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Killzone: Mercenary Beta Hands On

Posted on August 22, 2013 AT 11:54am

The PlayStation Vita is desperately in need of a killer app. With the recent price drop and impending slew of indie titles headed to the portable, the one final push it needs to drive a proper install base is one game that’s just too good to pass up. After spending some time with the beta for the latest entry in the Killzone franchise, I’m seeing a game with some good potential to provide that needed push. After some time with the beta for Killzone: Mercenary, my hopes are certainly higher for the future of the portable console.

The beta for Killzone: Mercenary focuses on one mode in the online multiplayer of the game. Warzone, a staple of the series, puts you on a team-based match with objectives that change throughout the game. At one moment, you’re taking out opponents and picking up the valor cards that they drop for points. Another, and you’re hacking into pods strewn about the level. Dominating one part of the game isn’t enough, you have to be versatile enough to perform during all of the rounds well in order for your team to win. Once you’ve finished the match, you can spend your hard-earned cash on new guns and special items.

What impressed me about the beta thus far however was not the fact that it came with this mode I would’ve expected from a Killzone game either way. It was how they’ve finally managed to work out some incredibly smooth controls for the first-person-shooter on the handheld. The layout they’ve set up with the controls doesn’t call attention to the fact that you’re playing on a handheld console nearly as much as some of its counterparts that have been released on the console thus far. Everything, expect for minor issue figuring out how to sprint at first, just managed to flow and I was able to be immersed in the game instead of focusing on trying to master the controls.

The beta has it nailed in the looks department as well. It’s easily one of the best-looking games I’ve yet to play on the console, and at this point that’s a pretty major compliment. The few glitches I saw appeared to be due to internet rather than graphical limitations, mostly just shooting someone in the face and then waiting about three seconds to die. The level wasn’t tiny by any means, but there have definitely been larger FPS maps and I would love to see some bigger ones in the final version.

All in all, I’ve had a good time thus far with the beta for Killzone: Mercenary and plan to play even more over the next several days. If the single-player portion of the game is able to follow suit and provide as pretty and immerse an experience as the multiplayer, this could definitely be the game the Vita has needed to draw in more of a crowd. The beta is currently open to anyone who has a PlayStation Plus membership. If you’ve chosen to opt out of PlayStation Plus for now, worry not as the beta will be available to everyone starting August 27th. Now, get out there and let me earn some money stealing your valor cards!

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