A review copy of “Killzone 2” showed up today. Obviously, I haven’t had a chance yet to play it. (They don’t let me keep a PlayStation 3 at my desk, sadly.) But I’m already familiar enough with it to know that it might possibly be the best-looking console first-person shooter ever. Sony’s had high hopes for “Killzone 2” ever since they showed it off at E3 back in mid-2005, when the PS3, let alone the Xbox 360, wasn’t even on the market yet.
But in looking at the game’s title and box art, I’m struck by what a generic name “Killzone 2” is. Don’t get me wrong, “Halo,” “Resistance” and “Crysis,” other highly marketed FPS titles, don’t exactly set the world on fire. “Killzone,” however, is so unimaginitive it sounds like the name of a fake violent video game from a TV show. It makes me recall that episode of “The Simpsons” where Bart steals a game called “BoneStorm.”
“Killzone 2” ups the ante. It implies whoever named the game wasn’t struck enough by the first game’s bland moniker to give it a cool subtitle, like “Killzone 2: Revenge of the Alien Brain-Eaters.” Everyone will forget this, of course, if “Killzone 2” ends up atop a slew of Game of the Year lists in 10 months. But a generic photo of a guy with a gas mask with the words “Killzone 2” below him isn’t going to help much at retail. Blow up the game’s box art and it could easily be mistaken for the next Bruce Campbell movie.
To be fair, “Killzone 2” isn’t a bad title, per se. It’s just bland. It’s nowhere near as bad or mystifying as “Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny.”