If ever there was a shooter that so ambitiously blended Hollywood motion picture special effects with an insurmountable amount of raw gameplay action, Killzone 3 would be among the standard bearers. A colossal experience that causes all your senses to work overtime, never before has a shooter so intensively kept you in the center of it’s crosshairs, marinating you in the true essence of desperation and survival.
Killzone 3 is devastating!
Picking up right where Killzone 2 ended, Killzone 3 wastes no time throwing you right back into the intense action-packed thrill ride that made it’s predecessor so unforgettable. Remember sitting at the steps of Visari’s palace, perplexed by the savage events which lead to that very moment, just after your hard noised brother in arms Rico ended the life of Visari? Well, that was just the beginning.
From the start, it is quite apparent developer Guerrilla Games doesn’t believe in giving coffee breaks to their fans as Killzone 3 is all about the continuous ride. How much of an oscar award-winning story does one truly need when from the start there is one purpose and one purpose only, get off planet Helghan by any means necessary. Killzone 3 is a journey of survival and during this journey compromises are made, orders are disobeyed and the true character of the last remaining ISA survivors are put to the ultimate test.
Once again players are in the boots of Cpl. Sevchenko with Sgt. Velasquez at your side aiding your efforts through the majority of the games nine chapters. Upon an explosion that rocks the foundation of Visari’s palace, you and your ISA comrades high-tail it out of the city with blood thirsty Helghast troops right on your heels throwing the whole kitchen sink at you. Much like it’s predecessor, Killzone 3 showcases what we believe to be the most incredible visuals ever to grace a console. However, unlike Killzone 2, distinct colors are now present making the scenery much more believable adding to the games incredible level design. The aftermath of the Red Dust nuke which Visari condemned his own city with in hopes of destroying the ISA in Killzone 2 now leaves behind a beautifully ruined landscape that is hard not to stare at.
Meticulously detailed environments radiate throughout as dilapidated buildings adorn the wears of a planetary invasion. Skies are filled with ISA Intruders and Helghast dropships playing cat and mouse whizzing through the sky leaving smoke vapors in their trail. Explosions cause high volumetric smoke filled streets making it difficult to see through until the smoke clears. Particle effects and debris are ever present, buildings falling apart from nearby explosions and this is war like never before. The game is simply gorgeous.
Unlike prior Killzone titles, Killzone 3 gives a more behind the scenes look into the Helghast military. Instead of only seeing the enemy from across the battlefield, you will now be able to understand the motives behind the Helghast and also witness first hand, the governing counsel of this military superpower. As the Helghast struggle to successfully bring the efforts of the ISA to an end, a tug of war of position and power begins to brew between the Helghast military Admiral Orlock voiced by Ray Winstone and Helghast weapon industrialist Jorhan Stahl voiced by Andy MacDowell. With two different stories and perspectives from the eyes of the Helghast and ISA driving the story forward, there is never any dull moments until the credits are rolling.
Despite the blockbuster presentation and eye-candy visuals, at the heart of Killzone 3 is a gameplay experience that while similar to other masterfully developed shooter, the most intense and brutal gunplay is around every corner. What does Killzone 3 do new? Well I’m glad you asked?
The simple answer, Killzone 3 took what its predecessor did so well and made them much better. Squeezing off a few rounds into the enemy never ceases to amaze as the hit detection is spot on causing enemy extremities to react realistically to every bullet. In addition, improving on the first person cover system, now without having to continuously hold down the L2 button player can freely spot and shoot while looking down the sight of the barrel, offering an effortless gunplay feel not found in other shooters.
While the melee option is nothing new to the shooter genre, Killzone 3 has stamped its signature into the idea. Now more brutal than ever, and I mean ever, players are given the liberty to down an enemy in the most vicious fashion. A knife thrust to eye with a little twist for good measure or a knife thrust to the neck, or how about the vicious side kick to the mid-section before bashing the enemies head into the wall and finishing with the knife thrust to the back of the neck. Hey this is videogame don’t try this at home people. Oh I almost left out the standard stealth neck ripper approach, ok I promise I’m done with the melee kills…. I think.
