Killzone Liberation is a solid attempt to bring the second instalment of the Killzone franchise onto the PSP. It's an entertaining game, bravely breaking away from the FPS mode of the original PS2 game in favour of a top down shooter that utilises the functions of the PSP more successfully. Graphics are standard quality, not as impressive as some later PSP games, and the controls can be tricky to the point of frustrating to start with. Other than that, it's a solid PSP game that will keep you entertained for hours completing the single player campaign.
The storyline takes place just after the original Killzone as you (Capt Templar) attempt to clear the Helghast off Vecta, track down their commander, rescue some people and unravel the web of lies in a similar vain to the original. The story line of Killzone was one of its strong points, drawing you deeper into the game and they've kept it going over Killzone: Liberation.
Design: FPSs have always been a difficult to develop for the PSP due to the limited control system options. Therefore Guerrilla Games, the creators of Killzone Liberation, have made a brave leap to a top down shooter system. As gaming systems go, it's a solid transition, allowing you to see the surrounding areas, use cover and a range of weapons to make tactical decisions for planning your assault.
It does do away with the immersive FPS style, and nothing can really jump out or surprise you. But the game is pretty challenging nonetheless. It also gives you the ability to control a partner during some stages, giving you an interesting squad command system that brings a new and useful dimension to the game, allowing you to use fire and manoeuvre and controlling covering fire. Or even send you partner to carry out a particularly difficult task while you plug away from a safe distance.
Since this is a PSP game, controls are pretty basic, using your analogue nub to move, change direction and aim. This is fine, once you get used to it, but can be incredibly frustrating to start with, especially when you're trying to shoot a target that's right in front of you and your guy keeps choosing to shoot in random directions, doing little in the way of anything near helpful as you get pummelled by a shotgun. There is an auto-aim/lock-on system that improves this aspect and allows you to move around and keep shooting at the same target, as well as a solid cover system allowing you to hide safely while enemy pop rounds into concrete and steel walls.
Graphics are pretty standard for the time the game was developed, and not really a touch on more recent PSP games. Saying that, everything is pretty clear, you can tell goodies (ISA) from baddies (Helghast) and the scenery is pretty straight forward and varied, with obvious routes, buildings, woods, swamps, sewers and streets.
Most of the game takes place outside, but there are a few parts that take place in buildings or underground, ingenious considering it's a top down shooter. Levels are large and you usually have a few tasks to complete. Enemies are your standard mix of regular light troops to heavier troops with more armour and better weapons. There's a nice array of weapons available to you and to be used against you.
After navigating the maps in each stage, killing all the baddies and completing all the tasks (sometimes figuring out some pretty straight forward puzzles) you will be rewarded with a boss fight. These are pretty standard as boss fights go, you have to work out the weak points, rinse and repeat until the boss dies. They can be frustrating, but they're all pretty simple once you know what to do.
The game will keep you going for a good few hours depending on how good you are (as long as you get the hang of the controls before chucking your beloved PSP at a wall from frustration). It took me about 5 and half hours, but it's hard to tell when you spread it across tube and train journeys.
Once you've finished single player, you can engage in the multi-player fun... if you can find anyone someone else to play that is. Every time I have logged on the games have been empty, but there are some impressive videos on Youtube if you care to look.
Good, enjoyable, but not massively `fun'. If you like the Killzone franchise, or you just like a new and different challenge then its certainly worth a pop, if you get frustrated easily or if you need the best of the best, I'd advise you go for a more recent PSP game.
[Looking for other PSP games? Check out my reviews for LittleBigPlanet, Gran Tourismo PSP, Motorstorm Arctic Edge, Blood Bowl, Resistance Retribution, and probably others.]