Part 6: Chapter 2 Intro
A large explosion knocks over the soldiers Templar blacks out--
Then wakes up!
Art thou okay, Jan? I'm organizing an evacuation!
The security key. Did it arrive?
I fear not. It never made it!
I shalt retrieve it and return here.
Okay. Head for the Research Unit, but tread careful, Jan,
They're swarming in.
Exit [Vaughton] and [NCO]
[Templar] fights off a few Helghast. Enter Pvt. Billinghurst
Private Billinghurst at your service, sir. I shall aid thou.
Most excellent. Come, we must make our way through yonder office complex.
Helghast appears. Templar easily dispatches him.
Uh, th-thanks. Uh, I'll s-stay here and, uh, secure the area. Yeah.
Ye gods, really? Get thee gone!
Welcome! This video is a bit different. If the graphics don't look quite as sharp, that's because we're on the PS2 version of the game. For various reasons, the earlier HD footage for this level was unusable. Undaunted, crow replayed the level as close to my original madness as possible on his old copy of the game. This gives us a solid opportunity to admire how much the HD version improved the game as well as how much madder my skillz are compared to crow's.
There's some interesting subtext going on with what we can interact with in this level. For the majority of this game--the VAST majority--we only interact with the Helghast. Whether it's killing their soldiers or blowing up their equipment, we're kicking names and taking ass. Occasionally, we're able to interact with bits of the environment that aren't Helghast related. In this particular chapter, that manifests itself as--
--and vending machines. Or, to break it down to their very fundamentals: water, shelter, and food. To go off the idea that Guerrilla intended this to be very much a game that demonstrates the atrocity of war and its destructive nature, this is a damn clever way of pulling it off. Very obviously we can interact with the Helghast. Fundamentally, war involves the destruction of human life. In some wars, the destruction of military assets is the main goal. When we start to think about the concept of "total war", it makes sense to allow us to destroy objects that aren't necessarily of military value. Obviously, the game engine is too limited to allow us to destroy the actual infrastructure of Vekta (Killzone would probably crash on start up if anything resembling Geomod was involved with it), but it's interesting that we can destroy these, uh, let's say "effigies" of what we consider essential to life. We, the ISA, the people who are supposed to be the "good guys", are able to go around and destroy the very fundamentals of existence with impunity.
I mean, okay, sure, we're defending ourselves from a Helghast attack. But in our response to that, we are destroying the core pillars of life, sentient and otherwise. I'm also not making a big stink about this for no reason. This is going to become a recurring theme with the Vektans. They just wanna end this war and prevent further Helghast attacks, right? Well, the Vektan ISA pull of some real Harry S. Truman level nonsense to get it done.
Other than that, this level is home to what I figure are a bunch of developer photo Easter eggs disguised as ISA bigwigs.
Col. Hugh Laurie
Col. Will Sasso
Lt. Gen. Steve Buscemi
Oh, and I like to imagine that Sparky Bars are chocolate bars filled with pop rocks, and that Rezzies are chocolate covered raisins and pretzels. I'd eat'em.
Our first guest, of hopefully many, is Lazyfire. It's fitting that Lazyfire is the first person to join us on this adventure, because their Battlefield 4 LP is partly to blame for inspiring us to bring on rotating guests. He brought nine-gear crow and myself on as guests for that LP, so it was nice to be able to return the favour. Lazyfire has also played through Battlefield 3, and more recently has suffered through the first two Red Faction games.
His other LPs are worth checking out as well. Lazyfire's got a great sense of humour and timing. He consistently puts out high quality content and yet is always super humble. Always a pleasure to work with.
Lazyfire on LPArchive
Lazyfire on YouTube
This is the part of Helghan's history that Visari references in his opening speech. This is the early days of the Helghast. No longer able to live in the safety of the skyhook, the colonists must try and make a go at it on the planet.
When Visari speaks of the greatest exodus in humankind's history, he is speaking about this event. Frankly, the original colonists coming to Alpha Centauri seems to be a greater exodus to me, but hey, when you're trying to win over an oppressed populace, you work with what you got. Anyways, the ISA are happy to let the Helghans sod off and build their own colony on that godforsaken rock. They even grant them ownership of it so they don't have to deal with any of the burden of maintaining the colony.
Real nice. This is why people hate the ISA.
Living on Helghan blows. Mortality rates on the planet are super high so that any person unable to stand the harsh environment dies off.
Here's the part Visari also mentioned in his speech. Living on Helghan kills you--at least until it makes you stronger. Though living on Helghan in present times is much safer for your health and though the Helghan people are much hardier, people suffering symptoms of "lung burn" are still a thing, particularly among the lower class. Having started there before climbing the ranks in the military, Colonels Radec and Cobar are two prominent Helghast who need to wear breather masks.
Not all non-Helghan are bad. The ICSA, an independent neutral-aligned branch of the ISA, approach the people of Helghan hoping to offer aid. As you can see, it doesn't go over because the Helghans are already extremely xenophobic. Considering that the ICSA is still a branch of the ISA, can you blame them? Cause meanwhile, the ISA continue to impose stricter and harsher trade sanctions on the Helghan populace, making an already difficult life on the planet nearly unbearable.
Yeah, screw the ISA, right?
