DF Retro: Killzone 2 Ten Years On - An Iconic PS3 Tech Showcase

Dec 20, 2018
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DF Retro returns! It's just over ten years on from the release of Killzone 2 on the PlayStation 3. Join @dark10x for a look at the game's controversial beginnings, to its final, technologically astonishing result.

Article: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2019-retro-killzone-2-a-ps3-tech-showcase
The road to Killzone 2 was almost certainly a difficult one fraught with unrealistic expectations defined by its infamous E3 2005 pre-rendered trailer - but despite the odds, developer Guerrilla Games managed to produce one of the most visually striking games of the generation.
Killzone 2 runs at a full 720p with 2x MSAA.
More at the article. Its a good read.
 
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Dec 7, 2016
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Its a shame what happened with KZ2, probably the most underrated game in the PS3 library.

But later Killzone HD was a big disappointment: Almost the same assets (just a few new loading screens), better framerate but still the same sluggish sniper scope peformance, a bit of input lag..

KZ3 was, again, a masterpiece, like Liberation and Mercenary. I havent tried Shadow Fall yet.

My only complain about KZ2 was the water, a bit static and plain. Resistance 2 came out four months before and showed far better water tech.


BTW: Today we make 10 years of Bend Studio's Resistance: Retribution and Rockstar Leeds' Chinatown Wars, they came out the same day, good old PSP vs NDS war.
 
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Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
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#4
Its a shame what happened with KZ2, probably the most underrated game in the PS3 library.

But later Killzone HD was a big disappointment: Almost the same assets (just a few new loading screens), better framerate but still the same sluggish sniper scope peformance, a bit of input lag..

KZ3 was, again, a masterpiece, like Liberation and Mercenary. I havent tried Shadow Fall yet.

My only complain about KZ2 was the water, a bit static and plain. Resistance 2 came out four months before and showed far better water tech.


BTW: Today we make 10 years of Bend Studio's Resistance: Retribution and Rockstar Leeds' Chinatown Wars, they came out the same day, good old PSP vs NDS war.
KZ3 did push water deformation and renderings forward though :).
 
Apr 18, 2018
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Still can't stand the weird controls. That input lag made it impossible for me to really like it. Yeah, impressive from a technical standpoint. But just like rdr2, the gameplay wasn't that fun.
 
Aug 3, 2010
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#7
Pretty awesome video. It was such an interesting game at the time. The input lag is a real problem, but back in 2009, it was easier to ignore and just enjoy the immense package. Both the campaign and the multiplayer were so well-constructed. It makes you wonder why so many current games with bigger budgets and higher sales don't feel as loved by their developers as Killzone 2 did.
 

dark10x

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#8
Pretty awesome video. It was such an interesting game at the time. The input lag is a real problem, but back in 2009, it was easier to ignore and just enjoy the immense package. Both the campaign and the multiplayer were so well-constructed. It makes you wonder why so many current games with bigger budgets and higher sales don't feel as loved by their developers as Killzone 2 did.
Yeah. I played the whole game for this video. It’s fun only on easy difficult due to the insane latency. I did have a nice time, though, but switching to Kz3 was a revelation. It’s much easier to play.
 
Dec 7, 2010
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Yeah. I played the whole game for this video. It’s fun only on easy difficult due to the insane latency. I did have a nice time, though, but switching to Kz3 was a revelation. It’s much easier to play.
Did you try it streamed over PSNow? An update on whether streaming has gotten better over the last couple of years would be interesting, come to think of that.
 
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Dec 20, 2018
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After I played Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (I don't like this CoD after all, but the zombie mode is fun) I totally start to care about input lag response. Man this game is so so smoth for a shooter. Thats why this Killzone 2 is a dealbreak for some at least in input lag/latency.
 
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Likes: Dev1lXYZ
Aug 22, 2011
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#13
I loved KZ2 to death, the overall look and atmosphere, animations, gun models, lights, physics and interactivity, enemy reaction to bullets, the chirp sound, the multiplayer, the bot mode, the maps (Radec Academy, Blood Gracht, Salamun Market...), the exploding heads... truly an unique feel and package. I miss that game so much, it was on a luegue of his own.
 
Aug 3, 2010
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Yeah. I played the whole game for this video. It’s fun only on easy difficult due to the insane latency. I did have a nice time, though, but switching to Kz3 was a revelation. It’s much easier to play.
This is kinda off-topic, but is there a reliable, scientific way to test for the actual input latency in a game? I realize that displays add some of it but is there some way to test for it in a general sense? I always felt like that would be a great statistic to add to tech analysis for games.
 
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This is kinda off-topic, but is there a reliable, scientific way to test for the actual input latency in a game? I realize that displays add some of it but is there some way to test for it in a general sense? I always felt like that would be a great statistic to add to tech analysis for games.
You can count the frames in a decent quality 120-240FPS video between the button activation and the character reaction and get the ms of latency. DF has done that a few times already in other games.

