Sony Computer Entertainment
Almost exactly two years since the release of Killzone 2, Guerrilla Games is back with the inevitable Killzone 3. Its predecessor really was a milestone game for the PlayStation 3 and the fourth (yes, fourth) in the series doesn’t so much raise the bar to new heights, as it does give it a polish.
You are dropped right back into the boots of ISA soldier Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko, continuing almost exactly where 2009’s Killzone 2 left off. The Helghast leader is dead but as you make your extraction the process goes all wrong. Sev, Rico, and a group of other ISA grunts are left stranded on Helghan, and the struggle begins to get off the enemy planet. Along the way you’ll cover standard first person shooter fare, like protecting a convoy with a sniper rifle or the solo stealth missions. It can all be a bit predictable and does leave you running ahead of all your AI buddies because you just know the next checkpoint is behind that corner but the maps are grand and full of destructibility, so shooting waves of enemies isn’t as tiresome as it might sound.
Unfortunately for gaming connoisseurs the cut scenes and voice acting are really quite weak. At its worst the game throws you between confusing cut scenes with terrible dialogue that really doesn’t help explain the story. Fortunately you always know to just keep pushing forward, shooting the dudes with the red eyes, story be damned. But compared to other big Sony titles like Uncharted, which excelled in the field of cut scenes, it is disappointing. The sound designer especially needed to sit down with a good set of headphones and play this through - some of the cut scenes really have quite shocking sound mix and FX.
So I’ve talked about the single player portion, but like K2 before it, K3 comes with a full featured multiplayer portion. Building off K2’s multiplayer, Guerrilla Games has added a few things, but has also taken away some features (spawning on your squad leader is no longer an option). The biggest addition is the unlocking of weapons and items. A very big trend now days, it was inevitable Guerrilla would make the switch too. Instead of each class automatically being decked out with their particular items, you’ll need to play that class and unlock a series weapons and abilities. You earn one unlock point for each level of experience gained with most starting items and abilities costing one point; whereas later weapons can cost three points to open up. My problem with the unlocking system is that it can really handicap the casual player who can only put a few hours in a week to play, and it givse the guys who play a few hours a day a really quick advantage. Love it or hate it, it’s there and it does feel good knowing that every thing you do is attributing that to overall progression.
Killzone has always excelled is its graphics and besides a few dud textures, Killzone 3 delivers. It has some of the best volumetric particles I’ve seen in a game, and the water is staggeringly mesmerising. The lighting is also noticeably improved over Killzone 2. HDR and bloom lighting wash out just the right amount of detail, and really does show some of the best in its class.
Bringing full 3D and proper Move controller support together is a first for the PS3. Unfortunately being one of the 99 per cent of people who have a regular, crappy, old HD 2D TV, this doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. Suffice to say if you are a 3D TV owner you should already have a PlayStation 3 (being the best 3D content playback device) and no doubt are already grabbing every bit of 3D content made available. While I couldn’t try it out in 3D, reports online are that it can be very cool in single player but it can be a handicap in multiplayer.
Somewhat surprisingly, playing with a Move controller really was a more accurate experience than a regular Dualshock; although I did find my hand getting a bit cramped after a solid session - your wrist and hand are required to master subtle movements that you probably aren’t used to. Prepare to ache the day after a long gaming session!
I highly recommend getting a Navigation controller for your left hand as using the Dualshock controller with one hand is super uncomfortable and I immediately realised why they made the Nav. Depending on what you already own, buying the camera, one Move and one Nav controller could set you back a bit, and is not very necessary to play Killzone 3 enjoyably. However I did find it superior to the Dualshock, so if you are looking at buying a Move for other games, this could push you towards that direction. Either way, the game controls are very solid and the latest imagining of the series has lost the floaty feel that Killzone 2 had pre-high precision patch.
If you loved Killzone 2 then it’s a no brainer. If you felt K2 was an average experience, maybe wait until the inevitable, cheaper Platinum edition.