Killzone 3 Review

By on March 30, 2011

Lock ’n’ load…the Helghast are back!


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First Impressions
My reaction is
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Some two years ago, Sony released the Guerilla Games FPS, Killzone 2 and while there was a fair share of first-person shooters on the PS3 already, few could match Killzone’s astounding visuals and intense combat. Fast forward two years and the FPS landscape on Sony’s system has developed quite a bit. More and more shooters are getting the formula right and many are doing it in style. The fear was that the Killzone franchise may have lost its edge. In my humble opinion, that fear is not far from the truth. Killzone 3 is by no means as formidable as the second was and may not be a realistic candidate for game of the year, but its still a hell of a ride and an experience no fan should miss.

Gamers reprise the role of Sevchenko. With Visari dead, the Helghast are hell-bent on revenge and plan to hunt down his killers, extinguish the ISA threat and, in turn, restore glory to Helghan. For Sevchenko, Rico, Narville and the rest of the ISA troops, what starts as an escape mission becomes a mission to save Earth from a new weapon being developed secretly by the Helghan Arms division.

Killzone 3’s single player campaign has all the elements that have now become standard for a successful shooter. Action packed set-pieces that break the monotonous routine of just running and gunning? Check. Killzone employs quite a bit of them. Examples involve EXO and vehicle control, some fixed-gunning scenarios and, my personal favorite, jetpack-powered escapades. In addition to the inclusion of these scenarios, Guerilla has clearly placed more effort on making the campaign more story-driven. However, while by no means awful, the story fails to really trigger any emotional reaction to the events transpiring or any real attachment to the characters involved (a flaw that I believe hampers not only this game but many of the shooters available today – but that’s another subject entirely).  While Sev and Rico are arguably more likable then they were in the first game, they remain completely one-dimensional and are unlikely to make anyone’s list of favorite videogame characters. This may not deter most gamers, nevertheless it is unfortunate to see a cast of characters with so much visual detail and so little personality.

What may excite the fans however is that the array of guns by far outperforms the cast of characters. Many of the guns of Killzone 2 are back and improved. While the sidearms are generally underdeveloped, the rifles and heavys are quite satisfying. You can now also unmount fixed mini-guns and wreck havoc on the go. Characters can now also perform brutal melee actions, in other words popping in Helghast eyes, Kratos style!  If you own a Move controller, Killzone 3 is Move compatible and, having myself played through the game utilizing the motion controller, I must say it provides quite an engaging addition. Admittedly it does require some getting used to in the beginning since adjusting the balance between moving the cross-hair and moving the camera can be disorienting at first. Luckily the game comes with various tweakable options that allow you to tailor the Move experience to your liking. If you own a 3D TV let me first say, lucky lucky you! Envy aside however, Killzone 3 is also 3D compatible and while I have not tested it myself, I can’t imagine it being anything but spectacular (this coming from a guy who gave up on 3D halfway through Avatar and watched the remainder of the film in the bright yet blindingly blurry 2D image).

Killzone 3 is a gorgeous game, no doubts there. However, it is worth noting that while the visuals have improved noticeably since Killzone 2, the gap between it and its direct competition has diminished. All this really means is that, while Killzone 2 was miles ahead of its competition visually, Killzone 3 does not give off that visually superior vibe, not due to any deficiencies on its part, but to the visual proficiency of other games, now a good 5 years into this generation’s lifetime. Make no mistake however, Killzone 3 is an aesthetic treat from start to finish and perhaps one of the best looking PS3 games since Uncharted 2. In addition, the game’s musical score is fittingly epic and adds great intensity to the combat. With regards to voice acting,The Helghan cast is fantastic. In fact, even the ISA heroes are well voiced but bad dialogue really taints the experience in that respect. It can be summarized as half-a-dozen hours of mission nonsense, profanities and pulling rank.

As is the case with most first person shooters, the single player campaign is often merely the tip of the iceberg. That said however, it is the multiplayer facet of Killzone 3 that is most susceptible to criticism. The competitive multiplayer is engrossing as ever and will likely consume much of your time with the game. The big concern for fans will be the lack of an online cooperative campaign. This is disappointing because, for most gamers, split-screen is not something to really get excited about and so the existing offline cooperative mode will hardly muster much enthusiasm and deservedly so. The campaign stutters and makes a a gorgeous game look somewhat clumsy. Still, the option is there for those interested in it. Guerilla provided yet more offline love with the inclusion of Botzone. Botzone is essentially offline skirmishes with, you guessed it, bots instead of players. This is great for gamers that aren’t connected and would like a taste of free-for-all fun.

All-in-all Sony poster-child shooter does well in its second outing on the PS3 system and while its not without its flaws, it is yet another graphical masterpiece from the Dutch developers. Its cliffhanger ending suggests we perhaps haven’t heard the last of the Helghast and while that may spell trouble for the future of all of humanity…bring it on.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
8.5
Virtually unchanged from the KZ2, barring the addition of more vehicles. The Jet-pack is awesome.
GRAPHICS
10
Simply gorgeous, the level design is varied, the character superbly animated. Another win from Guerilla.
SOUND
10
Fantastic voice-acting, an epic score and heart-pounding effects make the audible experience an outstanding one.
VALUE
8
The lack of an online coop campaign will annoy some people and the Botzone, whilst a nice gesture for the broadband deprived, is very shallow.
FUN FACTOR
8
The single player campaign is not without it’s thrills but will not leave a lasting impression. The rest depends on how much you enjoy competitive online shooters.
OVERALL
8.7
Killzone 3 is ultimately a flawed yet stunning experience. It gets the production values and the intensity just right. If it lacks anything, it would be a bit of character but fans will find it absolutely thrilling while it lasts.

About

As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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Comments
  • Ben

    such a bog standard game – it has a terrible story and suffers from the worst pacing ive encountered in any game. just as you get into it BOOM – cutscene. its a 6/10 from me. decent graphics and sound, terrible controls and such a short game with a dodgy ending. stay away, something like bulletstorm is a LOT More fun.


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