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Killzone 3 Review

by | @AttackFanboy | on February 3, 2011

Killzone 3 is the fourth release overall in the PlayStation 3 exclusive first-person shooter franchise, and contains the first integration of the PlayStation Move system into its gameplay. In it players continue the fight by a futuristic special ops team against the seemingly unstoppable Helghast Empire. Along the way players will learn more than ever before about the rabid Helghan culture, as well as become aware of an internal struggle in their ranks that may prove to be an important weakness. The game features full Playstation Move system integration throughout the game — including the Move and Navigational controllers. Additional features include: the ability to carry two primary weapons, new melee and jet pack functionality and online multiplayer support.

Killzone 3 is a FPS and a brutal one at that.  This is the Gears of War for the PS3, over the top violence, plenty of bromantic sequences, and gunplay direct this at shooter fans first and foremost.  The unbelievable visuals that Guerrilla brings in Killzone 3 could also have graphics hounds howling all the way until the next generation.

In my opinion, Killzone 3 is the best looking console game of this generation, bar none.  Visually, Guerrilla has absolutely nailed the graphics in Killzone 3. Each and every part of the game is so detailed and beautiful.  From the very nitty gritty of the menu in place all the way up to the heights of the cinematic set pieces, the only aspect of Killzone 3’s graphics that you might be disappointed in, stem from the fact that it’s going to make each and every game you play for some time to come, pale in comparison to what was accomplished here.

Zero drop off in the multiplayer component furthers the argument even more, as we’ve all seen beautiful campaigns before, but I don’t think a multiplayer has looked as beautiful as it ever has in Killzone 3.  The inhospitable planet of Helghan is a world that comes to life so vibrantly on the PS3.  It’s truly a testament to the developers, and frankly I’m not sure that this game could be done this way on any other console than the PlayStation 3.

The comparisons that many websites have run over the past year with each passing build of the game released to the public can all be put to rest.  Killzone 3 is absolutely amazing from a visual standpoint.  The stark contrasts of the level design, colors, lighting, and character models offer so much variety to your eyes.  At times you will certainly not believe them, as the action seems bigger than life, and that’s in 2D.

For those of you with a 3D televisions, Killzone 3 is also hands down the best 3D experience I have ever witnessed.  Non-intrusive, the game incorporates the 3D elements  so seamlessly that you almost believe that this was the exact way that this game was meant to played.

This time around, Killzone seems to have come into it’s own in the story department.  This is not a mindless shooter anymore.  There’s a deeper level of committment to the story in this iteration.  Of course the game is first and foremost a shooter, and you will move from instance to instance engaging in firefights with the Helghast, but the story is front and center this time around.  The familiar faces return, you still control Sev.  You find yourself on Helghan with a handful of your fellow soldiers months after the events of Killzone 2.  The fight for survival in the alien land, your ultimate goal of saving mankind, as many times as you have been down the path before in games prior, it feels as fresh as ever in Killzone 3.

Leading up to the release Guerrilla has claimed that it has struck the balance in controls for Killzone 3.  And I have to attest that they have certainly come close to perfection, at least at what they were aiming for.  Killzone 3 retains all of the weight of  Killzone 2, and by weight I mean the realism. How the weapons feel when fired, the sway in movements, and of course the visceral displays when taking hits, still retain much of the realism.  But you also feel much more nimble.  Pulling up your sights feels much more natural, as well as hugging cover and exchanging fire with the enemies.  And this carries over to the multiplayer as well.  Which is nice, because it gives Killzone 3 longer legs in that department.

The inclusion of multiple game modes like the objective based  “Operations”  will give you a somewhat fresh take on a genre that has begun to canabalize itself.  Slightly similar to what Halo Reach did with it’s objective based games, Killzone 3 includes Operations. This mode has you fighting Helghast vs. ISA, but there is an inclusion of cutscenes that highlight player activity, which  is something new and refreshing for an online FPS.  The mode builds a bridge between the story and online component, which is nice, but more importantly it’s a ton of fun.

As fun and as well done as Killzone 3 is, it still misses if ever so slightly in the multiplayer department because of the controls.  I’ve personally come to the conclusion that the Dual Shock 3 is not a good controller for fast paced First Person Shooters.  And while Guerrilla has done their best to work with that, it still doesn’t feel like the accuracy is there.  The sluggish controls of Killzone 2 are gone, this is a truth. Though, there still seems to be a bit of float in the aiming and because of this, the multiplayer won’t have the legs of a Call of Duty or a Halo Reach.  It’s not that the Killzone multiplayer isn’t fun because it is, and it’s beautiful, but it’s also just off ever so slightly when comparing it to the current kings of this generation.

There’s many times in the multiplayer where your control inputs produce unexpected results such as zooming in or out without notice, it doesn’t break the experience completely but it’s still there.  Personally, I feel its a function of the Dual Shock more than it is developer.   This was one of my major concerns with Killzone 2 and sadly it’s just not as tight as I personally would like.  All in all it’s clearly a give and take.  The realism that Guerrilla has achieved in Killzone 3’s multiplayer gives way a bit to what the truly hardcore FPS fan is accostumed to, in tight accurate controls and results that can be reproduced.

As far as originality goes, Killzone 3 doesn’t do much differently to seperate itself from the crowd.  Aside from the graphics, most of Killzone 3 is fairly derivative of other modern first person shooters.  The campaign will funnel you from area to area where you will engage in combat with the enemy.  A shining light that could have clearly seperated Killzone 3 from all others would have been to avoid some of the on rails sequences and offer up something that gamers haven’t seen before.  Differentiate yourself from the crowd instead of trying to fit in, exactly how this is to be done?  I have no clue, I just play the games.    That’s not saying that there aren’t these instances peppered in throughout the game that break up the monotony of the FPS action, because there are.  It’s just that for some reason the action feels derivative at times.

Even during some of the best sequences of the game like the exoskeleton battle, it somehow manages to feel like you have been there and done that once, twice, or many times before.  Has it ever looked as great as it does in Killzone 3?  No, and that’s not up for debate.

Having played through the game, embraced the story and all of the visual stimulus that my eyes could handle, I didn’t have the strong urge to want to go back and play it again.  Clocking in at around 6.5 hours, Killzone 3 has nice value, but it’s definitely not from the campaign.  Most if not all of the wow moments are best experienced the first time around, and they will literally drop your jaw.

Killzone 3 is going to be one of the best first person shooters of the year, if only for the triumph of what was accomplished visually.   But objectively, you aren’t going to see a shift of Halo or Call of Duty loyalists discarding their Xbox 360’s to play Killzone 3 regardless of how well the game looks.   There are many reasons for this, but I think first and foremost that Killzone 3 doesn’t feel as tactical or competitive as some of it’s rivals in the online genre.  It does manage to somehow feel more fun however, when you couple the unrivaled presentation with much improved controls the game is the best when it comes to FPS available only for the PS3.

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