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No one could have suspected that the sequel to 2004's Killzone would be this good. Killzone 2 is a tremendous package, offering an exciting campaign and terrific competitive online play, neither of which create new paradigms for first-person shooters, but rather set new standards in subtle but significant ways. From ground-breaking visuals to well-crafted multiplayer maps, most of Killzone 2's individual elements stand out in a crowded genre, making its meagre attempts at storytelling easy to ignore. PlayStation 3 owners looking for a shooter to keep them busy for the rest of 2009 and beyond need look no further: the fierce action will keep you glued to your television screen for some time to come.

The M82: is there nothing it can't do? (Credit: GameSpot)

What makes Killzone 2's single-player campaign so much fun? First and foremost, the weapons are a lot of fun to shoot, even the standard assault rifles that form the core of your load-out. The M82's effective scope makes zooming in on your target a breeze, yet this rifle is effective at close range as well, establishing itself from the beginning as a formidable firearm. The LS13 shotgun is also powerful and rewarding to fire; though you may only shoot off a foe's helmet with other weapons, you'll watch entire heads explode with a single blast from this close-range powerhouse. The bolt gun is another favourite, skewering enemy soldiers onto surfaces and exploding a short moment later. Though you're traversing a sci-fi setting, your weapons are decidedly modern-day, from the sniper rifle to the vicious flamethrower, with one exception: the lightning gun. This mighty instrument showers enemies with overpowering jolts of electricity, and though it's not available for long, it makes short work of robotic and humanoid foes. Each of these weapons feels just right; fantastic spurts of blood, outstanding animations, exquisitely detailed weapon models, and explosive sound effects fuse seamlessly and give a satisfying sense of impact every time you land a shot.

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