PlayStation 3's Killzone 2 Delivers

Sony's first-person shooter, due in stores on Feb. 27, has impressive graphics, killer vehicles, and serious weapons

In Killzone 2, Sony's highly anticipated first person shooter for PlayStation 3, you play the role of Sev, the leader of an ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) squad whose mission is to overthrow the evil Helghast army on its own planet. Events take place two years after the original Killzone for PlayStation 2, with Helghan leader Visari refusing to back down.

Gameplay is similar to the original Killzone. You start out with basic weaponry including an assault rifle, grenades and a single-shot pistol. As you charge through the campaign, you pick up various weapons from your enemies that pack a meaner punch. These include the flamethrower and the bolt gun, which allows you to "stick" opponents to walls.

Series creator Guerrilla Games stepped up its efforts with graphics that are almost on the same level as the now infamous demo footage that was shown at E3 2005. Levels contain wide-open battlefields, cluttered catacombs and dank underground dwellings. Opponents come at you from every possible angle, and the clever artificial intelligence will make you think twice about charging into a room.

Along with taking enemies out on foot, you can also hop into old and new vehicles from the Killzone universe . Guerrilla hasn't revealed the full list, but we expect some surprises.

Sev's team members also have a distinct set of skills. Corporal Shawn Natko, for example, is skilled in hand-to-hand combat. The player skills also present themselves in the game's multiplayer, and you can form four-player clans with whomever you think will make your team stronger. There are dozens of customization types available, each with their own individual effects in battle.

Numerous modes are available in multiplayer, with support for up to 32 players. Standard deathmatch is just that, an all-out battle between teams for survival. Search and Retrieve is a variation of Capture the Flag, although your clan can turn that into Search and Destroy if necessary. Assassination, on the other hand, forces you to protect one team member while killing a member from the opposing squad. Finally, the Warzone set-up allows the host of each match to change the match type in game, without having to go back to the lobby menu.

A few lucky folks have already gotten a taste of Killzone 2, thanks to an exclusive multiplayer beta released a few weeks ago. It features three great-looking maps – Blood Gracht (a small map), Radec Academy (a medium map) and Salamun Market (the largest map in the game). Guerrilla was even kind enough to throw in the modes.

Killzone 2 officially hits stores on February 27. Fans of the original and first person shooters should reserve a copy and fight the Helghast with everything they've got.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.