Few games require little introduction as Killzone 3 does. It’s predecessor on the same platform was widely accepted as one of the stand out performers of the generation to date. When it came to graphics, gameplay, audio and multiplayer action it had few peers. Even over a year on it’s one of the show piece titles on the PS3. You’d be forgiven for assuming that Killzone 3 is considerably better in every way… well, it is!
The story picks up at the end of Killzone 2. So if you haven’t finished that one you might want to stop reading now as the next line is a spoiler. Visari gets killed. Now hopefully that’s the only spoiler I let slip. Killzone 3 really has quite a interesting story. I won’t go into too many details but it follows the power struggles and conflict within not only the ISA but the Helgast as well. The story jumps between different events and times but is easy too follow. The game is predominately set on planet Helgahn.
First off all it almost goes with out saying. Killzone 3 is stunningly gorgeous. The fluid frame rate, detailed semi destructible environments and spectacular level designs once again puts Killzone above it’s peers in terms appearance. Killzone 2 was criticized for being a bit too grey brown and devoid of colour and well, it was. Personally I didn’t find a problem with that as it suited the style of game. Guerilla have built on this slightly. Obviously it doesn’t have the bright lush colours of Halo for example, but there is definitely a lot more variety in the levels. Playable in 3D too if you’re that way inclined. Unable to test unfortunately.
The enemy we have come to love are back. There are a few nice additions to their arsenal which makes battle encounters on each level a exciting experience. Fortunately for us the Halgast army has yet to cotton on to the fact that brightly illuminated red goggles probably isn’t the best equipment to use for military combat units so as always, it’s not too hard to find them. In saying that it’s no walk in the park. The battle sequences are phenomenal. You’re constantly overwhelmed by the enemy. I have mixed feelings about the difficulty curve with this game, yes the AI is as good as before, if not better. They’re also much better equipped. But so are you. Some of the new weapons are ridiculously powerful. Killing multiple enemies at a time. Plus there always seems to be multiple ammo depots around to restock. It does take a lot of the strategy out of the game. (unless playing to the hardest setting… good grief I didn’t get far) Generous restart checkpoints and loads of ammo tended to make me run and gun more than usual. Not necessarily a bad thing of course.
This time round there are also plenty of variety to the stages. Ranging from large mech suits (kick arse mech suits), jet packs and a few varied vehicle stages. The majority of the vehicle stages you’re simply in charge of a mounted turret. Although quite fun and pretty satisfying it does get a little tedious towards the end. A nice change in gameplay but not the reason you’ll come back to the game.
Controls: are yes the controls. There’s no denying the massed are split on the effectiveness to the Killzone 2 controls. they were ‘designed’ to add weight and realism to heavy mobile soldiers. i.e. there was a delay in the controls. Killzone 3 has had quite a over hall. The player feels fast and fluid and a lot lighter than before (basically no delay). Personally I much prefer the new controls although there will no doubt be many that wont.
Also Killzone 3 is the first AAA title to utilize the PlayStation Move controllers. I’ll admit I was very sceptical about how well this would work. Too start with I was using the Move remote and the Dual Shock 3 controller. My first impressions were good (not great). I had no issue with the accuracy of the actual shooting. It was quick and natural and arguably better than I was doing with the controller. It fell short when I had to move quickly around a stage, looking left and right quickly and ducking in and out of cover. It seemed clumsy and a little awkward. It did feel better over time but not to the point when it felt as good as the controller. I then decided to splash out on the NAV controller. Things improved instantaneously. I can honestly say I’m at the point now that I’m AS good with the move controller as I am with the controller. Plus I must admit using the Move controller is a lot more fun. Although a little tiring when you just want to lax out and have a quick game. I’ve been told that using the Sharp Shooter attachment drastically improves the experience. But with delays and low stock here in NZ they’re hard to come by.
Not only does Killzone 3 have a (possibly a little short) interesting and satisfying single player campaign to has plenty to keep the multiplayers happy. Offline co-op campaign where you can charge through the story in split screen. Online or LAN campaign would have been nice but sorely lacking. The main bulk of the multiplayer action comes online. Many options like Guerilla Warfare, Warzone, Search and destroy and more. At the risk of offending massive Killzone 3 fans it’s pretty much standard fare with online shooters now days. Killzone 3 is feature packed and more than holds it’s own with other shooters. But what really is important to us and more relevant to us is how does it play online? Poor ol New Zealand we often suffer from nasty lag and poor connections due to many factors such as our location on the globe, server locations and unforgiving net code. I’m happy to say Killzone 3 performs pretty well. It’s impossible to get into perfect games every time and there will be times when you need to jump out and start again because the lag will destroy any chance you may have of competing, but not many. Also Killzone 3 seems quite ‘newbie’ friendly. I’ll admit it was a few weeks after launch until I got to sink my teeth into the online multiplayer. Typically after a few weeks you so low on the pecking order of ‘ranks’, ‘unlocks’ and ‘upgrades’ that you have no chance of completing. This didn’t seem the case with Killzone 3, it’s inviting and instantly rewarding and easy to see why Killzone is one of the best online shooters on the PS3.
In closing Killzone 3 sets the bar pretty high. The single player campaign is exciting and interesting. The multiplayer is fun and rewarding and the game looks amazing. Still the benchmark game to show friends what the PS3 can do. With Killzone 3 there’s plenty of value for money and with new ‘Map packs’ hitting the PSN there will be plenty more action to come.