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To read my full review on Killzone Mercenary, check it out here: Killzone: Mercenary Review - A Use for that Second Analogue Stick
Unlike Killzone 2 and 3, Killzone Mercenary launched without one important feature: Botzone. For those who don't know what that is, Botzone is basically the ability to play multiplayer offline with AI teammates and enemies. Surprisingly, this feature was absent from the newest iteration, which is even more strange seeing as this is a handheld title. Nevertheless, it's here now (Albeit seven months late), and it's good.
You're going to need help dealing with these AI foes...
Much like Killzone 3's Botzone mode, Mercenary's version allows you to choose the map, player count, and game mode for offline play. There are seven maps in the base game, along with two new maps included in the previous update. (Those two being Tharsis Depot and Blood Gracht from Killzone 3) Killzone Mercenary comes with three base game modes. Warzone, Team Deathmatch, and Free for All. Here's an excerpt from my review, to give you an idea of how the former works:
"Like Killzone 3, Warzone tasks teams with completing randomized objectives. Things such as capturing certain territories on the map, hacking terminals, and straight up killing each other. The team with the most points at the end of the round wins. This creates a diversity not seen in multiplayer shooters very often, and that's what sets this series apart from other shooters."
Oddly enough, however, is the lack of Warzone mode from Botzone. It's playable in Killzone 2 and 3, so I'm curious as to why it was left out. If Guerrilla can get it to work, though, it may be added in an update. The other two modes suffice, but with little way to change the in-game settings, such as kill count, restrictions, or even something as simple as time limit, things can get a bit old after a while.
One great new feature that comes with Botzone is the ability to put your PS Vita in sleep mode while in a match. While it makes sense that you can't in multiplayer without exiting the match, this means that there is no secondary server needed to play Botzone (Unlike other "offline" bot modes from other games.), meaning this is a truly offline experience.
Your in-game currency carried over between single player campaign and multiplayer in the launch of Killzone Mercenary, and that is still very much true with Botzone. And, according to Guerrilla on The Playstation Blog, you will "have the chance to collect some of those harder-to-obtain multiplayer trophies in an offline arena" Making that 1,000,000 credit Trophy that much easier to obtain.
Here's a screenshot I took of the Botzone menus...
The AI players in Botzone are as equally skillful in killing you as they are in campaign, but this time you don't have the luxury of being a bullet sponge. I got killed continually by a sniper's headshot, interrogated, melee'd, and every manner of destruction that I was able to cause myself. They are definitely easier to defeat than actual online players (Which can also be attributed to the fact that there's no lag in Botzone), but these foes are no pushovers. They will hunt you, and have no qualms about putting you down when you are severely wounded. What is nice about this, however, is that you get a sense of equal playing ground. The AI can do everything you can (and in some cases, better), so you can't slaughter them with a machine gun whilst they stare at the sky.
The Botzone Soldier Training pack is available now for $2.50 on the Playstation Store. There's also a free update available now, which adds the Botzone support and fixes some widely reported collision issues in multiplayer. The patch is around 23mb, or around 545mb is you didn't download the previous update.
Thanks for reading!