We trace the bitter, bloody history of the seminal PlayStation series.
Battle of the planets
Captain Jan Templar is set to go down in legend as the man who prevented humanity being snuffed out by one of the most ruthlessly efficient enemies ever seen on PlayStation. This is Killzone on PlayStation 2 – and it's only the start of the most intense fight for survival you'll ever face.
Earth is but a war-ravaged memory to Templar and his Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) comrades; Vekta is mankind's new home, a planet rich in natural resources and coveted by its neighbours on the dark, inhospitable planet Helghan. Yet war itself is only too familiar to both planets, and the Helghast are eager for more.
Breaching defences the ISA said could never be breached, the Helghast launch a blistering rampage on Vekta. They are tougher, faster, and, above all, furious at being shunned by their human cousins. Rocked back on its heels, the ISA is forced into a desperate rearguard action of trench warfare and chaotic house to house firefights.
As ISA losses skyrocket and Vekta is ceded mile by mile, Helghast confidence and brutality grows. Against this terrifying backdrop, Templar and his grizzled squad – the hulking Rico Velasquez, the mysterious Shadow Marshal Luger and the half-Helghast Colonel Hakha – begin their inspirational counter surge.
With the battle lines blurred by treachery and the desire for revenge, Templar cuts a bloody path through the Helghast hordes. Clawing back his home planet and discovering the truth about his superiors – not least the real reason the Helghast were able to waltz through Vekta's defences – Templar sends a clear signal: we're not done yet...
Remind yourself how the legend was forged. Revisit Killzone on PlayStation 2 now.
Search and rescue
The Helghast threat is pinned back, but it is growing. Captain Jan Templar has barely had time to patch himself up before being called upon once more to spearhead the most perilous ISA assault yet. In Killzone Liberation for PSP, war waits for no one.
With the sadistic Helghast commander General Armin Metrac newly installed, the rules of war are ripped up and a fevered campaign ravages Vekta. Despite having pushed back the enemy front line in Killzone, the ISA again finds itself in a Helghast stranglehold.
Key to the reinvigorated Helghast war effort is the kidnapping of three pillars of the ISA – defence minister Heff Milcher, master tactician General Dwight Stratson and scientist Evelyn Batton – which means that hostage rescue is added to Templar's already daunting list of duties.
Facing a doubly determined enemy equipped with a fearsome arsenal of military hardware, Templar regroups with Velasquez, Luger and Hakha to track the Helghast abductors and free their prisoners. And if some serious holes are blown through the Helghast strategy along the way, so much the better.
War has a curious capacity to spin a soldier's moral compass, and so it is that Templar discovers yet another defector to the Helghast cause. Yet despite facing suffocating odds at every turn, Templar manages to smash through the Helghast lines to set up an explosive showdown in a remote mountain fortress against his deadliest foe yet – Metrac himself.
To miss Killzone Liberation is to give up on the fight halfway through. Download it from PlayStation Store to your PSP today.
The prey turns hunter
The ISA drives war directly into the Helghast heartland in Killzone 2 for PlayStation 3. Revenge and total victory is the motivation behind a huge ISA assault force, and by taking the fight to Helghan, they are marching into the most hellish theatre of operations imaginable.
Two years on from the invasion of Vekta in Killzone, the ISA decides it must capture its architect, Emperor Scolar Visari, to finally cripple the Helghast war machine. New hero Tomas 'Sev' Sevchenko, a flinty special forces veteran, is assigned to lead his crack squad on a mission to take the Helghan capital, Pyrrhus. However, the Helghast waste no time in displaying their superiority in their own backyard.
Sev and the entire ISA high command – which now includes Killzone hero Jan Templar as fleet commander – quickly realise the scale of the challenge ahead. Choking atmospheric conditions, razor-sharp enemy tactics and freakish lightning storms that are turned against the ISA mean Visari and closure may be a step too far.
The fighting exacts a terrible toll on Sev and his comrades. The initial ISA invasion force is reduced to a rabble in a devastating ambush, crucial members of the ISA effort are lost, even Rico Velasquez, fighting at Sev's side, is fast losing faith. However, one last push sees the two men – deeply troubled by the horrors they have witnessed – confront Visari, with far-reaching consequences.
Cut off from the ISA, trapped in the most hostile surroundings conceivable and scarred by their efforts, Sev and Velasquez are left high and dry. The scene is set for Killzone 3, where, in Visari's own words, "the madness begins".
Check out PlayStation 4 at the PlayStation E3 press conference on 10 June 2013.
Abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. A population decimated by a modern plague.