The Let's Play Archive


by Blind Sally, nine-gear crow, et al.

Part 1: Prologue

First update. No gameplay.

Before you start booing, hear me out. Killzone opens up with, what I consider to be, one of the best PS2 cinematics period. It looks fantastic. For the time, it was mind blowing and, well, I think it holds up today. There's no gameplay here, but there's a lot going on visually and sub-textually. I feel it'd be a waste and a disservice to spend a fleeting glimpse at this opening before diving into gameplay. For one, the cinematic introduces a character so key to the Killzone universe that his presence ripples throughout all of the games, including those for the PS4 and Vita, long after his eventual death.

But don't take my word for it. Watch Brian Cox do his thing:


Enter [Visari as] Prologue

My people. Helghan's sons and daughters, lo.
For many years a broken nation we
Have been. O'erpress'd, and conquer'd, shunt by those
We sought to flee. Ten years ago, I ask'd
For time, and that boon was grant'd by thee.
O thou, the strength in my arm, holder of
My dreams. Our forefathers embark'd upon
The greatest journey evermore in all
Of humankind's antiquity. A journey
For independence. Freedom, Helghan was.
At first, it weaken'd body, mind, and soul--
But stay! Our strength, it grew! Throughout the time
Thou givest me, I have rebuilt our nation,
I have rebuilt our strength, I have rebuilt
Our pride! Our foes at home have been re-train'd
To see anew our cause. So henceforward,
we stand united once again. Henceforward,
Our foes who seek to break our will shall hear
Our voice. And Henceforward, we act as one.
And we shall be ignored no more! Attend!
My heroes of the Helghast dream, now is our time!


A rousing speech from a charismatic man. Though I'm sure if you know anything about history, it might seem familiar. This is Scolar Visari, the Autarch of the planet Helghan and the Helghast people. If you didn't know, the title "autarch" comes from the word "autarchy" which has its roots in Greek and is defined as an "absolute sovereignty". That would thus make Visari an "absolute sovereign". But really, let's not mince words, the man is a dictator. The language in his speech is radical, inflammatory, and extremely nationalistic. The game hasn't even begun and Guerrilla has made sure we know who our foe is. Visari's rally here is the embodiment of fascism with Visari playing the role of quintessential despot.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I have a lot more to say on Visari himself. This opening cinematic is here to identify who our enemy for the game is going to be and to associate them with historical "villains". Thus, before we even start shooting at the Helghast, they are stigmatized and we're already primed to start gunning them down. This clever association is poisoning the well, if we want to talk about fallacies. See, if you listen to Visari's speech without the visuals, he is clearly describing the Helghast as the victims. They are an "oppressed" and "conquered" nation looking to fight back for their freedom. This certainly doesn't sound unreasonable. I mean, look at the American Revolution. The American Colonies violently rebelled against Britain due to what they called "British oppression". Visari is arguing for freedom, but thanks to the visuals--well, take a look:

We've immediately got a visual reference to Nazism. Compare the Helghast Triad to the Nazi Flag Swastika:

The colouring is identical and the images are very similar. (Note, that the Helghast triad is actually supposed to represent three things: 1. The Duty every Helghast has to dream of a free Helghan, 2. The Obedience that every Helghast must show if all are to survive, 3. The Loyalty every Helghast should have for their government; I believe they came from some merchandise, a Helghast pendant specifically--if anyone can confirm that, that'd be hot). And as mentioned earlier, Visari's speech itself is very reminiscent of rallies given by Adolf Hitler of Benito Mussolini.

nine-gear crow posted:

What's more, the Helghast insignia is a tripartite symbol. If we're continuing with the Visari Helgan is an amalgamation of all major dictatorships idea, it draws an interesting parallel to the iconography of the Workers Party of Korea, the ruling dictatorship of North Korea. It's symbol is meant to represent the cooperation and codependency of the worker, the farmer and the intellectual in the survival of the Korean state, or rather in the survival of the Kim family.

