Years ago when the first footage of Killzone 2 was shown, it had the world stunned at how visually appealing it looked compared to the graphical standard on consoles at the time. Now almost two years later we are being treated to a follow up that’s more enhanced, yet it fails to shock like before as the standard has been pushed significantly forward. So does Killzone 3 really do its job and build upon the franchise without seeming forced?
The first thing you will notice is that improvements have been made visually, with the game looking a lot clearer and colorful than the dull misty darkness that was Killzone 2. This time around the various environments of the Helghan planet are well decorated with texture and detail. The second thing you will notice is that the controls feel way more streamline, with no sign of the infamous “input lag” many gamers complained about before.
The campaign is noticeably more immersive this time around, with Sev, other members of the ISA and even the Helghast seeming more human. Last time around I found myself hardly caring for the characters or the plot, even though the campaign provided great depth gameplay wise. Unfortunately this time it’s the other way around. Instead of offering the full package, Guerrilla this time around focuses on providing an engaging plot which is told through frequent cut scenes. The sacrifice is that there is a lot less depth to the objective structure this time around, with missions being a bit too straight forward.
The story picks up right where Killzone 2 left of, without missing a heartbeat. Although I followed the campaign mode with deep interest I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was gunning through the game a bit too easy; and the more I felt that way, the closer it seemed I was reaching the games conclusion. Killzone 3 is sadly a bit too easy, which is shameful when you consider the challenge presented in the previous installment. Also the game feels shorter, with completion obtainable at around the 4.5 hour mark. New equipment such as the jet packs add short lived excitement during missions, though they are more enjoyable to experiment with online.
Once you put those negatives to rest you will then be able to appreciate the things that Killzone 3 does right. The game controls are very streamlined and easy to get to grips with. Just like before you can take cover behind various structures using L2, which comes in handy during many of the firefights against the Helghan forces. This time around you can carry three weapons max, plus grenades; which means at all times you will ideally be equipped with one automatic rifle, one heavy/special weapon and a pistol.
Enemy A.I is even more vicious than before, with the Helghan forces acting with intelligence in combat. Many times you will be caught off guard with just how smart the damn Enemy A.I is, even if it is dead simple to pick them off. In one of my favorite missions you must use stealth to get by Helghan forces if you wish to resist being bug food. There are parts of this mission that are tense as you struggle not to gain the attention of one of the patrolling sentries. This is one of the only terrifying parts of the experience, mainly because if you step one foot out of place you’ll become mince meat. There are also new melee based Helghast soldiers who are obliged to slice your neck off so fast you’ll be yelling a minute after your head hits the concrete.
If only the companion A.I was anywhere near as complex as the enemies then it would suppress some of the urge to curse at the screen. Luckily this time Killzone 3 features Co-op (local only) if you wish to invite on another human player.
Another attractive feature is the Playstation Move functionality, which I am delighted to admit works very well in a game of this caliber. Using the move controller replaces the complete right side of the Dualshock 3 allowing you to aim with the motion and pull the trigger to shoot. It is essential that you adjust the sensitivity when using the Move to get the perfect calibration. With that being said the Move makes picking off enemies child’s play to the point you’ll walk through the missions yawning while simultaneously pulling the trigger. With the lock on feature players gain too much of an advantage using the Move stick, this can leave you yearning for some kind of fair balance.
It was tricky for me to fully test out the multi-player section of the game due to playing so early. With that being said I am fairly clued up after playing the early Beta builds. There are multiple modes to choose from such as Team Deathmatch and Objective based battles. Objective based battles are definitely where the most fun lies. Just like before the objective games switch up in real time, but this time there the added bonus of short cut-scenes which feature the top players of each team. Don’t worry these cut scenes aren’t long enough to disrupt the action. One very obvious disappointment is the lack of online co-op once again. Although there is local co-op; this is 2011 and we want bloody online Co-op, maybe next time eh?
With everything considered Killzone 3 lives up to its intended role as number one Sony (exclusive) First-Person Shooter. However there are slight kinks missing that competing FPS’s implement very well. If you just want to compare Killzone 3 to the previous installment then it is a fulfilling replacement, especially with Move functionality and 3D. Little things like online stats, and the updated leveling system which allows you to spend points on equipment definitely give the multi-player even more legs than Killzone 2 had. Thus I happily recommend this experience to those who need a compelling FPS experience that can only be found on Playstaton 3.