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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Game Play: Killzone 2 Multiplayer

I've finally had a bit of a chance to dig into Killzone 2's online features. To give a quick summary, it's a pretty sound achievement. I've had little problem getting into nearly full servers and the multiple objectives manage to keep the games fresh and interesting (though for the deathmatch fans out there, there's also plenty of servers which are purely deathmatch based).

It's an excellent portion to an already excellent game and impressively visual for an online experience. My real caveats is that some of the maps seem to be hobbled by some crucial choke points. More than a few matches seemed to be mostly about getting out of the spawn area alive than completing goals. And while the squad system adds quite a lot to the game - the matchmaking system doesn't always seem to compensate. When you're getting trampled by guys with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns, the match loses a certain amount of appeal.

That said, as some Tan readers know - I used to do Unreal mods as a hobby. From a modder perspective, the online portion is somewhat interesting.

For one thing, the concept of having multiple objectives on a single map isn't outright new. I knew modders who had been playing around with the concept at least since UT2003, if not earlier. The fact that we're really just seeing the idea come out commercially now is, to me at least, a factor of how much mods became commercialized after Counter-Strike got boxed and how little attention had been served to new gameplay innovations (which is where modding originated).

One of the main issues with placing multiple goals on the same map is that the map layout needs to appease all those goals. Traditionally deathmatch maps are rather blockish with plenty of avenues, capture the flag maps are more or less narrow and mirrored, domination/king of the hill maps are open with specifically designed zones, etc. Choke points aside, the level design handles a lot of requirements extremely well.

I'm moving into moderate addiction mode already, highly recommend.

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