We're going to be seeing a lot more of Helgan iconography as we head into the Killzone 2 and 3, and the parallels to the Soviet and Korean "mythology of the state" is beyond unnerving at times.

Crabtree posted:

[T]here may be even further symbolism and similarities to in the three points of the Triad to the Nazi flag, as according to Sherree Owens Zalampas's Adolf Hitler: A Psychological Interpretation of His Views on Architecture, Art, and Music, three itself seems to be a very recurring theme in swastika's design.

Sherree Owens Zalampas, page 43 posted:

In Mein Kampf, Hitler discussed at length his selection of colors for the swastika flag. He decided to use black, white and red because they had “the most brilliant harmony in existence,” because he had been a soldier under these colors, and because their aesthetic effect they were most compatible with his feelings. He rejected all designs which were submitted to him in favor of his own design – a red background, a white disk and a black swastika in the middle. He stated that the red meant the social ideal of the movement, the white stressed the nationalistic idea, and the swastika represented the mission of the Aryan race.

Also I'm willing to bet Visari is more Mussolini than Hitler, even if Helgan is a more easily identifiable Germany. He may deliver a shared basic theatrics to his speech methods - like how it builds into a loud and frightful march after talking about the planet making them stronger (even though the game cheated by bring up orchestral scores instead of relying only on the strength of his delivery); but we have yet to see this Autarch manipulate fashionable lateness to build up tension in the crowd nor bald women fainting at the sight of his arrival.

This is a man who has the weight of a suffering nation on his shoulders. A man driven to extreme ends who truly believes in what he is doing. It's not hard to imagine Helghan as a rebuilt post-WWI Germany. In fact, looking deeper into the game's history further reinforces that comparison.

These images are here to further underscore the WWII references at play in this video. Visari pumping his hand in the air, for example, is again reminiscent of Mussolini doing the very same during his speeches:

This one here, though, is more interesting. The game opens with the Helghast triad and associates it immediately with the Nazi swastika. Yet here we see that in the founding days of Helghan it was used to denote a medical clinic:

This just deepens the swastika association. The swastika did not originate with National Socialism, but was taken from Asian cultures and religions. Now, I'm not an expert on this and I won't pretend to be, so if anyone has more information on, say, Indian religious usage of the swastika, I'd like to hear it. As far as I can tell, though, the swastika is a symbol that is used to denote wealth and prosperity. When the Nazi's co-opted it, it became stigmatized, particularly in the Western world, and is now associated with hate, violence, and anti-Semitism. Fitting, then, that the Helghast would co-opt a symbol that was used to denote health and medical aid, and twist it into something darker.

SpecialK800 posted:

You know there's more to the image of the triad on the hospital than it merely being a pre-space fascist symbol. Fascist parties in Europe before World War II and still today in places like Greece gained wide popularity by appealing to the poor/unemployed portions of the population. A lot of that popularity came through providing services which were traditionally governmental or which catered to wealthier classes of people. Recently in Greece the Fascist Golden Dawn party distributed food and other necessities to poor towns and villages, but only gave then to ethnic Greeks. The famous Beer Hall Putsch was one of many time the growing Nazi Party called meetings in restaurants and bars and paid for the visitors to eat and drink (This may seem less like charity, until you remember Post-WWI Germany saw rampant unemployment and hyperinflation). The use of the triad on the hospital may suggest it was run by the same group who helped Visari come to power as a way of gaining popular support.

To build off of that, I remembered that that's exactly what's going on in the game. Delving into the history a bit more, the Helghast triad was originally used in the very early days of the Helghast Administration:

Seen at the end of Killzone 2

It was three interlocking arms meant to symbolize justice, and freedom between the three major galactic nations: The Helghan Administration, the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA), and the United Colonial Nations (UCN). If none of that makes sense, don't worry it will. Later posts will include historical info dumps.

Jobbo_Fett posted:

Just as a note on the swastika, it was used by many other groups, organisations and militaries before Nazi Germany ever got around to using it. In most cases I've heard or read about, the swastika was used as a symbol of luck, rather than wealth or prosperity.