Because, ultimately, the ISA are kind of lazy and cheap, they decide to save some money/man-power by dismantling the majority of their fleet in favour of a planet-wide satellite defense system. It doesn't remain static--they do upgrade it over time and before the eventual Second Extrasolar War, but as we saw in the opening cutscene, this perhaps wasn't the wisest of ideas. The Helghast find a way to disable the defense platforms and roll in unimpeded.
Now I only have a bit of knowledge regarding evolution. I've taken high school and college level Biology courses, but I do not profess to be an expert here. In three generations, humans on Helghan have adapted more readily to the planet's environment. Now, I know evolution occurs over generations, but isn't this happening a bit fast? Mind you, the game also mentions something about "basic genetic conditioning", so I suppose you can handwave away some of it thanks to sci-fi/fantasy nonsense.
Three generations is indeed an extremely short time for widespread genetic change, however that said when evolution does occur it does actually tend to happen rather rapidly in response to the environment and as you mentioned the story talks about genetic conditioning so it is not unreasonable to suggest that Helghan geneticists have helped evolution along.
Improbable, but not impossible given the context.
Regardless, the Helghan people are beginning to adapt to their planet.
Crocodylus Pontifex posted:
It could also be that the third generation was just the first to start showing these changes. This game does take place years after the third generation was born, and there still seems to be helghast that need the breather masks to survive. This is all conjecture on my part, I'm no expert on this sort of thing.
Aaaaand our hero is born. As you can see, Visari is as close to Helghan royalty as you can get. Cute kid. Reminds me a bit of Damien from The Omen.
This is pretty foul. The ISA on Vekta enforce strict punishment on the Helghan which lead to a catastrophic problem, then refuse to send any aid because they've now crippled themselves due to the problem they created in the first place. A surefire way to make an entire planet hate you.
Now, the question here is whether or not Vekta intended to starve Helghan's citizens on purpose. Right now, Helghan is essentially Post-WWI Germany. We're all aware of the crazy economic sanctions and debt placed on the Germans by the Allies, but the Allied starvation of Germany is less well known. For nearly eight months after the war ended, Allied navel vessels blockaded Germany allowing its people to die of starvation. There's a decent article on the matter here if you're interested in reading up on it. Vekta's lack of support in Helghan's time of need could be because they lacked the resources themselves, but it could also have been a ploy to further weaken Helghan allowing them to be more easily bullied politically.
This is all supposition, as "Killzone" history clearly states that Vekta simply lacked the resources the help. Of course, history is written by the winners, and the Vektans have been coming out on top for a long while now.
Token black guy. I can deal with the idea that we won't see a lot of young people or elderly because in the middle of a warzone civilians are evacuated. Fine. That's fine. I still find it problematic that in the far flung future the military is basically all white men. This goes for both the ISA and the Helghast. Aside from Luger and Rico, I'm pretty sure Guerrilla only rendered one model each for a female ISA soldier and a black ISA soldier. Much like Terry Van Feleday's take on Transformers, Killzone here has an issue with its treatment of women and black people. I'm not willing to write it off as the developers being so caught up in action movie tropes that they neglected to diversify the game's cast. Frankly, I feel these games should be cleverer than that. So instead, it just reeks of tokenism.
Oh, and I'm also not a fan of how Billinghurst is portrayed as a coward.
BP-02 Pup Grenade Launcher
Fires a single-shot grenade. Manufactured by the Helghast, and is infrequently carried by Helghast officers in lieu of a more traditional pistol. Causes devastating damage, but its ammo-capacity make it a poor primary weapon. Still, replace your starting pistol with one of these if you come across one. They've got utility where ever you go and make a great back up gun. Their blast radius isn't as large as the standard grenade launcher, but unlike that marvel of military technology, you won't suffer from movement penalties while using the Pup.
M13 Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Also known as the LS13 Shotgun. Made by the ISA, but often utilized by Helghast soldiers. I don't really know what's up with it. It is called a "semi-automatic" weapon, but needs to be pumped after every shot. That's not semi-automatic, is it? People with gun knowledge, help me out! Anyways, This gun appears throughout the Killzone series. It gets better as it goes along, but it kinda stinks in the first game. It's powerful, yeah, but it's got a horrible spread. If you aren't fairly close up to get the bulk of the shot in the enemy, they aren't going down. I mean, individual pellets have crazy range, but their damage in negligible. So if only half the spread hits a standard trooper, they're gonna be fine. Then you're left pumping the gun taking hits in the meantime. The StA-52 shotgun alternate fire is better because you can always go back to primary fire if you don't put down an enemy. Really, you should be ditching this gun first chance you get. Or better yet, never pick it up in the first place. At least not until you get to one of the sequels.
Fun facts: the shells for this particular gun come in a red casing while the shells for the Helghast StA-52 alt-fire come in a green casing! Also, primary fire shoots one shell. Secondary fire shoots two shells. Pressing primary and secondary fire at the same time? Fires three shells! Space technology!
Modeled after the Franchi SPAS-12, which actually shoots as a semi-automatic and pump-action firearm depending on what sort of ammunition is used. The whole "press 3 buttons for 3 shots" uhhh... mechanic, is probably why they labelled it as a semi-automatic.