Since early 2010 Sony has been vigorously pushing their 3D gaming initiative. To date there are approximately 30 3D enabled games available for the PS3 and for those interested in joining the 3D revolution this feature is for you!
On a semi-weekly basis I’ll here to give you the low down on a specific 3D and game and let you know whether or not the extra dimension adds to anything meaningful to the overall experience. This week’s game is…
What Is Killzone 3?
Considering that the two biggest franchises of this generation are Halo and Call Of Duty, It’s only natural that Sony would put would want a AAA First Person Shooter of their own. Killzone uno was released for the PS2 back in 2004 where overexcited Playstation fans naively coined it as a “Halo Killer”. For that reason the game was massively over-hyped and as expected it didn’t quite live up to the buzz. Flash-forward to E3 2006 where Sony officially unveiled the successor to the PS2, Guerrilla Games would once again excite fans with the debut trailer for Killzone 2. The trailer (which Sony claimed was completely in-game) simply looked too good to be true, leading many to believe that Sony were using CGI to oversell the PS3’s graphical capabilities. At the following E3 Sony shut cynics up with a live demonstration of the Killzone 2 and once again the game was deemed to be a Halo killer. Unlike its predecessor, Killzone 2 came very close to matching its own hype and to this day it is considered to be one of the best games available on the PS3. Was it a Halo Killer? No, but it was arguably the next best thing. For the third game (forth if you count Killzone: Liberation for the PSP) there was no such controversy, allowing Guerrilla Games to focus on making a great game rather than meeting expectations. However, despite improving the graphics, revamping the multiplayer and adding stereoscopic 3D/Playstation Move support KZ3 received wasn’t as well received as its older brother, to find out why be sure to check out our full review.
Before I start I’d like to take time out to address a common misconception that many people have about 3D. If you boot up Killzone 3 and expecting to see bullets fly out of your TV forcing you to bob your head in fear of losing it, prepare to be disappointed. Despite what TV manufactures would like you to believe, when viewing 3D media objects rarely give the illusion that they are magically escaping from the confines of the screen. Instead, 3D is most commonly used to add a sense of depth to the on-screen environments and when used competently it can make you feel more immersed than ever before. If you can, try to picture the difference between looking directly in to a fish tank and looking at a photo of a fish tank, that should give you a general idea of how 3D works.
Why is 3D good?
As with any first person game, Stereo-3D allows for some extraordinary tricks involving depth perception. Killzone 3 takes full advantage of this concept by incorporating both on-land and in air vehicle sections. Hoovering above your enemies in a a gun turret, mowing down everything that moves looks great in 3D as does performing brutal melee kills. It’s hard to fully appreciate the extra layer of depth during frantic gun fights but some of the slower moments in the game look truly stunning and gives you a brief glimpse of how 3D can enhance the overall play experience.
Why is 3D bad?
Unfortunately those are the only positive things that I can about Killzone’s 3Dness. Despite being Sony’s first big buget 3D title, Guerrilla Games almost seems clueless when it comes to making this technology work. The first, and probably most damming thing you’ll notice when playing in 3D is that it almost makes your aiming reticule invisible. This issue could have easily been resolved by simply changing the color of the reticule (as playing with a Move controller proves) which makes me wonder was this mode ever play-tested? I also noticed ghosting effects during almost every cutscene which completely broke the immersion for me and made the all-important story moments seem less impactful. Killzone 3 is naturally a gorgeous game so I was expecting the stereoscopic effects to blow me away but alas that wasn’t to be. If anything, playing in 3D just makes you appreciate how good the game looks without it. In 2D the world looks far more lively and vibrant, Stereoscopic 3D has been known to wash out color and in Killzone 3 it certainly lives up to its reputation! Other issues such as severe framerate dips and natural disadvantage during multiplayer further enforce my decision that 3D should have been left on the cutting floor.
3D or 2D?
As much as I wanted (and expected) Killzone 3 to justify my rather costly TV purchase I’m forced to say…. 2D all the way!
Note: This game was played on a PS3/Samsung PS50C680. Results may vary depending on your television, play environment and console of choice.