camping. This did on occasion ruin Killzone 2. The home base machine gun turrets were easily destroyed and took time to regenerate. This time, certainly based on experience of the October beta, there will be no such shenanigans. Basically the home area bots cannot be destroyed and are both more accurate and more powerful than ever before. So the chances of you creeping into an enemy spawn and killing them all are nil.