Hype is a scary thing when it comes to video games. On one hand, the lack of hype for whatever reason can completely destroy the success of a game, and has been known to ruin franchises. This usually happens when a game comes out close to a much higher profile game, and it gets lost in the shuffle. Sometimes the studios or publishers just do a horrible job at promoting the game, thus giving review sites and such poor impressions and an overall lack of interest in the product. And of course, there are instances of the game being really good, but missing that "it" factor to make it shine to the consumer.
And then there is the opposite effect of hype, where a game is over hyped to the point of building expectations so high, it can never even come close to fulfilling the prospect of its quality. Whether it be from the game companies themselves, review sites or the general public, it is always a very thing line to walk on, with one miscue pushing the hype train into the over-hyped category. I've been burnt before on over hyped games, falling victim to the excitement and build-up only to have the game fall short of the mark. It's an uncomfortable feeling, but sometimes it's just unavoidable.
Which brings me to Killzone: Mercenary for the PS Vita. This game might have been the most anticipated and hyped game for the handheld console ever, and finally, after all the talk, speculation, previews, reviews, betas and demos, the game finally came out. And not a minute too soon, either, as I'm pretty sure Vita owners were getting ready to go on a collective strike if they didn't get something new and awesome to play on it soon. Killzone: Mercenary has been labeled already as a "console seller," which just means that the game is so good, it could tempt non-Vita owners to run out and buy a system just to play this game. It's also been pronounced to be the best First Person Shooter on a handheld device ever, which is a heavy label to hold and be responsible to live up to.
While I didn't touch the betas and didn't follow the development cycle very closely, I found myself excited about this game as much as the rest of the world. I knew all along I would be getting the game, as it would be my first experience with the Killzone franchise ever, if only because I was curious about the hype it was receiving. I like being apart of the conversations, not left on the outside looking in, hoping to formulate some context and judgement form other peoples' opinions.
I'm glad to be apart of this conversation for sure.
So here's the deal. I didn't jump right in to the multiplayer like everyone else and their mothers did. For me, as you should know by now, I'm all about single player campaigns. Plus, without ever touching a Killzone game before, I wanted to learn about the game, the universe, the controls and simply put, the ins and outs of the game before I jump in with a bunch of other players and embarrass myself. Plus, you know, multiplayer gaming just isn't my thing, as much as I sometimes wish it was.
Playing the campaign was fun, and I enjoyed learning a brand new game. The controls work great and the even the small amount of touch controls didn't bother me at all. There are a few things that bug me, like having to push a button to pick up ammo as opposed to just walking over ammo and automatically collecting it, but that might just take some getting used to.
The big thing I noticed, however, is that while the game looks great - smooth textures, great lighting, small details - I think I just expected more from it, based on the hype. I expected a PS3-like experience with this game, but to me, it still looks like a Vita game, through and through. Not that that's a bad thing, because it's a fantastic looking Vita game, but I just don't see how it is far and above better than games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss on the Vita.
Maybe it's my own fault for falling victim to the hype and expecting more than it could ever deliver. I'm still having a blast with it and enjoying it more than any other FPS shooter I've played on a handheld, so that's a thing. Not sure I would have ran out and bought a Vita to play this game, however, but since I'm already an owner, I'm more than happy to be able to enjoy the game now.
Hype is a weird thing. Thankfully, it hasn't ruined this experience for me. Yet. I haven't tried multiplayer, after all.
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