The game is now the second ever Killzone title to hit a portable console since Killzone: Liberation was released for the PSP back in 2006.
This time though, Killzone: Mercenary is a fully fledged FPS game that looks just as good as the console versions.
Killzone: Mercenary plays a lot like the previous games in the series, although it’s nice to see that some new additions have been added to make this game more unique.
Thanks to the unique controls of the PS Vita, playing a FPS game has never been this fun before.
One of my favourite additions in Mercenary is that you can aim using the motion sensor built inside the PS Vita.
You can now aim down your sights by pressing the “L” button and then move around the PS Vita to get a clear shot at your enemies.
It’s a neat addition if you never played a Killzone game before using the PlayStation Move controller. You can also opt to play the traditional way by aiming using the right stick too if you please.
The touch screen also plays a huge role on how you play Mercenary on the PS Vita. Melee attacks have been overhauled (slightly) and have never been so fun to execute.
You can execute melee attacks at anytime as long as an enemy solider is within range. All you have to do is press the “triangle” button and a prompt will appear on the screen that will tell you to swipe your finger in a specific direction. If you fail to do this quickly, the enemy will kick you down and start shooting at you again.
I must say that the melee attacks felt very smooth and very satisfying. Not to mention the brutal animation of seeing an enemy’s neck getting sliced in full view is a sight to see...
In terms of the actual gameplay, Mercenary still stays true to the series’ roots. I always liked the fact that the Killzone series is one of the few FPS franchises out there that has a cover system.
Mercenary also allows you to hide behind walls if you’re getting overwhelmed with lots of bullets flying around. It’s also worth mentioning that the collision detection is spot on and bullets rarely miss their targets.
If you’ve played any of the previous Killzone games, Mercenary on the PS Vita feels just as good.
The biggest new addition in Mercenary is the “weapon loadout” system. A guy by the name of Blackjack has crates scattered throughout missions where you can buy new weapons, armor, items and grenades.
When you complete objectives or kill lots of enemies, you will earn points so that you can spend them on new upgrades. This is a feature I remember the old Rainbow Six games having and it made the games more fun to play.
Graphically, Mercenary looks just as good as any Killzone game released on the PS3. The graphics may not as detailed in places, but it truly uses the PS Vita’s graphical abilities to its full potential.
The only downside to the graphics is that it may have impacted on the game’s framerate. I noticed the game slowed down several times when there were lots of enemies on screen trying to kill me.
It got to a point where one soldier was frozen inside of a wall. This is a preview after all and let’s hopes the framerate doesn’t drop so dramatically when the full game releases this September.
The PS Vita is in need of a AAA blockbuster exclusive and Killzone: Mercenary might be the game that will deliver on this promise.
After Black Ops: Declassified and Resistance: Burning Skies disappointed PS Vita fans last year, it looks like Killzone: Mercenary will not make the same mistake as the gameplay is explosively fun as any other FPS game on bigger console machines.