Part 5: Chapter 3, Stages 1 & 2
A few quick notes on this video, 1) I was sick with a sore throat at the time of this recording, so you might hear me coughing or clearing my throat a lot during it, or a few instances where I straight up mute my desk mic to cover up that stuff. I tried to cut as much of it out as I possibly could, though. And 2) I was (attempting) to upload another video at the time of this recording, which introduced about a five second delay between mine and Sally's audio over Skype. I've tried to edit that out in post, but if it sounds like we're talking over one another, we actually weren't.
So this is the start of the third chapter of Killzone: Liberation, somewhat puzzlingly titled "Revenge of Metrac", because, well, Metrac doesn't show up in Chapter 3, nor does he really do anything worthy of being called "revenge." Cobar on the other hand, weeeeeeeell shit...
STAGE 1: RECONNAISSANCE
Just as with Chapter 2, we begin Chapter 3 in an aquatic vehicle. So heeeeey, you remember that shittyass swamp level we randomly and kinda what-the-fuckedly grabbed DStecks to comment over? The one that broke the Killzone 1 LP into the shambling mess of hot garbage that I to this day remain surprised we actually finished?
Well, at least we have a fucking boat this time.
A boat with a rocket launcher!
Boom! Eat it Helgoons!
Though in the midst of all this excitement, we appear to have attracted the attention of Col. Cobar, who's just randomly there in the swamps, I guess...
Cobar has been set up as Liberation's Heavy, the big bad motherfucker who's there to put the hurt on our protagonists. And while he's not really going to get much of a chance to do that directly in this video, all signs point to a confrontation between him and Templar
For now though, we're going to have to contend with his personal retinue of soldiers who are lying in wait to stop Templar
Luger radios in at the start of the first stage to let Jan know the status of the dropship. Its distress beacon has been activated, so there's hope that at least someone is still alive at the crash site. Though this means that if the ISA are picking up the beacon, then the Helghast almost certainly are too, so time is of the essence, and they're already well-entrenched in the swaps as it is.
We also get a little more plot intrigue happening. Metrac knew precise details about a supposedly secret meeting between key personnel in the Vekta's upper command and research echelons.
All signs seem to be pointing to yet another mole Vekta's central command structure... But who could it be? Unlike in Killzone 1, where the game damn near comes out and plants a neon sign on the head of its turncoat, Liberation holds its traitor cards a little closer to its chest this time around.
STAGE 2: AMBUSH
Well, when you title your level that...
After making it out of the swamp in one piece, Templar
This isn't looking good for Captain Hero and his faithful PTSD hallucination.
But wait! What's this!
Why it's everyone's
Jan quickly realizes, after being caught in one of Cobar's cunning traps, that they might just be walking into one of Cobar's cunning traps. I say "cunning" half-sarcastically, of course. There's very little cunning about Cobar. He's a blunt instrument, a thresher of human lives.
In a twisted sort of sense, Tendon Cobar is the Helghast's very own Rico Velasquez, two men of unnervingly similar talents, tactical persuasions, and political outlooks, only pointed in opposite directions. Both men are fervent patriots to their nations and the ideals they believe them to embody. If you asked either one of them what they were at their core, each would most likely tell you they were a Loyal Son of Vekta/Helghan. Cobar believes that Visari can do no wrong and any action the Helghast take in defense of their homeland is justified. Rico believes that the ISA can do no wrong and any action taken in the defense of Vekta against the Helghast is justified in the end, though his faith in his superiors has been shaken a little by the defection and fall of General Adams.
Both men are skilled at doing really only one thing well: killing. Neither has time for subtleties like politics or diplomacy. Rico just wants to shoot Helghast with his big giant gun, and Cobar wants to crush the Vektans with Metrac's big giant army. And each man believes his opposing "species" is sub-human in a variety of ways, and thus is permitted to be slaughtered in ways that their own kind would never be. They each see their side in a position of racial privilege over the other.
The only real difference between the two of them (outside of a troubled argument on the morality or lack thereof of each man) is where each man has ended up in their respective militaries. Both Rico and Cobar entered the army from positions of poverty, the difference between them being, however, that Cobar's skills were recognized and encouraged and he was promoted to an officer's position as a result, while Rico's skills were shunned and ignored and he has languished as a relatively low-ranked non-commissioned officer, in charge of only small platoons of men at the most rather than the entire army branch Cobar commands as head of the Colonial Guard and Metrac's second.