The best example of this is with the Finnish Air Force, who adopted the swastika (Actually called the Hakaristi in Finland) back in 1918 when Swedish count Eric von Rosen donated an aircraft (Their second since creation) to them. Count von Rosen painted the blue Hakaristi on the aircraft as his personal good luck charm, and the Finns adopted it as their own. The white background was added afterwards. After the war ended for Finland, the allies pressured Finland to change and remove all forms of the Hakaristi due to its close resemblance to the swastika.

Wikipedia provides a flag for the Finnish Air Force Staff with two swastikas on it and dates it 1958, although I can't confirm any long-term use.

Fun Fact: Eric von Rosen was a brother-in-law to Hermann Goring.
Latvia used a red swastika for their air force up until their dissolution when annexed by the Soviet Union

I also want to point out that the atmosphere of Helghan makes people's hair fall out. Now, it won't become clear until Killzone: Liberation, but not all Helghast are hairless. Most are, but baldness is more a problem of the lower and middle class. Many "upper crust" Helghast actually have full heads of hair. I figure that those that don't have hair are either suffering from standard male-pattern baldness, rose up through the ranks, or shave their head in solidarity with their people. Visari comes from a very wealthy family, so I figure he is either naturally bald, or he shaves his head to better identify with his people. This is never mentioned in the game and is pure speculation on my part. Though, it should be noted that as a kid Visari did indeed shave his head:

The rest of the video are intercut scenes of the Helghast's first invasion wave. Now, this could be seen as a broken nation fighting back against its oppressors, yet the imagery clearly presents the Helghast as villains. They're seen gunning down innocent civilians no less! Furthermore, if they were a "conquered" nation, it's clear that is no longer the case. The opening cinematic reveals a massive military invasion force and demonstrates the Helghast's power by de-clawing a three-star ISA general before he can even bring the Space Defense systems online:

This is the face of powerlessness.

And this image is here just because those two soldiers on the left look kinda like our protagonists, Templar and Rico. Heh. Probably just re-used models due to the limitations of the game's engine and the PS2.

But really, if you aren't convinced that the Helghast are the villains so far, the cinematic ends with Visari glaring menacingly into the camera to really drive that point home:

Visari is loving this.

(And with that, we're now ready to start shooting Helghast scum!)

As characters come and go in the LP, I will talk about them under this heading. I'll also discuss when there are major reveals and such, so don't worry if you think I'm being a bit skimpy on information here, as I'll revisit characters again and again throughout the LP.

This particular video introduced us to two major characters: the Helghast leader, Autarch Scolar Visari, and Three-Star ISA General Stuart Adams.

Voiced by: Brian Cox

To further prove that this game is a work of Shakespeare, I want to quickly point out that Visari's VA, Brian Cox, is a performer in the Royal Shakespeare Company.


To quickly review what we know about Visari: he is the epitome of dictator. Every major dictator from WWII is present here, and then some. I hope the Hitler and Mussolini connotations are obvious. He has the charisma of both men, shares similar symbols as Hitler, and even looks a bit like Mussolini. Furthermore, his speech mirrors those given by the Italian and German WWII leaders. Not to be left out, Joseph Stalin is also being referenced in Visari's name. Note, Stalin's real name is "Iosif Visarionovich Dzhugashilivi".

The game history suggests that Helghast was conquered and needed to be rebuilt. Much like Hitler after WWI, Visari swooped in as a charismatic leader and captured the minds of his people, rebuilding and revitalizing (and militarizing) them into a strong and proud people.

It should also be noted that Visari looks like Apocalypse Now-era Marlon Brando. Incidentally, Killzone's layout reminds me a bit of Heart Of Darkness, with Visari being the Colonel Kurtz awaiting you in the depths of Hell. Might seem like a bit of a stretch now, but I think it'll make more sense as the LP progresses.

