Here’s why I liked Killzone 2.

I’m still stuck in a gaming rut, even though I started Journey. I’ll finish it this weekend when I can sit down and play it straight through. The PS4 announcement and subsequent announcement of Killzone: Shadow Fall is making me think about how much I liked Killzone 2. Since I’m talking about ending stuff, here’s a break. Don’t read the rest of this unless you’ve played it or you really don’t care about spoilers!

Killzone 2 starts with an invasion, except you’re the good guys and you’re invading the bad guy’s planet. Kind of like Quake 2 was a planetary invasion gone wrong. Except Killzone 2 doesn’t seem to be going wrong. Everything is going kind of good, until one of your dudes dies. It’s not particularly emotional, but it happens. Then you’re back aboard one of the invasion motherships to reload and refit.

And then it’s being invaded by Helghast. Apparently the Helghast have been hiding an enormous fleet of their own ships. They’re boarding every ship in orbit. Everything starts going to shit. Radec executes Evelyn and blasts Templar. Templar crashes the ship into the refinery. And then the Helghast nuke their own city to kill the invaders.

There aren’t many ISA left. So we’re going to do the one thing we dreamt of; we’re going to capture the chief space nazi, Scolar Visari. It’s a fucking slog all the way through Visari Palace, but we get to him. Visari tells us we’re going to make a martyr of him and he’s the only thing keeping Helghan together. And Rico fucking shoots him. It’s the fuckup to end all fuckups. Rico is the worst, most annoying character in the whole game, and he blasts Visari. Now we’re two dudes on an alien planet with no way home and no bargaining chip. The end.

What I really enjoy is that turn it takes toward the end. The lead up to the Helghast resurgence is not foreshadowed in the slightest. It’s a reminder that you’re fighting on their turf. Even though you’re there to stop the space nazis, you’re the bad guy. You came to their planet to kill them. Even worse, you didn’t even come prepared. It’s that raw determination behind them. You came to their planet, and they’re going to make sure you never leave it alive. Yeah, you killed Visari. You get a Pyrrhic victory, and that’s it.

So Killzone 2 isn’t exactly the Citizen Kane of video games. But it does something different and dark, and I liked it.