Continuing to maintain the unique style and feel that separates the Killzone franchise from the playing field, Killzone 3 maintains that sense of immersion which is attributed to the games weighty feel and simulating controls. Going into cover and then executing a wall vault just feel right. Shooter fans not too pleased with the controls of Killzone 2 might be surprised at the new found accessibility of the controls which have been overhauled while keeping that immersion Killzone is known for.
Artificial intelligence at its finest.
While tackling the single-player campaign on the normal difficulty settings, the experience is no walk in the park. Whether finding yourself gaining the much needed position to press your squad forward or going it alone in the trenches, the enemy AI is some of the most sophisticated in the business. If you’re not methodically aggressive you’re dead, it’s that simple. Flanking, maneuvering to find cover, diving out of your line of fire or literally going prone and rolling into position to give you an early dirt nap, the Helghast is a formidable opponent. Turning the difficulty up a notch to Veteran or for the most skilled first person shooter players, the Elite difficulty and the gunplay takes on a whole new form. Whenever you can finds moments where you can mistake the enemy AI with a multiplayer opponent, you know you’re experiencing something special.
As this race to the finish juggernaut draws closer to later chapters it becomes obvious there are no signs of slowing down and eventually this remain constant when the end shrewdly shows its ugly head. Almost in disbelief at the abrupt ending, my insatiable appetite for more has me already thinking about Killzone 4, the experience was that good. Was the game short, well, if my selfish side which is blown away by the games epic experience is to answer that question, then sure, however based on total package of Killzone 3’s campaign, it felt just right.
Nevertheless, the multiplayer welcomes players into yet another visually unimaginable Killzone experience that proudly rewards the more skilled players with rewards and the battlefield presence not found in your more arcadey multiplayer shooters on the market. Simple yet robust Killzone 3 multiplayer offers three game modes;
Guerrilla Warfare where the objective is to kill the enemy as often as possible by reaching the pre-set body count first or accumulate the highest number of kills before time runs out. In otherwords, this team deathmatch.
Warzone, the most robust and possibly the most entertaining features multiple randomized mission types for each faction to accomplish, creating dynamically changing gameplay from one game to the next. Again this is mode is the ultimate rush especially with right group of teammates.
Finally and new to Killzone is the Operation mode. Similar to the Battlefield Bad Company 2’s Rush mode where one team is the attacker and the other team is the defender, Operation blends a cinematic expression to the experience that is unlike anything we’ve seen in a multiplayer mode. Whether on the attacker side or defensive side, The best players are featured throughout the match in cut scenes depicting their successes. Again much like Warzone, Operation is an addicting experience that we recommend to all PS3 shooter fans.
With the ability to manage a squad, clan matches are also back for the ride and can be played across any of the 8 maps currently available.
With the exclusion of the trooper badge from Killzone 2, players can choose between 5 classes consisting of an Engineer, Marksman, Tactician, Infiltrator and Field Medic. Each with their own unique attribute, the battlefield classes are geared toward offering a level and more balanced playing field which is geared towards team play.
As it stands today, the multiplayer will certainly be put to the test as players are aggressively ranking up and equipping their customs classes to their warfare liking. As I have heard from my fellow colleagues describe and can now concur, the multiplayer plays effortlessly smooth with our anticipation of new online updates extremely high for this one.
Having had the opportunity to experience Killzone 3 in 3D, this perspective only adds to the already intense and immersive gameplay. Does it make the experience better, well if you don’t mind the possibility of real bullets puncturing your skulls, absolutely. All jokes aside, what you see on screen is only intensified that much more. Unfortunately I didn’t play it with the Playstation Move controller or the sharpshooter option. This is something I’ll indulge in my free time.
In conclusion, while the playing field of shooters is saturated with an array of great options, Killzone 3 offers the most intense and epic first person shooter experience you will find across any console today. From its graphical prowess that leaves you glued to your television monitor, to all the incredible sight and sounds surrounding each immersive battlefield set piece, a megaton shooter has arrived and must be played.
While Killzone 3 is not perfect, it doesn’t try to be. It’s actually too busy blowing out your senses to even notice.