Voiced by: Ronny Cox

Lovingly referred to as "General Anime" by nine-gear crow, I am shocked that any military would allow a Three-Star General to grow shoulder-length dye-streaked hair and a soul-patch. Adams is in charge of the planet Vekta's Space Defense Platform, a massive satellite armed with laser and missile weaponry, capable of devastating fleets. Poor Adams, just as he was about to cut the Helghast invasion fleet in half, had his whole system shut down. He is going to be a key player in the game and we'll be seeing a lot more of Adams, as one of the primary goals of Killzone is going to be trying to get the SD Platform back up and running.

Before posting this LP, I polled a couple of threads to get goon opinions on Killzone. Like I said before, I think these games are popular and despised for the wrong reasons.

When liked, it's usually because they look great and/or play great. The whole "gun porn" and love of Michael Bay-esque attention to visual and audio detail, etc., etc. Even those people who liked the games, though, don't remember much about the story or characters:

titties posted:

I really liked KZ1. I didn't play a lot of PS2 FPS games. The ones that stick out to me were the Star Wars: Battlefront games, Timesplitters: Future Perfect, Killzone, MoH: Frontline, and Black. Out of those, the Battlefront titles and Timesplitters are kind of in their own league. Black was super-boring poop. MoH was fun, but I remember it being kind of arcade-y and having a more demanding pace than I would have liked. But KZ nicely scratched an itch for me, being less arcade-y than Frontline or TS and far more interesting than Black. I remember being really impressed that they did so well in communicating the heft and recoil of the weapons.

kirbysuperstar posted:

I really like the Killzone series as a whole. They have a really cool art design, despite the lack of colours in the first two, and the weapons are really great looking (such as the Helghast AR with the massive barrel of ammo and secondary shotgun on it). They're very technically impressive games, and they play pretty well, though the first is really rough. Also the Helghast are really cool, even if they are totally ripped off from Jin-Roh

Jobbo_Fett posted:

Played Killzone 2 and 3, loved both of them. The gameplay was great for an FPS and the controls + the way you moved felt a lot more "real" compared to something like Call of Duty. Your character can't spin 180 degrees in a second and shoot people in the face, which in turn makes moving around and being more tactical with your approach much more rewarding. The class system is cool and, from what I remember, doesn't overlap much if at all which makes every character useful in fights.

I don't recall the story too much, but I personally really like the enemy character design (The Helghast). There's something about them that really appeals to my taste, maybe its those glowing red eyes they have.

Despite all it's criticism, I would still purchase the Killzone game on PS4 because I like the franchise.

Radec and Visari both have some good lines and Visari (Brian Cox) delivers a really good performance with his speeches. I don't remember being too fond of Rico on the other hand, something made me want to punch his face.

copy posted:

I don't remember much about the first two but I remember having a blast in the multiplayer for the third one. Specifically I remember the attack/defend maps being super fun and I remember the Helghast commander guy being so supportive and positive that I was always disappointed when I wasn't on the space-nazi team. Seriously the other team's narrator was such a cock. Nothing was ever good enough for him and he would complain even if your team won. Compared to the Helghast narrator where even if you lost the guy was all just "Vee vill try again for ze glory of Helghan!"

So I guess if nothing else they should get credit for taking a throwaway announcer character and using that as the foundation for the World's First Endearing Space-Nazi.

JordanKai posted:

I love all the Killzone games outside of the first one and I don't understand why the series catches so much flak as a whole.

Ularg posted:

I really do like a bit of the aesthetic, even if I remember Killzone 3 being sort of disappointing.

Scyron posted:

Ever since I played Killzone 2, I always have to find out how the controls are, like "weighted" a la killzone 2 before I can fully commit to buying the latest release.

Everything else is fine for me, a bit unique doing things slightly different than the average fps. I never finished KZ1 on ps2, it sucked.

EDIT: I do enjoy shooting space Nazis.

RagnarokAngel posted:

The Killzone games tend to look great and have potentially interesting universes which just don't pan out where it matters, the gameplay.

VolticSurge posted:

I thought the first one was meh,liked the second and third in spite of my hatred for most of the cast.

