I recently went into the Playstation® Store to download The Walking Dead onto my Vita. When I entered the the Featured tab on the store, I was presented with the Killzone™ Mercenary Public Beta. This is the shooter I have been desperately anticipating, ever since the announce trailer, and as an avid fan, I immediately downloaded and installed the game.
When you launch the application, you will be limited to what you can do, of course as it's a Beta. Though the Beta includes what most people are going to be buy the game for; the multiplayer. No campaign is playable, but that is to be expected. The multiplayer is well done, and for the most part is fully functional. The only inaccessible parts of the multiplayer are two of the three game modes, and you are limited to one of the six maps. The map is called Shoreline and the game mode is Warzone.
Warzone operates as a multi-game function, and games can last for up to thirty minutes. There are five rounds, each round is a different game type. Each round provides a different goal, and as you complete those objectives, points are added to your teams over all score. Ultimately, the team with the most points at the end of the game, wins. It is also to be noted, that each round flows from one to the other. The game never pauses to swap spawns, or count down to a new round, your HUD just updates and you continue on your way.
Round One, and the first mode you will encounter is Bounty Hunter, which is a spin on the team deathmatch formula. Throughout the entire game, when you or any or your enemies die, they drop their Valor, which is simply just a playing card that represents their rank. In Bounty Hunter, it is basically a game of Kill Confirmed in Call of Duty. You kill an enemy you get the xp, but points won't be awarded to your team until you , or a member of your team picks up their valor. Alternatively, you can pick up a fallen team mates valor to prevent the enemy team from scoring the point. This adds a bit of risk, where you have to decide if it's worth running out in the open to grab an enemies valor, or to stick back and secure your own safety.
The second round is Hacker, and is also the fourth round. Is this mode, two VAN-Guard capsules are dropped off randomly on the map. You are prompted to open the VAN-Guards, and secure the equipment, which is more likely to be labeled as a kill streak, except they are not awarded on kills. To do this, you must complete a mini puzzle, which can be easily finished in seconds. For each captured VAN-Guard, your team is awarded three points. Though it is important to note that VAN-Guards are dropped off randomly throughout the entire game, no matter the round. It is to be noted that during the rounds that are not Hacker, no puzzle is required, and it is simply just up to prompting on the capsule.
The third round is that is played is, Interrogator. Again, this is another spin on team deathmatch. The objective is to sneak up behind your enemy, and throw them to the floor, were you will interrogate them. To go about about this, you will be prompted to use the touch screen to swipe in different directions to emulate punching and throwing a person to the ground. Interrogating them will take up to five seconds, and you are completely defenseless during that time to enemy fire, so if is recommended to have your team cover you as you go in for the kill.
The final, and fifth round is strait up team deathmatch, and teams are awarded points immediately on killing an enemy. At the end of this, the team with the largest overall score, is declared victor.
As Warzone this is is a lengthy but fun game mode, the first game mode Mercenary Warfare (free-for-all) and Guerrilla Warfare (team deathmatch) are expected to provide those shorter 10 minute games. Also with in the multiplayer, is the Arms Dealer, which is where you can buy weapons and create your own load outs. All guns and weapons are available for use in the Beta.
As I have highlighted the game play mechanics of the game, the visuals and audio can not go unnoticed. The graphics are stellar, and are easily the best visuals we may have seen on the vita so far. Everything is down to detail, and it seems the developers have pushed the Vita to it's full potential in this one. Also amazing, is the audio and sound. The soundtrack suites the mood, and is always welcomed and you never get tired of it, equally amazing is the detail in game play audio. You will notice different sounds for walking on different surfaces, and each weapon has it's own unique sound.
As this is a Beta, there will be negatives to the game play. Luckily only one stands out that I can really complain about. The spawns. For the most part they are decent, but don't be surprised if you spawn in, only to find your self appear in someone line of site. Or in my instance, I spawned in with the enemy team on their side of the map at the beginning of the game; it led to my awkward death. Hopefully Guerrilla Cambridge will have those issues fixed by release, which they surely will. I will be picking up the game at release, and expect to see a full review by me then.
If you own a Vita, you should head over to the store and download the Beta right now. It's free, and crazy addictive and fun. Retail version of the game hits release on September the 10.