Could the PSVita fps curse be over? It looks like it could be with Killzone Mercenary a game that I am being cautiously optimistic about. Playing the multiplayer beta has made me hope again for console quality gaming on the go. Because let’s be honest the most console quality game on the vita at the moment is Uncharted Golden Abyss. Killzone Murcenary’s multiplayer is almost console fps multiplayer, almost. The biggest problem is that the Vita’s touch functionality is integrated into the multiplayer with no way to bypass it. There are some things that use both controls like sprinting can be done by ether tapping the back touch twice or by pressing the circle button. But the biggest disappointments are the special powers like launching missiles or orbital bombardments. These have to be done with the touchscreen and it is awkward. Sure it sounds cool to just simply tap the screen and watch your enemy get blown to bits but in the heat of the moment I just resorted to madly tapping at the screen only to be shot by the guy who is using real buttons. Having unavoidable touch functionality in the end just breaks the biggest rule of fps gaming: your thumbs should stay on the joysticks as much as possible. At the moment the only cool touch control is melee attacks. If you are attacked by melee from the front everything goes in slow motion and you are given a split second to counter the melee attack, by swiping the touchscreen. This works because after you swipe the touchscreen you are given enough time to put your fingers back on the controls before time resumes normal speed. However, when you don’t have to use touch controls the joystick controls feel good and aiming down the sights is not finicky. In the end I have a overall good feeling about Killzone Mercenary and I am interested to how it is received when it is released this September.
In a landscape of high octane, quick killing, running and gunning all around frag fest it is refreshing to see a well thought out, patience rewarding, slow paced brutality that is The Last of Us multiplayer. Forget killstreak rewards The Last of Us feels rewarding just to get a kill. It’s like a chess game only much more stressful. Its brilliant because there is a counter move to every move your enemy makes and if you die it is always your fault. Is there someone camping in a corner with a shotgun? If you have a smoke bomb he doesn’t stand a chance. Don’t crowd to close to your teammates or a well placed molotov will take you all out. My usual multiplayer strategy is to be silent and although it works in games like Call of Duty it feels most rewarding in The Last of Us. You are given two simple tools to find the enemy, spotting and listen mode using both intelligently can be the difference between winning and losing. There is one perk called covert training, at its highest level it makes your character silent when crouching and unstoppable by the enemy. Combine covert training with a silenced weapon and my character becomes a silent force to be reckoned with. In short you will never see me coming and even if you do your already dead.
Stealth Inc. don’t let the name fool you this is as much about puzzle solving as it is about stealth. It’s a 2D, sidescrolling, puzzle platformer and so far it is a pretty good one. In Stealth Inc. there are eight worlds within each world there are ten levels, so far the diversity of the puzzles is impressive. The basic gameplay is to avoid sensors, get to the exit and don’t die. However, there is not as much stealth gameplay as I would like there to be even though there are three states your character can be in, fully visible, partially visible and not visible, there are entire tests that focus on puzzle solving and ignore stealth. I do have a lot of gripes about Stealth Inc. for instance, cheap deaths and infrequent checkpoints, but the presentation is very well done. Its graphics are very retro inspired and there is a “narrator” every level has words that appear in the background that gives hints but mostly taunts the player. The only fault in the presentation is the music which is retro but repetitive I found myself being annoyed by it in the early levels, however, it does get better as the games progresses. For all its faults it is a fun, stealth, puzzle platformer and worth the $10 asking price.