Otherwise, those that don't like it dislike it's blandness, hate its characters or story, or dislike the gameplay--or are just totally indifferent to it altogether:

Killrrhubarb posted:

They're a mediocre first person shooter with some interesting bits, but overall pretty bland. The story wasn't too inspired or interesting, either. There are definitely better FPS, but worse ones too.

JT Jag posted:

I have no thoughts regarding the Killzone series as I never played it.

Policenaut posted:

Killzone is a series that Guerrilla Games spent far too much time writing back story to justify their Space WW2 scenario as being a realistic one and too little time applying it in any meaningful way. If you spend a little time looking into Killzone's "canon", you'll find a plethora of history, dates, names, and such regarding humanity's expansion into the stars, the Helghan Corporation and their colonization and subsequent monopoly over Vekta, the straining relations and tensions between Helghan and Earth, and the ensuing conflict (that happens before any of the games) where Earth forcibly deports an entire planet to a death ball where they become radical Post-WW1 Space Germany with Gas Mask Nazis. There's a ton of interesting stuff going on, but you never see it in any of the games.

The games are visual showcases with bog standard gameplay that ultimately serve as interactive hardware sizzle reels for whatever they're put out on. It angers me that Killzone has an interesting story, but every game is just "The Space Nazis are bad, go kill them" (except Mercenary which was "Space Nazis AND Space Americans are bad, go kill them for money"). Killzone 2 is probably the best one of the bunch, with Mercenary as runner up solely because it lets you kill ISA scum and it arguably has the best online play in the series.

SSNeoman posted:

Killzone is a series that desperately wants to be Modern Warfare, but fails because it's a forgettable FPS series. The third is notable for having enemies that like to spam grenades. And as previously noted, the games are basically hardware porn.

If you're thinking of buying these games, yourself a favor and pickup Resistance instead. Preferably the third one.

Zain posted:

I only played Killzone 2, but I will say that the main villain has some of the best lines and dialog in any video game in the shooter genre. The multiplayer was surprisingly entertaining, but the main game was bogged down with things like infinite spawning enemies until you move up 10 more feet.

neetengie posted:

I think the series would have been better if you played as the Helghans and if the first game was about taking back their homeland, but the way their culture/politics are written that would need a complete rewrite.

Lazyfire posted:

Like I said before/after the video we did a while back: I've never played any of the games, but my thoughts on them made it seem like a series built to emulate Halo to an extent, and were more an Also-Ran rather than a blockbuster franchise. The fact that it got three sequels makes it seem like people must have played it, but you guys were the 2nd and 3rd person I've ever heard say they've played the games after kalon Zombie.

That said, the Killzone 2 E3 reveal for the PS3 needs to be in the OP because holy shit most games today don't look that good and Sony tried to pass it off as PS3 footage.

Grump posted:

I never played Killzone 1. Killzone 2 was pretty forgettable, muddy, and shooting things didn't feel good. Killzone 3 was a solid game overall and more polished, but still muddy.

blackguy32 posted:

Killzone 1 sucks. Even if they did fix many of the technical things in it, it just wasn't a very good game at all. The levels feel empty and the combat is boring. I remember it being hyped up to be a Halo Killer and it was far from it.

Killzone 2 was good for its multiplayer, but the controls are pretty shitty. I think it says a lot that they fixed the controls for KZ 3 and Shadow Fall. I thought that KZ 2 had the best campaign though. It would be my favorite if the controls weren't so bad.

Killzone 3 was average to mediocre. However, it was fun to see Malcolm McDowell and Ray Winstone ham it up as Helghan villains. I thought it had a pretty cool final level as well.

Ultimately, I think the games are pretty damn average. The multiplayer is kind of good, but they have always been marred by dumb design decisions.

The one constant is that nearly everyone thought Killzone 1 sucked.

Regardless, no one once praised the game's writing or handling of subtext. I hope that by the end of this LP, crow and I will have changed that.

Those of you impatient for gameplay, no worries. crow and I have the next video recorded and ready to go, so the next update won't be long coming.