The third instalment in the Killzone franchise is about to launch (23 February 2011) so we thought it pertinent to take a look at the storyline events leading up to this point. Keep an eye out for MyGaming’s review.
The first Killzone title was released as a PlayStation 2 exclusive in November 2004. The game introduced the science fiction setting in which humans have embarked on an era of space colonisation. The Helghast Empire formed from a breakaway faction of humans who colonised the planet Helghan. The harsh environs of the planet caused adaptations and mutations within the Helghast humans, and they are now so altered that many consider them to be a different race to their human ancestry.
The Helghans are fast, strong, and must wear breathing masks that create air like that found on Helghan; this gives the Helghast their trademark appearance of terrifying red glowing goggles and bulky armour.
After a bitter Earth-wide nuclear war, the Human forces consolidated as the Interplanetary Strategic alliance (ISA). The ISA begins to colonise outside of the Sol system at the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri. This is where two colonies were founded – the lush and habitable Vekta and the resource rich but inhospitable Helghan. Although the Helghan actually paid for their colonisation of Vekta, they are driven from Vekta in the first Helghan war. The Helghast bide their time, rebuilding, until they launch an invasion of Vekta.
In Killzone 1 players first take on the role of ISA trooper Jan Templar as he defends Vekta against the Helghan invasion. More playable characters are introduced as the game progresses, including recurring Killzone character Rico Velasquez. As the player progresses, they learn that an ISA traitor, General Stuart Adams, was responsible for disabling the Space Defense platforms around Vekta which were to protect the planet in the case of invasion. The player eventually confronts and kills Adams, bringing an end to Killzone 1.
The game received mediocre critical review, and it currently rests with 70/100 on Metacritic. Complaints included sloppy controls, as well gameplay and graphical glitches. Despite this, critics praised the gritty and brutal atmosphere.
Liberation was a PSP title and direct sequel to Killzone, released in October 2006. The story picks up two months after the events of Killzone 1 and the gameplay was presented as a third-person shooter.
Although dealt a strong blow in Killzone 1, the Helghan still occupy large areas of Vekta, and it’s the player’s job to help remove them, once again taking the role of Jan Templar. The Helghan are actually repelling the ISA advance and the war is taking a particularly dirty turn, with Helghan General Armin Metrac resorting to any means necessary. The Helghan manage to capture three key ISA individuals.
As Jan and his companions, including Rico Velasquez, embark on a mission to rescue the hostages, they discover that there is yet another traitor in the ISA midst. Helghan General Metrac is killed in a showdown with Templar. ISA command fingers velasquez as the traitor supplying the Helghan with information.
Jan eventually finds Rico, and learns that the real traitor is ISA General Dwight Stratson, who sold the planet Vekta to the Helghan all those years before, and is now in shadow command of the remaining Helghan invasion force. In a final showdown Stratson is defeated and arrested by the ISA. Killzone: Liberation concludes with an outro showing Helghast Emperor Scolar Visari speaking of using nuclear weapons on the ISA, marking the beginning of Killzone 2.
Killzone: Liberation received more positive praise than the first title, and currently rests with a score of 77/100 on Metacritic. Opinions were still divided however, with critics saying the difficulty of the game was either its boon or bane. However, it is regarded as one of the best third-person shooters to have appeared on the PSP. The title is now available for download through the PSN Store.
Killzone 2 was released in February 2009. Set two years after the events of Killzone: Liberation, the ISA has now taken the fight to the Helghan home world. The ISA plans to capture the Helghan Emperor Visari, but due to the massive planetary defences, the ISA capital ships cannot get close enough to the planet. They instead dispatch an invasion force of ground troops, tasked with securing the Helghan capitol city of Pyrrhus. Players take on the role of Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko, with stalwart companion Rico Velasquez in tow.
The ISA invasion goes well until the Helghast unleash the power of the harnessed lightning storms that rage over the planet. The first wave of ISA invasion troops is slaughtered by electric arc towers. Sev and Rico are diverted to accompany an ISA scientist to try and find a way to halt the production of the raw materials at the Parsus refinery that power the towers. Along the way some of the team are captured and Sev and Rico mount a rescue operation. The group barely escapes, but suffers some losses, finally retreating to an ISA cruiser called New Sun.
The New Sun and other cruisers are taken by surprise by Helghan boarding parties and a fierce ship-to-ship battle ensues. Helghan Colonel Radec manages to reach the bridge of the New Sun and along the way mortally wounds our old friend and now Fleet Commander Jan Templar. Radec steals the ISA nuclear strike codes and we learn that the ISA nuclear weapons have also been captured. Templar deactivates the thrusters of the New Sun and sends it plunging into the Parsus refinery, thereby halting the use of the lightning arc towers.
With the towers down the ground forces make a push to capture the Pyrrhus Palace. In an act of desperation, the Helghan detonate a nuke in the city, and decimate the ISA forces. Sev, Rico, and Alpha team are the last hope. With the fleet and ground forces decimated, they push forward in an attempt to capture Emperor Visari but along the way they encounter Helghan Colonel Radec. A vicious battle ensues, with Radec ultimately defeated, he commits suicide to evade capture.
Sev and Rico corner and confront Emperor Visari. Although under orders to capture the Visari, Rico succumbs to the Helghan Emperor’s goading, and in a blind rage of revenge for his fallen comrades, he murders Scolar Visari. As the Emperor bleeds out, his last words are :”The madness…begins.”
As the Killzone 2 draws to a close, Sev goes outside to sit on the steps of the palace. The scene before him is grim – a fleet of Helghan battleships are mounting a renewed assault on the remaining ISA forces. This is to set the stage for Killzone 3.
Killzone 2 fared far better with critics, and it currently stands with 91/100 on Metacritic. Despite this score, the delivery of the storyline was slated as being weak and disjointed. It was praised for its visceral graphics and the refined gameplay that improved upon the lacklustre affair of Killzone 1.
This concludes our Killzone storyline retrospective, and this should get gamers up to speed in preparation for Killzone 3 which promises a climactic conclusion to the struggle between ISA and the Helghan.
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