Killzone 3

A first person shooter from Guerilla Games, published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Killzone 3 is (nearly) here. Releasing on the 24th of February, Killzone 3 continues right where part 2 finished up - we’re not going to spoil the story of either that game or this one here, but know this: things are intense. Our protagonists have got their backs up against the wall and not only are they facing an enemy that’s insurmountable in number and unshakable in resolve, but the wall their backs are up against is made out of knives. And fire. You get the idea - it’s a variant on a story as old as time; take on ridiculous odds and attempt the impossible.

Action is, as expected, from the first person. The controls are tight and, while there still doesn’t appear to be any level of aim-assist (like there is in Microsoft’s iconic Halo series), the controls feel inexplicably better. Switching between weapons, performing melee kills, swapping zoom levels while sniping - it all feels natural and takes only moments to learn how it all works. There are also some Sixaxis motion controls tacked on for a handful of minor tasks in the game, which work fine but don’t really add anything. Killzone 3 also supports the PlayStation Move, however as I don't have one I can only imagine how they might change the experience.

 
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From near the beginning of the game, the action kicks in - and it never lets up. Most of your time will be spent moving around under heavy fire, trying to find and flush out the enemies from behind cover (which they use extremely well, damn them). You get grenades to use, in addition to an assortment of guns, but they’re largely useless: Helghast are extremely good at a) spotting a grenade and b) running away from it. The one use they have is to flush out enemies from cover but you’ll need to be a good shot and you can only carry a few... so... chances are pretty good that you, like me, will give up and barely use them.

As you progress through the approximately 8-hour experience, Guerilla constantly spice up the mechanics and environments to ensure the action never feels tired or in anyway rehashed. Little things like a stealthy bit here, freaky attacking plants there, no more gravity in that bit, etc, keep things interesting and fresh throughout. The level design is also impressive, with vast and incredibly detailed backdrops supporting exciting, fun-filled (albeit linear) flows throughout the play area. Weapon pickups are well laid out, although it suffers from the classic “lots of ammo here - must be a boss” trait that plagues most shooters, spoiling much of the surprise of the (sometimes epic) boss reveals.

Many of the encounters are epic in scale, difficulty and pure “wow” factor. Killzone 3 gets this stuff so right it’s hard to put the controller down and you’ll find yourself leaning in to the TV to take in as much of the grand scene in front of you as you possibly can.

While it is fun, you do still have that niggle in the back of your mind that you’ve played this kind of game before. Yeah, you get to fly around on a jetpack for a bit and yeah, it’s always a blast but... ultimately it’s a series of extremely polished action set pieces you’ve seen before, rather than any kind of evolution of the genre. Much like an action blockbuster, however, this is a tolerable trait - you go into it expecting a thrillride and that’s what you get. Nothing more.

The narrative drives the game from the outset, although initially you’ll wonder what on earth is going on - hang in there, it makes sense soon enough. From beginning to end, you’ll be inundated with numerous cutscenes which keep you up to speed with both sides of the story. It’s not black and white, you see, with power struggles and confrontation happening not only between the two sides but also within them. In keeping with the “popcorn flick” feel of the gameplay, it’s not particularly complex or hard to follow and the characters are all fairly predictable in their behaviour but, much like a mega action film, that’s kinda what we want.

There’s story there to drive things along and tie things together but not so much that you need to get someone to explain it to you. Characterization, as discussed by Conrad in his preview, is extremely formulaic and you’ll have trouble connecting emotionally to any of the cast (except, perhaps, Stahl, who’s all kinds of disturbingly badass). Again, no one is going into this expecting (or wanting) The English Patient, but it warrants a mention.

Visually, KZ3 is a masterpiece. The level of detail in the environments is staggering and sets the benchmark for all games on all platforms that are to follow it. There’s just so much stuff and it’s everywhere, even floating around in the air or whizzing by overhead. Smoke trails will have you searching your living room for the fire, while the tracer rounds whizzing overhead will make you want to hide behind your couch - this without being in 3D, which the title supports but my TV does not.

The environments also vary visually considerably from level to level, never feeling like Guerilla have opted for the cheap option of repurposing their environments to use them multiple times. Characters have a real sense of weight to them, running and moving around in a way that suits their particular loadout. They also have that incredible sense of menace, afforded in part by their evil glowing eyes, but no less so by the masterful art direction on display throughout.

One thing worthy of note, however, is the gratuitous and over the top nature of some of the “brutal melee kills”. Brutal they’re called and extremely brutal is what they are - stabbing someone in the eye and twisting the knife, to accompanying gore, is not something that should be viewed by minors. If you buy this game for someone under the age of 18, I hope you get busted and prosecuted - that little red sticker is there for a reason. You don’t have to do these moves, of course, and i’m pretty sure many people won’t - they’re that gory (pushing both your thumbs into someone’s eyes? really?) - but they’re in there and chances are good the immature amongst us are going to get a giddy thrill from doing them over and over.

