“Killzone Mercenary” review: A must-buy for the PS Vita

There has been no shortage of expectations for Guerrilla Games latest entry into the “Killzone” franchise. The studio has been known to push the graphical limits of hardware, and with its latest game — “Killzone Mercenary” — pegged exclusively for the PlayStation Vita, the anticipation has only grown. Guerrilla has more than met the expectations with “Mercenary,” blending impressive visuals with engaging gameplay to create the definitive first-person shooter on the powerful handheld.

Unlike previous iterations in the series, you are no longer exclusively fighting for the franchise’s protagonist faction — the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA). In the appropriately named “Mercenary,” you play as Arran Danner, whose only loyal to the highest bidder. Though the story is not very compelling, the action is virtually non-stop. Taking on waves of enemy Helghast or ISA soldiers (depending on which side you’re fighting for) never gets old, especially because the game rewards you with money for most everything you do and grades your performance with Valor cards. The better you perform on the battlefield, the better card you’re given. This plays also ties into the multiplayer.

The money you earn (both in single player and multiplayer) can be spent on a host of weapons and Van-Guards, which are similar to perks in “Call of Duty.” One of the the more interesting Van-Guards is the Porcupine, which targets enemies on the screen and with a tap of the screen fires missiles at designated foes.

You can customize your loadouts with specific armor, primary and secondary weapons, and grenades. The weapons have distinctive punch to them. The shotguns will lift foes off their feet while the automatic guns will fire a large number of ammunition. The one letdown is that you can’t customize your weapons, so adding scopes or silences to weapons that are not equipped with them is not possible.

The single-player mission structure is broken up into 10…

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