Killzone 2 Map Pack Reviews
Killzone 2 (Ps3)
Steel & Titanium Map Pack
The first of three planned DLC map packs, Steel & Titanium is Guerilla’s first chance to show off what kind of post-launch support they can show for their critically applauded sci-fi first person shooter, Killzone 2. Steel & Titanium features two brand new maps for the Warzone, one of which is great, one of which isn’t, and the package comes at a steep price.
The first of two maps, titled Wasteland Bullet, takes place on the Tharsis Refinery train. Players should remember this level from the single player campaign. It’s a rather memorable sequence with awesome wind physics on display, and a very lengthy, narrow level for firefights to take place.
What has been changed for multiplayer is for the better. Because of the tightness of the map, and the highspeed of the train, pillars in the tunnel constantly pass by between two speeding trains. To get across, players need to jump, although it’s possible to get caught on a pillar and to instantly become killed. It adds a little bit of thinking to the navigation process, and it definitely livens up the experience.
Unfortunately, this is one of the weaker maps in Killzone 2. It doesn’t feature the verticality that the multiplayer is known for, and most firefights are little more than small sprints followed by a simple round of gunfire. The speed of the train mixed with the narrow map design can actually lead to some slight disorientation. This doesn’t make the map bad at all. In fact, no map in Killzone 2 is actually bad, they’re all very good. Intense battles can still be fought on this map, it’s a lot of fun to jump from train to train, but when compared to other maps in the Killzone 2 experience, Wasteland Bullet falls short of its potential and just doesn’t match up very well.
The second map in the pack is called Vekta Cruiser, and this takes place on a big aircraft high above the skies of Helghast. This scene is also taken from a part of the campaign. This is actually one of the most balanced maps in Killzone 2, and it’s certainly better than Wasteland Bullet.
Vekta Cruiser is a very large map consisting of two nearly symmetrical floors. Each faction starts in a wide open area with stairs leading to the other level, and then leads out into the big core drive area (the big purple thing at the start of the campaign), where most battles take place. The outskirts of the map are on the outside of the craft, with the glaring Helghan sun in the distance, with lots of winding paths and doorways which are perfect for flanking. With most main battles taking place in the middle section, and small confrontations happening on the other parts, this is a well balanced and fun map, it’s about what you’d expect from anything in Killzone 2’s multiplayer.
If there’s one knock at Vekta Cruiser, it’s that the visuals aren’t quite as well as some of the other maps. That being said, this is still Killzone 2 and it still looks better than other Ps3 shooters, but it’s got a blander colour palette than anything else in the game, as well as some lingering aliasing issues.
Steel & Titanium is a decent first DLC pack for Killzone 2, but it’s nothing mind blowing. Vekta Cruiser is very good, and Wasteland Bullet is decent as well as pretty, but the price of $5.99 is a little too high for two maps that don’t break the charts. If you’re not willing to purchase the mega bundle for $11.99, I suggest this could be a decent pickup and a nice addition to Killzone 2’s incredible multiplayer.
6.5 out of 10
Flash & Thunder Map Pack
Flash and Thunder is the second of three planned DLC map packs for Killzone 2’s multiplayer. As opposed to brand new designs, this is a bit of a throwback pack, as it features two original Killzone maps for the price of $5.99. Overpriced that may be, Flash & Thunder is by far the best map pack available for Killzone 2. It’s the prettiest, it’s the most balanced, and it’s got some pretty awesome surprises awaiting.
The first map in this DLC pack is titled Beach Head. This was the best map in Killzone, and the transition over to the Ps3 has worked wonders for it, so much that it’s in fact the best map in Killzone 2. Who would have thought?
One of the most straightforward maps in all of Killzone 2, Beach Head features a base for each faction, and one large open field for all the fighting to take place. Thanks to its beach setting, as well as some lovely weather, there’s a ton of trenches, hills, and cover from rubble. The way that the map is designed is about as close to perfection as one could imagine, which resulted in the best map in all of Killzone 2.
Southern Hills is the second map in this DLC pack, and it’s no slouch either. From first glance, its art may put you off a little bit (what on earth are these structures the fighting takes place in?), but it turns out to be a greatly balanced and large scaled map.
There are a few buildings scattered throughout the map, all of which features some odd geometry, which is perfect for snipers, and it provides some great vertical gunplay. The surrounding areas aren’t simply flat, and intense firefights occur here as well. This is one of the best maps in regards to vantage points.
What sets this map apart is the nuke. This will scare the hell out of you the first time you see it. It’s unexpected and deadly. Off in the distance, you’ll see a bright light that’s expanding very slowly. All of a sudden sirens will begin to rage, and the best thing for you to do is find some shelter. There are few areas on the map that provide what’s needed. Stay out in the open, and you’ll get crisped. It’s rather fantastic, and unique to Killzone 2. This is the only map with anything like it.
These are the two best maps available for download in Killzone 2. At $5.99, it’s overpriced, but out of the three packs, this is by far the best. If you’re only going to buy one map pack, this is it.
9.0 out of 10
Napalm & Cordite Map Pack
The last of the trilogy of map packs is called Napalm & Cordite. Again, like the other two packs, it’s overpriced. However, this isn’t the worst you can get for your money.
The first map on this DLC set is called Suljeva Cliffside. This is an insanely narrow and claustrophobic map. The action itself actually becomes too hectic when enough players get involved, and the addition of a flamethrower available for pickup doesn’t help. Even so, the map looks great, it features some great vertical sections, and with 24 or fewer players, it can lead to some great action.
Arctower Landing is a bit of a different story. This map is fantastic. A jungle of metal buildings, it’s just an all out war from corridor to corridor. A medium sized map featuring the bolt gun, the action tends to sway back and forth. It’s large enough to fit 32 players, and it truly is the essence of Killzone 2’s multiplayer. It makes up for the lacklustre Suljeva Cliffside.
Yet again, $5.99 is too high an asking price. Arctower Landing is magnificent, but it’s not enough to save this pack. The addition of powerful weapons is a great idea, and it works out in the end. Still, I recommend Flash & Thunder, or picking up the $11.99 bundle.
6.0 out of 10
6 Map Bundle
If you’re looking to only get one pack, I recommend Flash & Thunder. If you insist on more, you’re going to want to get this bundle. It’s essentially all 3 packs for the price of 2. It’s a decent enough value, and you do boot your playlist from 8 maps to 14, which is a daunting prospect. Guerilla did a great job with their map design here, I just wish they’d do a great job with their prices in the future.
8.0 out of 10