The sound, again, is incredible and genre-defining. The noise of bullets whizzing past, enemies screaming at you, massive mechanized arachnids crunching through the city - you name it, it sounds real. It’s intense, rich, loud and full-on. Make sure you turn your TV or sound system right up and thrill as the room shakes to the awesome soundscape that Killzone 3 brings to your living room.

Multiplayer, as you can imagine, is something of a dead end in a game being reviewed more than two weeks before it’s scheduled for release. Fortunately, Sony have made the multiplayer beta widely available (anyone can download it through PSN) through Feb 15th, which meant that we could test out the multiplayer changes since the Alpha we previewed back in November. As we found then, we find now - Killzone 3 is a great multiplayer game which works well online, is well appointed with loads of modes, leveling, unlockables and it looks amazing. With only 1 map in the beta, it’s hard to get too great a gauge on things but a quick look around the maps in the Botzone on the full game has us very excited for when the game finally gets into the hands of gamers worldwide from the end of the month. This is going to be huge online.

It's not technically perfect, with frequent pauses (typically around checkpoint transitions, but occasionally elsewhere as well) dulling the otherwise finely-hewn technical edge. Fortunately, these never occur during moments where distraction could be fatal and never seem to be a result of the intense on-screen activity. It's also possible that they're a symptom of an aging PS3 (the review unit is a trusty forty-gigger), so your mileage may vary. In my case, I got used to them pretty quickly and, due to their "only in breaks between action" nature, they didn't phase me.

Killzone 3 is one spectacular game - sure, it’s really only doing the basics in terms of gameplay, but it does it in the balls-to-the-walls, damn-the-expense, ultra-intensity manner that only a top-shelf, big-budget, mega-spectacular can. If you are even remotely interested in FPS games, you need to play this. It’s an awesome experience that’s backed up by a solid multiplayer mode and it has the best controls of the series. Extremely highly recommended and, despite its somewhat lacking imagination or ability to drive the genre forward from a gameplay perspective, it’s the peak of current action-oriented shooters - period.


Killzone 3
"An epic, block-busting spectacular"
- Killzone 3
9.4
Excellent
 
Follow Own it? Rating: R18   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 15 Min


 

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Comments Comments (21)

 
spectre101
Posted by spectre101
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 6:19 PM
3
man i just cannot wait for this game to release its going to be one heck of a hig-killing-extravaganza!! =]
 
 
 
rogernomix
Posted by rogernomix
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 7:29 PM
-10
This writing is absolute drivel. Why didn't the editor send this back to the writer for rewrites?
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
The Host of Chaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by The Host of Chaos
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 7:37 PM
9
9 February 2011, 07:29 PM Reply to rogernomix
This writing is absolute drivel. Why didn't the editor send this back to the writer for rewrites?
LOL. Troll?
 
 
 
phantom
Posted by phantom
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 8:06 PM
8
9 February 2011, 07:29 PM Reply to rogernomix
This writing is absolute drivel. Why didn't the editor send this back to the writer for rewrites?
The editor wrote it. What's the beef champ? I welcome constructive criticism :)
 
 
 
ChatterboxZombie
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 8:50 PM
6
Interested in the use of move
 
 
 
guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by guido
On Wednesday 9 Feb 2011 11:46 PM
6
Great review thanks. Thought it'd be tldr but before I knew it I'd read every last word. Definitely looking forward to playing KZ3 and reading the review makes me want to go back and finish another playthrough of KZ2!
 
 
 
phantom
Posted by phantom
On Thursday 10 Feb 2011 7:39 AM
3
9 February 2011, 11:46 PM Reply to guido
Great review thanks. Thought it'd be tldr but before I knew it I'd read every last word. Definitely looking forward to playing KZ3 and reading the review makes me want to go back and finish another playthrough of KZ2!
I'm already getting withdrawl symptoms since I stopped playing it -yesterday-. I'm going to play through it again :D
 
 
 
nimrod76 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by nimrod76
On Thursday 10 Feb 2011 12:05 PM
2
The sounds in KZ2 blew me away good to know it's been maintained for 3.
Great review... can't wait to win a copy ;)
 
 
 
Inferis
Posted by Inferis
On Thursday 10 Feb 2011 6:14 PM
2
Badass! Definite purchase for me..
 
 
 
Stark97
Posted by Stark97
On Thursday 10 Feb 2011 7:41 PM
2
Release day snuck up on me (as per usual)
I'm having such a blast with KZ2, buying KZ3 is a must do. Already pre-ordered, cannot wait, the game looks and sounds like an amazing experience, if its half as good than KZ2, i'll be happy.
 
