Shooter excels despite Vita limitations
Sporting dual analog sticks and powerful architecture, PlayStation Vita is surely tailor-made for great first-person shooters. Yet, over a year and a half after its launch, it's been left with nothing but a handful of dreadful attempts at the genre (see: Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified).
The void in the genre on the Vita has been very noticeable, but thankfully, it has just been filled. Killzone: Mercenary is a shooter that not only impresses in the single player campaign, but flexes its powerful muscles online aswell.
Killzone's native studio, Guerrilla Games, never bothered to take advantage of the potential of its series' story, and with Cambridge taking over for a Vita one-off, Killzone has never strayed more from its central lore. Instead of taking the side of the ISA in its never-ending struggle against the Nazi-like Helghast, we are cast in the role of Aaran Danner, a mercenary-for-hire who's perfectly willing to work for either end of the conflict, so long as he's well-paid.
Killzone: Mercenary's everything-for-money slant is its main draw, and while it results in some comical dialogue that drives the point home a little too often, working for cash - and not Mercenary's plot - kept me coming back for more.
Each of Mercenary's nine campaign missions has three Contracts associated with it that require you to complete said mission under special parameters. Precision, Covert and Demolition Contracts each offer directives that can increase the overall content in the campaign, commanding a much higher replay value and extending the campaign completion time anywhere up to eight or nine hours.
Unfortunately there are times when the limitations of Vita's hardware ever-so-slightly stilt gameplay. Vita's sticks aren't clickable, so running is only achievable through pressing circle or the back touchpad.
The wait for a decent FPS for the Vita, and indeed, a great successor for the Killzone series has been long and arduous, but Killzone: Mercenary truly delivers a great title that will lay the groundwork for future FPS titles on the handheld console. With strong online modes and a terrific campaign, Killzone: Mercenary truly shines, despite having a few inevitable shortcomings.
New Ross Standard