If you've only played the demo once and have come away from those short few minutes of gameplay with a sour taste we urge you to replay a few times. This game takes time to "click". At least it did with us.
Initially installing the demo with wavering excitement we were aghast with the opening cutscene and alarmed with the controls. Call Of Duty 4 this ain't. Never has an endorsement carried so much weight. We'd heard it from numerous press sources but we finally understood it within seconds of our first enemy encounter. Aiming felt somewhat clunky as we sprayed our bullets Resistance style landing zero Helghast hits. The enemies flanked us and we were down.
Picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves down we held ourselves as far back as we could and patiently picked off the enemies. Rewardingly greeted by the screams of the enemy we witnessed the hit response system for the first time and couldn't help but grin. With our first playthrough of the relatively short demo (approximately 15 minutes) over we came away from it somewhat bewildered for a reason we couldn't quite contextualise.
So we played through again. And again. And again. Until the time of writing at which we've played through the demo sequence seven times. Guess who loves Killzone 2 now?
Switching to the "Alternate 2" control scheme we found we bridged a line between Call Of Duty's arcade mechanics and Killzone's intended weight. With the new control scheme we found popping into and out of zoom much more comfortable while the developers intended burden felt interestingly rewarding. Spraying bullets will cause a lot of recoil. Movement and jumping is hindered by the heaviness of your characters armour and equipment. What initially we thought was a big problem we've come to love and we're sure those who give it time will too.
The enemies writhe and whimper as our gun shots judder across the length of their body. It's not a smooth water-pistol like flow of bullets, it's a brutal onslaught of metal impacting the enemies entire body as a beautifully orchestrated score builds the suspense. Although somewhat silly when we get up close to them the enemies generally have some intelligence. On one occassion we found ourselves being attacked from behind. "Where the hell did he come from?" we questioned. Until we realised he'd actually used the cover to sneak up behind us and get an easy kill. When a video game outsmarts you like that at first you feel dumb, then you realise that it's a technical feat all of it's own.
Most disappointing about the demo is it's length but then we'll forgive Guerilla for creating such a splendid teaser. A couple of open air battles and a larger indoor battle and you're done with the demo. Only to be treated to the "ballet of death" trailer.
If we had the full game, getting to grips with Killzone 2 would probably have taken approximately 30 minutes of play. It's upsetting to see some people walk away to their favourite message board after just five. We liken the realisation that Killzone 2 is different to a large climbing frame. If you climb it halfway and fall off the first time you might be inclined to walk away but, keep trying until you reach the top and you'll be granted the view that a higher vantage point creates.
In other words, play the demo and then play it again. We assure you hidden beneath the fear of change is some of the most rewarding gunplay we think we've experienced.