 
 
Wh1teDeAth88
Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
On Friday 11 Feb 2011 6:05 PM
-5
"If you buy this game for anyone under 18 I hope you get busted and prosecuted" - Since when did a game review become a forum for the writer to air his personal opinions on the supply of games to minors? Was there any point in putting that in there or were you just trying to sound cool? Because you came off sounding like a d*ckhead. Anyway, cant wait for this, GOTY?
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Sonic NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by Sonic
On Friday 11 Feb 2011 6:33 PM
1
Someone with a 3d tv, let me know how awesome this is please?
(pm me cos i might not see the comment)

3d FPS.. FINALLY a real use for 3d TV's.

Game looks great in 2d so I'm guessing in 3d it breaks the space time continuum and changes this to a perfect 10!
 
 
 
tnzk
Posted by tnzk
On Friday 11 Feb 2011 10:12 PM
2
11 February 2011, 06:05 PM Reply to Wh1teDeAth88
"If you buy this game for anyone under 18 I hope you get busted and prosecuted" - Since when did a game review become a forum for the writer to air his personal opinions on the supply of games to minors? Was there any point in putting that in there or were you just trying to sound cool? Because you came off sounding like a d*ckhead. Anyway, cant wait for this, GOTY?
Since the dawn of reviewing, critics have always done so. He's got a right to state it in his review. Some may say he's actually got the responsibility.

The only type of person that would have actually gotten angry at that comment is someone who wasn't above the appropriate age limit. Just saying =P.
 
 
 
tnzk
Posted by tnzk
On Friday 11 Feb 2011 10:31 PM
-
9 February 2011, 08:06 PM Reply to phantom
The editor wrote it. What's the beef champ? I welcome constructive criticism :)
Kill it with the brackets, bro. I know you want to say heaps, but brackets are rhythm-breaking stuff. Imagine, say, Harry Potter full of brackets:

' Harry (who was distraught, angry, and sexually frustrated) got up from the floor. "That was good Cho, do it again", he said (with a wince and a smile). As Cho was about to fire another spell, Snape busted in the room (as Snape always does). Snape (slowly) surveyed the room, until his (steely) gaze rested on Harry (who looked back at Snape with equal disdain (if you want to know the beef between Harry and Snape, refer to the occlumency lesson in 'Order of the Phoenix' - ed)). '

Brackets are obviously additional stuff. Less is *definitely* more, however.

As for KZ3 in general, if it's anything like the second one, stiiiiiiiink lol. Ultra awesome technology on bland gameplay makes me snore. Then again, I have ADHD, so maybe it's good for normal people.
 
 
 
Wh1teDeAth88
Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
On Saturday 12 Feb 2011 3:27 AM
-3
11 February 2011, 10:12 PM Reply to tnzk
Since the dawn of reviewing, critics have always done so. He's got a right to state it in his review. Some may say he's actually got the responsibility.

The only type of person that would have actually gotten angry at that comment is someone who wasn't above the appropriate age limit. Just saying =P.
Actually I am well above age if you would like to check my profile, and I was not angry at the comment I just dont see the need for it in a game review, I read game reviews for the game review, not to listen to that sort of PC crap. What relevance does that statement have with killzone 3? Yes, it's R18, and for good reason. But stay on the topic of THE GAME, I dont want to hear what you think should happen to people breaking the law when I came here to read a game review.
 
 
 
djkicks NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by djkicks
On Saturday 12 Feb 2011 11:04 AM
-
Sounds like a lot of fun. I've only played some of the first game.

I agree with tnzk about the brackets. 12 times in 1 review is overkill(zone). ;)
 
 
 
Wh1teDeAth88
Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
On Friday 18 Feb 2011 8:26 PM
1
Actually dude Killzone 3 is R16, not R18 as stated in your review
 
 
 
citysoldier NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by citysoldier
On Saturday 19 Feb 2011 10:44 AM
-
I'm getting this. Pretty sad that they have the stupid pauses like in Killzone 2 again though.
 
 
 
SpawnSeekSlay NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Sunday 20 Feb 2011 4:11 PM
2
Can this famalegoods spam be burned with fire please nzgamer? its starting to get outta hand with it popping in every article :(
 
 
 
chinaman71 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by chinaman71
On Monday 21 Feb 2011 6:51 PM
-
<3 damn this is going to be mint. time to go killing
 
 
 
Wh1teDeAth88
Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
On Friday 25 Feb 2011 2:04 PM
1
Had this pre-ordered from mightyape, but as I live in Christchurch, dont think I will be seeing it until at least the end of the month after the quake on tuesday :( R.I.P to all those who perished