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Killzone 2 E3 2005 Preshow Report

In all the years we've been attending E3, we've never seen anything as insanely amazing looking as Sony's demonstration of Killzone 2 running on the PlayStation 3.


All right, it's Killzone 2. Although the original game wasn't very warmly received, Guerrilla is back with Killzone 2, and at this point, it's definitely the talk of the show.

Although the footage of Killzone 2 is fairly brief, it manages to walk viewers through an entire landing sequence. It opens with nothing but a shot of clouds, but quickly pulls back to reveal human faces. And oh, what faces they are. The fidelity and reality of the models here are frankly unbelievable, easily matching fully CGI Hollywood films of just a few years ago. It's not too difficult to imagine something like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within rendered in real time with the Killzone 2 engine. The models and animations here are so smooth, in fact, that it's tempting to assume that the Killzone 2 footage is prerendered or somehow doctored, but if it is all in-engine, and we have no reason to believe that it's not, then it's going to be hard to imagine a game coming along during E3 that's more visually impressive than this.

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The footage, as mentioned, starts off in the air, as an aerial landing craft filled with soldiers descends onto a ruined urban landscape. After a near collision with another landing craft, and after witnessing the destruction of a fellow vessel, which subsequently crashes into a building, the landing craft that the video focuses on manages to safely land, and soldier whose point of view we're following leaps over the side onto the ground. The whole sequence is somewhat reminiscent of the Normandy invasion as seen in films like Saving Private Ryan or in the first Medal of Honor game for the PC.

The action doesn't end there, though, as the first-person viewpoint takes you underneath a bridge near the landing zone, where you begin fighting off the unknown enemies, which sport trenchcoats and gas masks and bear a striking resemblance to the combine soldiers of Half-Life 2. After picking off a few of them, they counterattack with a flamethrower, which engulfs a few of your compatriots. After you shoot the flamethrower enemy, though, he whips around and accidentally burns his own teammates alive and also manages to destroy one of their vehicles, which explodes. Well, it looks quite nice is all we can say.

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The last segment of the video takes you atop the bridge near the landing zone, where more of the unknown soldiers are getting slaughtered. Unfortunately, they bring in backup in the form of a gunship, which quickly eliminates yet more of your soldiers, but you have an answer for that, as you pelt it with a heat-seeking rocket and send it crashing...right into your position on the bridge. The final image of the trailer is of the gunship crashing and flipping off the bridge into midair, which occurs just before the image fades to the Killzone logo.

We're not ashamed to say that the Killzone 2 video has made many GameSpot editors' jaws drop; most of us have watched it half a dozen times or so since it hit our booth. Our only lingering thought is whether or not this is actual in-game footage; the footage looks a far sight more impressive than some of the other games on display (although they're all quite impressive), and there are virtually no frame rate discrepancies to be found, even when the screen is overwhelmed by particle effects, such as when the various vehicles explode. If this is true in-game rendering, though, and again, we have no reason to believe that it's not, then Killzone 2 is definitely one of the most impressive visual demos ever to appear at E3, alongside the first appearances of MGS2, Half-Life 2, and Doom 3. Only time will tell if Killzone 2 turns out to be a good game or not, but for now, we're definitely pumped to see more of this game in the future.

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