IMO KZ2 is perfectly playable, i've seen far worse games latency-wise.
 
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dark10x

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#18
This is kinda off-topic, but is there a reliable, scientific way to test for the actual input latency in a game? I realize that displays add some of it but is there some way to test for it in a general sense? I always felt like that would be a great statistic to add to tech analysis for games.
Yeah. High speed camera is one way and I've done that several times but it's annoying and fiddly. There are other methods too involving custom hardware. Looking into it.
 
Likes: mckmas8808
Dec 7, 2016
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#20
@dark10x You should do a Criterion's Black video for DF Retro. Its probably one of the TOP5 tech showcase games in Playstation 2. And the demo of the game has a lot of differences with the retail version, like in-game cinematics, different hud and worse performance due crazy overuse of smoke and particles effects.

High Voltage Software's The Conduit would be another good choice, again the E3 demo is really interesting and the Android port is a bit different too.
 
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Likes: FeldMonster
Jun 11, 2018
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I don't understand why ppl are saying stuff like "too bad it didnt get its due recognition" this game had a high meta, sold well, most appreciated its awesome mp and it was universally known to wipe the floor with every fps at the time in term of graphics. Almost all sites agreed it was graphical benchmark on console. I remember it being the talk of the town for awhile. It even had a great sequel.
 
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Great looking game but so dull, god i remember playing this on my PS3 and just not enjoying it at all.

Same with the Resistance games, just so boring and slow.

I was a massive PC player, Counter Strike mainly, going from KB+M to PS3 controllers for FPS may have had something to do with it, but PS3 FPS games such as KZ, Resistance and MAG felt horrible and bland.
 

dark10x

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#26
I was a massive PC player, Counter Strike mainly, going from KB+M to PS3 controllers for FPS may have had something to do with it, but PS3 FPS games such as KZ, Resistance and MAG felt horrible and bland.
Ah, I can understand that then. As someone that hates Counterstrike and games of it ilk, I don't mind the slower pace. I just wish the input lag were reduced significantly.
 

dark10x

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#28
I tried it when it first came out, but the controls were really laggy, like you were fighting under water. I just couldn't get in to it.
I actually played both the launch and patched versions for this video. The 'high-precision' aiming option added via a patch definitely helps things (still not perfect, though).

Crysis 2 latency and performance is among the worst i've seen in Playstation 3. Still, i have finished it in Supersoldier mode and it wasnt nearly as hard as Crysis on Delta.
You played through Crysis 2 on a PS3 in super soldier? My hat is off to you, sir.
 
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Aug 17, 2018
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I haven't noticed any input lag in any Killzone game and I've played them all. The gunplay did get faster as they went along but the heavy feeling weapon movement was always by design I believe. These aren't really twitch shooters like the COD games.
 
Likes: Gamernyc78
Dec 20, 2018
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#30
Crysis 2 latency and performance is among the worst i've seen in Playstation 3. Still, i have finished it in Supersoldier mode and it wasnt nearly as hard as Crysis on Delta.
I can't say about Crysis 2 because I played on Xbox 360, but I played Crysis 3 on ps3 and its a horrible game in this departament. Blurry, lag and fps drops in one package.
I really agree with John about 'both fps games on that era showed similar perfomance'.
 
Dec 7, 2016
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#31
You played through Crysis 2 on a PS3 in super soldier? My hat is off to you, sir.
Yes, i have finished Crysis PS3 on Normal, Crysis 360 on Hard and Crysis PC on Delta. Crysis 2 360 (unlocked FPS) on Regular, Crysis 2 PC MalDO HD on Veteran and Crysis 2 PS3 on Supersoldier. I have only finished Crysis 3 in all platforms in Veteran but I guess I will give it a second chance on Super Soldier in the future.

And even with GTX 1080's nearly 60FPS on Ultra ... Crysis PC on Delta was the hardest playthrough, by far.

Still, never finished Far Cry (1) on Realistic difficulty, thats a real challenge.
 
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dogmaan

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Yeah. I played the whole game for this video. It’s fun only on easy difficult due to the insane latency. I did have a nice time, though, but switching to Kz3 was a revelation. It’s much easier to play.
I loved Killzone 2 it was one of my games of the generation, it was amazing, conversely I got Killzone 3 on release and after a couple of hours was so disgusted with it I took it back, the game played like it was made by a completely different team, pop-up call of duty mechanics, bad transitions to cutscenes, ridiculously easy, I had a super negative, visceral, and perhaps not all that rational reaction to Killzone 3 that I still can't really explain, the only thing I can think is that perhaps quality suffered as Sony Cambridge may not have been as involved as they were with Killzone 2, I mean the vita Killzone made by Sony Cambridge was really good.
 
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Likes: EDMIX
Feb 15, 2018
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#33
To this day, guerillas most impressive game.

