It's really hard to jump into a brand new game without much, if any, knowledge of the franchise, previous stories and plots, or even the basics as to what makes the particular franchise different than others. I have encountered this dilemma several times over the last year, both with individual games I played randomly, but also in some of the "Week Of..." series that happened throughout the project.
While it is fun to learn about franchises that I didn't know much about, I also found it somewhat difficult to just jump into the newest games right off the bat, as I always felt like there was just something I was always missing or not picking up on that I should know going in. Realistically, however, there just isn't enough time to go back and start all the franchises you've missed out on, so it's usually just best to jump into the cold water head first as opposed to dipping your toes in.
When Killzone Mercenary came out a few months ago for the PS Vita, I had no reservations at all about jumping in, as it would be my first Killzone game I've ever played. Being a late adopter of the PS3. and not caring about it back on the PS2, i just never put much thought into the franchise. But when Mercenary came out, I didn't hesitate as I normally would, for one reason. It was a handheld version of the series, and if we learned anything from Resistance: Burning Skies, handheld versions of established console franchises usually don't hold much weight. Not to say Mercenary was on the same level as Burning Skies at all, because that's a very unfair comparison. I pushed through Burning Skies for the trophies but didn't overly enjoy the experience very much, where as Mercenary I thoroughly enjoyed what I played of it.
(Yes, I still need to go back and finish the game. Trust me, it's looming over my head like a black cloud.)
Regardless, I had to jump in to Killzone: Shadow Fall, as it was one of the highly touted launch games for the PS4 launch. Despite only knowing a little bit of the franchise from Mercenary, I had not choice but to pick it up. While I didn't feel comfortable starting the campaign yet, as I want to give my full attention to something like that, I tried out the multiplayer. In comparison to Call of Duty: Ghosts, I noticed that hardly anyone was actually talking to the matches. Also, the Warzones are really cool in the way that they are much longer, timed matches, with smaller, individual matches within it, all of which are different. You seamlessly transition from Team Deathmatch to a Search and Destroy type of mission, and so on and so forth.
It was a breath of fresh air compared to the norm, which is fantastic. Sometimes that's all you need. Now don't get me wrong, I completely sucked while playing, as the motions and movements of the game and controls felt differently as well, which are probably normal for Killzone, but nothing I was terribly familiar with. That's not a bad thing, though, it just means I need to play some more, right?
The Killzone franchise is ready for me to join. I'm up on the diving board already, ready to jump in. All it takes is one...more...step.
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