'Killzone: Mercenary' impresses on Vita

Sunday, 28 July 2013 09:17 PM Written by 

KZMercenariesThink of the typical first-person shooter experience on the PlayStation Vita. The dreadful “Resistance: Burning Skies” may come to mind. Thankfully, there’s another Sony franchise that is poised to wash that horrid taste from the mouths of Vita owners called “Killzone: Mercenary.”

I played a preview in the form of a lone single-player mission. From the opening stanza, it’s shocking that “Mercenary” and “Burning Skies” are on the same platform.

“Mercenary” feels like a full-bodied first-person shooter in the handheld package. It’s evident that scope and scale of the environments received plenty of attention in the game’s development. The mission puts you on an airship as a one-man army. Both the indoor and outdoor locales are packed with an impressive amount of detail for a handheld device from the backgrounds to the character models.

The basic controls took some getting used to since I’m accustomed to aiming on an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller. Longer analog sticks make precision much easier. I relied heavily on stealth kills with my knife, an angle that appears to be one of “Mercenary” key strategies.

Enemies in this stage aren’t alerted to your presence unless you’re spotted, they hear your gunfire, or you stroll in front of a motion sensor. If you stay out of sight, you can take down enemies silently with stealth kills. Approaching an enemy and pressing triangle engages slow motion, and a random direction swipe on the touch screen activates a brutal blade kill.

Gun loadouts can be customized throughout the stages thanks to the arms dealer. These safes are scattered throughout the mission. New guns can be purchased and equipped by spending funds that are earned based on performance. Different styles of kills earns more money, hence the title, “Mercenary.”

This was just a small taste of “Mercenary” which is set to release on September 10. Multiplayer was not part of this preview build, but will play a large role in the final version. The demo has every indication that this is the first-person shooter that Vita owners have been waiting for.

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