Put it (faithfully) on ps4 at a locked 30fps with lower input lag and bam. I hate that I can't play this with no ps3!

You really don't want 60fps on this game it would probably ruin the physics/weight.

Also the final mission on hardest was probably the most challenging part of any fps for me. You kind of just adjust to the latency but it would be nice to have kz3 levels of response.
 
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Likes: Bolivar687
Oct 4, 2011
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I'm glad John talked about the input latency as it was the main reason I just couldn't get through the game. It's just plain horrible, I couldn't understand how people were praising the game at the time because the controls were especially insufferable added onto a 30fps cap. It was a stunning looking game, but it was only just better to watch than play. I never went back and finished it because of how bad that input lag was.
 
Nov 27, 2018
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The best looking PS3 game hands down. Sadly the title was stolen by UC2 released half a year later, but as time showed, UC2 didn't stand the test of time, even the remaster looks dated, while KZ2 still looks pretty much up-to date. If Sony wanted to release a remaster the only thing they really need to do is to add higher res textures and bump up the resolution, that's it. And that KZ3 footage looks like a few years younger game, the game was such a step backwards (especially the MP). I know GG tripled the view distance and poly count, and doubled the textures resolution, but yeah, the, toned down lightning, post-processing, particles, interactions, the shimmering from MLAA etc. all of it make the sequel look much, much worse. The control scheme tho, it single-handedly killed the game. Sure, the input lag was great, but GG managed to tone it down a lot with a patch, but what's always been present was that weird acceleration/deceleration, the crosshair didn't have constant speed, and that's what made the controls a real pain in the ass. They fixed it in KZ3 and SF, but everything else was sub-par compared to KZ2. Like someone her on GAF once posted - KZ2 was a pleasant accident.
 
Feb 15, 2018
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#39
The best looking PS3 game hands down. Sadly the title was stolen by UC2 released half a year later, but as time showed, UC2 didn't stand the test of time, even the remaster looks dated, while KZ2 still looks pretty much up-to date. If Sony wanted to release a remaster the only thing they really need to do is to add higher res textures and bump up the resolution, that's it. And that KZ3 footage looks like a few years younger game, the game was such a step backwards (especially the MP). I know GG tripled the view distance and poly count, and doubled the textures resolution, but yeah, the, toned down lightning, post-processing, particles, interactions, the shimmering from MLAA etc. all of it make the sequel look much, much worse. The control scheme tho, it single-handedly killed the game. Sure, the input lag was great, but GG managed to tone it down a lot with a patch, but what's always been present was that weird acceleration/deceleration, the crosshair didn't have constant speed, and that's what made the controls a real pain in the ass. They fixed it in KZ3 and SF, but everything else was sub-par compared to KZ2. Like someone her on GAF once posted - KZ2 was a pleasant accident.
I almost said something about this, but i'm pretty sure guerilla straight up lied about that. In fact I actually think they said they quadrupled the poly counts. No, just no - no amount of optimization could get that much more out of the ps3, and you certainly couldn't see the difference when actually playing kz3. Just look at the pop in during that jungle stage!

Also, I remember an awards show interview with jason rubin and someone else actually saying killzone 2 was the more impressive game technically than UC2 lol. I doubt I could find that video anymore though.
 
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Dec 20, 2018
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#40
Both are bloody and gritty war shooter games. Personally loved the art design of the first GOW, 2 and 3 not quite as much but still both good games.
I just played the Gears 3 and its a very different game at least in comparison with those dark gloom game. Very saturated and color in some areas. Still, Gears 3 is my favorite.
 
Likes: DanielsM
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#44
It was a very informative and interesting to watch, thanks.

Just a question. Does this imput delay really make the game like, playable at all(like, resulting in a very amounts of deaths)? From what you said, it feel like a chore to play.
 
#47
The whole introduction of the PS3 was the most exciting time in videogame history. Even though most of that was fake, one can't deny how special that moment in history was. I must have watched the CG trailer of Killzone 2 a hundred times. KZ2 was something special. It reviewed very well, and I still feel it was underrated. If they announce a remake as a PS5 launch my mind would explode.
 
Aug 25, 2018
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I loved KZ2 to death, the overall look and atmosphere, animations, gun models, lights, physics and interactivity, enemy reaction to bullets, the chirp sound, the multiplayer, the bot mode, the maps (Radec Academy, Blood Gracht, Salamun Market...), the exploding heads... truly an unique feel and package. I miss that game so much, it was on a luegue of his own.
The most cinematic FPS experience. To be sure.

How about a vid on Resistance 3. DF? I recall the gfx being quite special also.
 
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Likes: 0neAnd0nly
Dec 23, 2018
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#49
You know what, I think I'll grab a copy of the Trilogy sometime. I remember liking the Killzone 2 Demo when it released, it was beautiful and playing without a hud/crosshair was awesome too, very immersive, imho.

Too bad Shadow Fall killed the franchise for good (probably)