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Killzone: Liberation: Now get to liberatin'...

To be completely honest with you, Killzone: Liberation has never really been that big a blip on my radar screen. I’ve kept an eye on whenever new media popped up, but it was never something that I was frothing at the mouth for. But, like the Brady kids once sang, “Well its time to change/ When its time to change you've got to rearrange.” After getting the chance to spend some time with a preview version of the game, the blip on the screen has become much bigger.

The PSP version of the game picks up where the PS2 original left off, but takes a completely new direction as far as design. By now I’m sure even some of the PSP’s more hardcore fans would agree that the lack of a second analog stick has really crippled a majority of shooters. Some, like Syphon Filter, have managed to produce a workable interface, but most have failed. Taking this into account, Guerrilla has opted to make Liberation a top-down shooter instead, a move that so far seems to have paid off.

Liberation opens with the first pushes of humanity’s invasion of the Helghast homeworld. Once again taking the role of Templar, your job is to help push the southern invasion while also dealing with Metrac, a rogue general who is operating in the same area.

The single-player campaign spans four chapters, each consisting of four missions. Missions are standard run-and-gun affairs, only with a few side-activities thrown in. In some missions you’ll have to take control of giant machine guns and stop an Helghast charge, while others have you clearing out trenches using C4. One mission even has you evacuating a base of important VIPs as Helghast soldiers pour in from all sides. The number of enemies and objectives can get overwhelming for one soldier, so Guerrilla has gone ahead and given you two – making Liberation more of a tactical shooter.

The general interface is streamlined and easy to use. All of your commands are context sensitive and require pressing a single button. A lock-on feature is used for combat, though the lock won’t stay on a target if you move around too much. You can strafe a bit to the left or right while finding cover, but wild swings in any direction break the lock. Commanding your second solider is also very easy to use. After bringing up the command screen (which is really just the game screen with the camera pulled out a little more), several context sensitive icons will pop up in various locations. All you need to do is select the icon, hit a button and the solider gets to work.

If ordering an A.I. around isn’t enough for you, you can also hook up with a friend and play through the entire co-op mode through a Wi-Fi connection. Liberation will also feature six-player Deathmatch as well as other online multiplayer modes.

Killzone: Liberation is a different game than the PS2 original, but it still manages to capture the game’s unique look and feel. With the PSP in desperate need for a big release, it looks like Killzone: Liberation might be just what the system needs to vault itself to the top. Look for it this October.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
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