While single player has always been the focus of Killzone 2 at its various press showings, today was all about one thing: multiplayer. Too bad we have to wait until early 2009 for its release, because what we've seen looks like everything PS3 fans have been waiting for. We don't want to use the phrase "Halo killer," because that's not what it is. It's something entirely different; we can't help but think that Killzone 2 may become the definitive PS3-exclusive shooter. Killzone 2's multiplayer experience is something entirely different ... by combining the best aspects of multiplayer gaming from Call of Duty 4, Battlefield, Team Fortress Online, Metal Gear Online and even the upcoming Resistance 2.
Firstly, we have to note the visuals of Killzone 2's multiplayer mode. Even with support of up to 32 players on the PSN, Killzone 2 looks just as good online as it does in the single player campaign. The character models still look incredible, and the game's stellar use of motion blur and lighting still carries on into the online mode. The experience of Killzone 2's multiplayer offerings is all about leveling up, introducing players to new features. Newbies to the game's online mode will find themselves limited in the options they can access, as they learn the basics of the gameplay. With each kill, headshot, heal, and objective, players inch closer to increasing ranks. Ranks will unlock various things in multiplayer, like the ability to start a clan, or switch to a different, more customizable class. There will be twelve ranks in all, and players will learn new tactics and strategies along the way.
As we discussed earlier in the day, the class system of Killzone 2 reminds us a lot of Team Fortress 2. But, that's not a bad thing at all. In fact, there's even more depth to this system, thanks to the ability to mix and match various abilities from different classes. Want to be a Medic Saboteur? Go for it. Want to be a Tactician Scout? Go for it. Because of the large scale of these team-based battles, the choices you make will greatly affect the outcome of the game. Seeing so many abilities combined really opens up a lot of gameplay variety.
Communication and teamwork will be key to victory, and that's why Guerrilla Games is spending so much time on creating squads and clans. Squads can be formed anytime in a match, and these four-man teams will be able to communicate directly to each other. Taking a page from Battlefield, one person can be assigned position of class leader, and so long as that leader is alive, the squad will be able to respawn right next to the leader. This means progression to a map can be easier, so long as the squad communicates and keeps their leader alive. There are strategic advantages to this, such as letting a certain member sacrifice himself to let the leader go on further. Once the fallen member respawns, he will gain all the progress his leader has made.
Clans are going to be big in Killzone 2, and Guerrilla is smartly giving clans "valor points," an in-game currency which can be bet during competitions against other clans. Both teams can place in 500 valor, for example, and the winning team will be able to net 1000 valor, while the loser walks away in shame. We can see squads trying to recruit the best, as they attempt a perilous climb to the top of the Killzone leaderboards.
The comunity features of Killzone 2 won't probably be as comprehensive as the ones being developed for SOCOM Confrontation, but there certainly will be quite a lot to see and do. Extensive stats tracking, tournaments, ladders, and a huge variety of achievements will keep players coming for more. If the in-game community features aren't enough, Guerrilla also has the killzone.com portal which will give players access to all their in-game stats and info.
Killzone 2 is going to be a fun multplayer game. The class-based squad shooting looks to combine the best of arcadey gameplay and tactical strategy. With an ambitious single player campaign, 8 maps that can support up to 32 players, and 5 game play modes, it's clear that Killzone 2 is going to offer a lot of bang for the buck. Too bad the wait until early next year is going to be intolerably long. Thankfully, the public beta, which will be available by year's end, will keep us satiated.