The PlayStation Vita is an outstanding handheld, one with the kind of control layout that feels right at home with first person shooters. Resistance: Burning Skies isn’t half bad, but Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified came up short in comparison to other entries in the series. However, this September should introduce just what the system needs with Killzone Mercenary.
Announced last year, Mercenary is the latest Killzone game from Guerrilla Games, who is also hard at work on the new Shadow Fall entry for PlayStation 4. The games will be different, but Mercenary is being crafted to take full advantage of the Vita’s features – and as expected, will have multiplayer action as well.
As you can see from the game’s latest trailer, Guerrilla Games’ Cambridge team is sparing no expense at bringing all the excitement of the series to the portable front. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to cut Helghast soldiers down to size, whether you snipe one in the helmet with a well-placed rifle blast or take a more visceral approach by torching a group of them with a flame thrower.
The game’s controls have been mapped between the dual analog sticks for aiming and movement, the trigger buttons for shooting and the touch screen when it comes to throwing grenades, hurling Vanguards or melee striking someone. You can also follow on-screen button prompts to execute enemies silently in case you want to avoid alerting an entire Helghast squad to your location. Though the controls take some getting used to, Guerrilla promises a smooth experience overall, one that players will grow accustomed to within a few minutes of play.
In addition, Killzone Mercenary also grants access to special tactical items that you can use to mow down enemies. These include the Matis Drone, a fly-over drone that is capable of killing Helghast soldiers from a distance; the Porcupine, a rocket launcher that can do major damage when fired in the right spot; and the Sky Fire, which calls in a remote control air strike vehicle that can cover a larger radius with its attacks.
As you proceed through Mercenary, you’ll make use of a monetary system that will allow you to purchase new rewards. These include additional Vanguards you can use against enemies as well as new weapons, like a powerful shotgun or the aforementioned flame thrower. There’s a neat catch here – your currency isn’t just saved for single player. You can also take what you unlock and apply it to online multiplayer, giving your arsenal a much-needed boost.
Guerrilla Games isn’t skimping on the PS Vita’s multiplayer options either. There are several maps to choose from, including Shoreline, Marketplace, Zenith, Refinery, Skyline and Intel, each of which have plenty of chances for both up-close fights and long-range skirmishes. The multiplayer portion also comes with three match types – Guerrilla Warfare Mode, which is bound to be a favorite with the competitive crowd; Mercenary Warfare, a mode where players enjoy a free-for-all battle while trying to earn Vektan Dollars for the shop without worrying about a time limit; and Warzone Mode, where two factions face off across five separate missions, with each one carrying its own rules and regulations. It’s up to your team to figure out the best strategy to win while avoiding the enemy.
Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Killzone Mercenary has the kind of first-person shooting action that would put last year’s Call of Duty to shame. The story mode will take time to get through and the online portion looks to have plenty of support. On top of that, being able to unlock a larger supply of weapons is a reward worth striving for. It’ll be available in both retail form and as a digital download on PlayStation Network September 10th.