Developer: Guerrilla Games
Platforms: PS Vita
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: NA: September 17, 2013, NA: September 18, 2013
Killzone: Mercenary is an upcoming first-person shooter video game for the PlayStation Vita, and the second in the series for the handheld after 2006’s Killzone: Liberation (PSP).
It was revealed at Gamescom 2012 and is being developed by Guerrilla Cambridge, formerly known as SCE Cambridge Studio (of Medieval, LittleBigPlanet PSP fame). [reference]
The game uses a customized version of the Killzone 3 engine for lighting and smoke, high-res environment textures, and realistic shadows.
It is slated for release on September 17th in North America and September 18th in Europe.
Guerrilla Cambridge managed to get the full Killzone experience running on PS Vita, with the experience having been called the equivalent of running Killzone 3 on the handheld.
Lead developer at Guerrilla Cambridge Piers Jackson stated that the game has “been optimized in a lot of locations but the core AI system is based precisely on Killzone 3. We’ve had to replace a few of the audio and rendering systems but the back-end leading into them is pure Killzone engine architecture”. [reference]
Killzone: Mercenary is designed to take advantage of the Vita’s high-resolution screen, with detailed characters and a strong draw distance. Reflection mapping on floors and particle systems have also been added along with volumetric lighting and smoke, realistic shadows, and much more.
The control system has been rebalanced to take advantage of the PS Vita Stick due to the difference of input from the DualShock 3 controller.
Mercenary starts shortly after the beginning of the first Killzone, which debuted on the PS2 in 2004. You play a mercenary named Arran Danner. Danner is a former UCN-soldier who takes paid contracts from the ISA as well as the Helghast, and who is only concerned with adding to his revenue. You start the game with the battle for Vekta in full flow –in a destroyed Vektan city and the opening few levels where the liberation of the planet is on-going.
When a mission to evacuate the Ambassador and his family in Pyrrhus goes sideways, Danner discovers that the outcome of the war rests on the fate of the Ambassador’s young son. With both sides going through alarming lengths to get hold of the boy, he begins to wonder whether he got more than he bargained for. In his journey, Danner will reportedly discover secrets regarding the war between the ISA and Helghast. [reference]
Killzone: Mercenary’s campaign reportedly features nine missions, with each mission taking players an average of 40 minutes to an hour to complete. Missions feature a range of objectives, including taking control of a Helghast base and manning the ion cannons, escorting the ambassador’s son, and also hunkering down and fighting off waves of enemies. Guerilla Cambridge is hoping to give levels more off a “sandbox feel” and providing several alternate routes for completing a mission.
Killzone: Mercenary features several new gameplay aspects to the series apart from the main console games. Danner has a portable Vita like display called the Van-Guard on his wrist that allows the player to use tactical drones like the Ion Cannon to bombard enemies or for performing flanking maneuvers.
Weapons and load-outs can also be accessed via this display, and players can even resupply in the middle of the mission. Other new features include controlling the drones remotely to attack enemies and manning gunships to wreak havoc using high powered weaponry and explosive rounds. A cool down timer is provided to prevent an abuse of the drone tech. [reference]
Killzone: Mercenary also takes advantage of the PS Vita’s touchscreen, with melee attacks performed by swiping the screen in the indicated direction of the arrow. Depending on the timing, players can also perform parries and counters to knife strikes.
The rear touch pad can be double tapped and held for sprinting, along with zooming in on a target using the sniper rifle. Tilt controls allow players to fine tune their aim while zoomed in.
For the first time in a Killzone campaign, players will be fighting alongside Helghast forces as well as ISA specialists. As a mercenary, they will be completing missions that regular soldiers would find impossible. Players are to free to decide which tactics and load outs can be used to complete missions.
Successfully completing missions’ nets more cash, which can be used to purchase new items, including an impressive range of weaponry. This includes Sniper Rifles and Rocket Launchers along with the standard Assault Rifles, Machine Guns, Pistols and more.
Along with the single player campaign mode, there will be a Challenge mode. Whenever a mission is successfully completed, three new options open up: Covert, Precision and Demolition. Players can thus replay the mission but in a slightly different set up that requires different tactics to complete. Covert challenges rely more on stealth and sneaking; Precision relies more on headshots, melee attacks and interrogations; and Demolition relies more on explosives and destroying additional objectives.
Killzone: Mercenary also features a competitive multiplayer mode with six brand new maps across three game modes. Up to eight players can take part in a match. One of the revealed modes is Guerrilla Warfare, a team death match mode. Players can also assume different classes like Assault, Sniper, Heavy Gunner and more, along with utilizing different “Van-Guard drops” for additional weaponry and items. These include Sky Fury, which provides an air strike; the Porcupine, a lock-on missile launcher which allows players to tap on targets after they’ve been locked; and the Mantis, a remote drone that can perform melee kills. [reference]
There will also be Valour Cards, which players drop after being killed. These cards represent load-outs and ranks, and provide cash when picked up that can be used in both multiplayer and the single-player mode. There are 52 unique cards in total that can be collected with bonuses provided for those who collect them all.