This, of course, is a reflection of the ISA and Helghast's institutional moral philosophies in action. The ISA, holding itself up to be an alleged force for moral good in the universe, promotes men and women who share its publicly espoused values: honor, restraint, heroism, respect, all that jazz; qualities men like Jan Templar, a man on the cusp of a promotion into a command rank himself (seen in Killzone 2) embodies naturally. Templar is raised up, while Rico, a man with a hair trigger attitude, who often times has to be restrained by others rather than show restraint himself, an uncouth loudmouth who says things that would get him punched or shot by even the most level-headed of cohorts, who enjoys watching his enemies die by his actions, is held back and kept a faceless cog in its war machine. A vital part of the system, but not one worthy of public adulation or commanding authority over other people (in large numbers).
Cobar, is the opposite case. Metrac recognized those same qualities, the lack of restraint and respect for others lives, the willingness to kill anyone he perceived to be wrong, a man with no filter between his twisted brain and his snarling mouth, the human bulldozer attitude and the religious devotion to Visari, and placed him a position of power and command over others where he could express these qualities more freely and subsequently influence others with these qualities, either to emulate them themselves, or to simply be crushed by them to make room for those who would emulate them better.
It's such a shame Rico is such an un-self-reflexive character and that he never comes to the realization himself, because the irony is...
He'd have made one damn good Helghast.
Oh, shit, what? The plot's still happening? Well then.
This leads us into the second stage, which is navigating the ravines and gulches to get to the crash site finally.
I'll cover this part of the game in the Gameplay section further down.
Templar and co. eventually make it to the crash site, and well, it's a horror show.
Damn, that is a lot of blood for a T-Rated game. Killzone: Liberation doesn't fuck around, does it? Oh, and Stratson, Batton, and Milcher have been kidnapped again.
Can I start calling Evelyn "Killzone's Princess Cisna" now? Because the number of times she is or will be kidnapped across various Killzone games is starting to creep into the territory of the LP Subform's resident holder of the "Most Times Kidnapped In A Single Video Game" Award, and if there's one thing we all know about Princess Cisna, it's that she will broker no rival.
Rico volunteers to look for some medicals supplies to stabilize the pilot while Jan radios in for a MEDEVAC for the MEDEVAC.
So while Jan
To never be seen again until the Chapter 5 DLC, wherein I finally get to unveil this:
And now: GAMEPLAY!
Stage 1 of Chapter 3 is a vehicle section, specifically a hovercraft vehicle section, which was teased to us at the end of Chapter 2. The game wastes little time in giving you full control over the ISA Hovercraft.
The hovercraft controls exactly like the Helghast tank does, with the same features being split between players in co-op mode. The only difference being that the hovercraft has a little more play in its movement and tends to be a little harder to steer and stop thanks to its nature as a hovercraft. So good on Guerrilla for not making it a 1:1 clone of the tank with a different model.
Being a hovercraft, it can, of course, maneuver through both land and water, though only along the set corridor of the level. Again, to Guerrilla's credit, they really tightened up the swamp level compared to the open, samey, mess it was in Killzone 1 where you could get lost in it very easily.
Throughout the level are pop up waterborne mines. These mines are heavily armored and will explode if the hovercraft gets within a certain distance of them doing major, possibly even catastrophic damage to the hovercraft. They take a fair amount of time to take down thanks to the low armor-piercing ability of the hovercraft's machine gun and slow reload rate of its rocket launcher.
The mines themselves are no serious threat to you. Both the turrets have enough range to take them out safely. What they ARE, however, is obstacles meant to impede your progress and open you up to ambushes from Helghast troops positioned on the shores. The game tries to trick you into destroying the mines first when you should really be focusing on the rocket troopers who pop up to ambush you.
Which of course will lead to...
Yeah, we lose the hovercraft fairly early in Stage 1 and have to do the rest of the level on foot from there.
Fuck Jan, now I'm getting PTSD flashbacks. Only my PTSD ghost isn't taking the form of DStecks...
