For the longest time the Vita struggled to find a first person shooter that could stand aside triple-A shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. The newest entry in the Killzone franchise, Killzone Mercenary, has managed to do just that. It is a handheld first person shooter that shows off amazing graphics and plays just as well as any other shooter. It may not innovate the genre, or be very long, but that’s okay because it manages to do so much more then I had ever dreamed possible on a handheld device.
Killzone: Mercenary has two main game modes. The first mode is the single player campaign. Though short, it does offer a surprisingly good story. When I started Killzone Mercenary, I wasn’t expecting much content story-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised to have thoroughly enjoyed what was given to me. Without spoiling it, you are a mercenary fighting in the war, who doesn’t care who he is working for and only cares who is paying him. Your character must make moral choices along the way, and he doesn’t always like what he is doing. Of course the story is not going to make you cry or blow you away, but I was very content with it. of course if you don’t like the story, there is plenty of replay value. Playing the game on different difficulties, and completing it on different modes, rewards you with more money.
Concept art for Killzone: Mercenary
Then the second game mode is unsurprisingly multiplayer. With 6 maps and 3 game modes, the multiplayer may sound lacking, but is rich with content. The three game modes include Mercenary Warfare, which is a standard free-for-all match, Guerrilla Warfare, which is a team-deathmatch and finally there is Warzone. Warzone is a game mode where throughout one match, 5 different objectives will take place. These include hacking, stealth and more. I had a lot of fun with this game mode and it is definitely where the multiplayer shines. The six maps featured in multiplayer are all diverse as well. Each one has a unique attribute that sets them apart. For example one map features vertical gameplay, while others are much larger and so on. The multi-player is definitely the highlight of the game and is just as addicting as any other multi-player shooter.
Shoreline, the map featured in the multiplayer beta, is definitely the best map.
Throughout Killzone Mercenary a large theme is money. Everything you do collects money, pick up ammo, kill an enemy, get a headshot and so on. Why Mercenary does this is so that while you playing single player you are earning money that can go towards your multiplayer classes. This feature lets Killzone take advantage of being on a handheld and can be extremely addicting.
In this trailer the emphasis on money is showed
One thing that Mercenary fails to do, is be unique. Killzone Mercenary may be a good shooter, especially for a handheld game, but it never does anything groundbreaking or new. If you have played other first person shooters, then Killzone may not be that leap forward that you may have expected. Although it is hard to punish a handheld game for being too similar to other console games, Killzone definitely needed something that set it apart from other shooters.
Killzone Mercenary is definitely a great handheld shooter. It delivers a surprisingly good story, great multiplayer and interesting emphasis on money. Although Killzone fails to be unique and has a hard time setting itself apart, it manages to be one of the vita’s best games. If you own a PS Vita then Mercenary is probably on your radar, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite manage to be the reason to own a vita. Overall I give Killzone: Mercenary an 8
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