Though one decent part about going through this level is that the mines are now 100% harmless to us unless you like literally bump into one, so they can be skirted around without missing a step now.
It's also time to show off some new-ish guns. First up is the M3 Revolver previously modeled by General Stratson, now getting a bit of gameplay feature time by me.
I wasn't a big fan of the revolver, having essentially picked it up by accident and then, as you see in the video, hastily ditching it. It had decent attack power to it, but it's small clip and long reload time didn't do it for me, so I went back to the assault rifle in short order.
Sally, meanwhile, begins channeling his inner
Note the Helgoon on the extreme right of the screenshot, hit by the arrow just shot from the crossbow.
Now note the huge fuck off explosion where he was just standing (the even bigger explosion to the left was triggered by a grenade blowing up a gas drum, BTW). Yes, the crossbow fires explosive tipped arrows which can, if not instantly kill many Helghast, then definitely knock them down to critical health in one shot.
Stage 2 introduces something that's not seen all that often in the early Killzones, yet will start to become a little more popular in Killzone 2 and Killzone 3: infinitely spawning enemy scripts!
Yes, I said this was gonna be a run-and-gun battle, and I meant it. The Helghast will send an infinite wave of soldiers down the side of the mountain, so trying to hold your position and kill all of them is suicide. What's more, they start coming in larger numbers the longer you hold out there to try and force you into retreating just in case you didn't get the message the first twenty times the game tries to tell you.
The Helgoons are quite slow at descending the mountain behind you, so you can easily turn round and pick off the two or three troopers who manage to catch up with you to give you a little more breathing room to get further down the slope before more finally catch up with you.
This area of the game also introduces the Helghast Pyro. You can't really see him because he's obscured in his own fireball and smoke cloud, though you should be able to make out his health bar over his head.
Like Sally points out in the video, Pyros in Liberation are more puzzles than they are enemies. They very rarely turn their flamethrowers on you directly, instead opting to ignite entire parts of the path ahead of you to block or divert your progress.
For your initial encounter with them, however, you're merely shown what their role in Liberation is, and you're given both ample room to outmaneuver them, and a clear shot at taking them down. When they start appearing later in the game, Guerrilla won't be as generous with your chances against them.
And finally, raising the bridge across the ravine halts the Infinite March of the Helgoon Horde. Now, all you have to worry about are the ones in front of you between you and the dropship.
And that's it for gameplay for Chapter 3, Stages 1 & 2. There wasn't really that much new to cover here, but that's going to change in short order coming up in 3 & 4.
A markedly antiquated weapon compared to the more refined projectile weaponry employed in the Second Extra-Solar War, but no less deadly than its "modern" descendants. Crossbows have found their way onto the battlefields of Southern Vekta thanks their versatility and low maintenance requirements. They can be fitted to fire anything from improved arrows to specifically manufactured bolts with explosive or incendiary tips and are by and large silent weapons, providing a decisive advantage for missions where stealth is a primary requirement.
Manufactured by the Visari Corporation, the VC1 Flamethrower (also called the VC-1) is the galaxy's paramount flamethrower of choice. When you want to ensure you enemies die a horrific, agonizing death and emit screams that will haunt you in the quiet hours of your life till your dying day, think Visari Corporation! The #1 name in horrific death by immolation!
Wielded by Helghast pyro troopers, the VC1 is powered by a mixture of low-octane gasoline and an unidentified additive which the Killzone Wiki describes as being "native to Helghan." And no, before you say it, it's not Petrucite. The VC1 fires a liquified Napalm-like flaming substance outwards in an arc up to 30 feet away, allowing soldiers to light whole patches of ground or platoons of enemies aflame to bar enemy progress or quickly neutralize oncoming threats.
It shares a real world inspiration from the German Maschinengewehr (MG) 42 machine gun chassis, and from the flamethrower wielded by the protagonist of Ridley Scott's Alien, Ellen Ripley, during the film's final act.
Liberation's manual hilariously claims that the VC1 has a 200 Liter fuel tank on it to "retain portability". As former Killzone 1 guest commentator chitoryu12 points out, this right here is what an actual 200L fuel drum looks like:
"Portability" my ass...
Swamp docks, sketch
Swamp docks, final
Colonel Cobar, sketch