Back in 2009, we finally got our hands on Guerilla Games’ highly anticipated Killzone 2. That game came with a great deal of expectations, but we here at Gamer Limit feel as though it delivered on the goods and then some.
Now that Killzone 2 has established the series as one of Sony’s flagship franchises, the question is “Will its sequel live up to expectations?” Hit the jump to find out.
Killzone 3 picks up six months after the events of Killzone 2. The Helghast are ripping the Vetkan invasion force to shreds. Scolar Viscari is dead. With a now leaderless government, the Helghast senate is squabbling for Viscari’s vacant throne as their military attempts to destroy the ISA resistance.
The plot is definitely a lot more interesting than the past few games. Killzone 3’s narrative threatens to be very entertaining at times and is miles beyond Guerrilla’s previous efforts in the story department. Our protagonists manage to be much more likeable this time around – something about a rag-tag group of ISA soldiers behind enemy lines, fighting for their lives manages to drum up quite a bit of sympathy. The ISA still lack personality, but as always with the Killzone series, the antagonists are the true stars of this show. The squabbling amongst the Helghast Senate, in particular, is fantastic. The rivalry between Admiral Orlock and Chairman Stahl is also particularly riveting.
On the gameplay front, things haven’t changed much since the series’ last installment. But did it really need to? Back in 2009, Killzone 2 was one of the most intense and cutting edge shooters on the market. While the Killzone series may not have the same name recognition as Halo or Call of Duty, in this reviewer’s opinion, Killzone is fast becoming the best shooter franchise on the market. Killzone 3 takes that already fantastic formula and cranks the dial up to eleven.
The controls have all been tightened up a great deal, and feel much more fluid and responsive than before. Guerrilla still doesn’t offer the ability to customize control setups however – there are only two preset layouts. After High Voltage Software’s The Conduit pioneered the control customization frontier in 2009, such limited options are fast becoming unacceptable in this genre. Luckily, for me anyway, the alternate control scheme is close to my ideal setup. Also, like High Voltage’s Wii shooter, Killzone 3 can be played by pointing at the screen, as it is fully compatible with the PlayStation Move.
Killzone 3 maintains the weighty feel that makes the franchise so unique. The characters feel as though they still have some presence within the game world – which I personally love. Our leading man Sergeant Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko doesn’t feel a floating pair of arms wielding a gun, like so many shooters nowadays, but he doesn’t feel like a tank either. Killzone 2 may have felt heavy and cumbersome to some players, but Guerrilla seems to have struck a perfect balance this time around.
If you’re tired of grey and brown shooters, Killzone 3 may pleasantly surprise you. While the franchise’s signature worn-torn cityscapes are still present, Guerrilla takes you on a tour of Helghan that includes colorful alien-jungles, glaciers, and snowy peaks. A handful of the multiplayer maps use these locations, and the red, blue, and green color pallet looks fantastic there as well.
Besides a change and scenery, Killzone 3 offers an array of new toys for you to play with. This includes the Jetpack – which is nothing short of amazing. The ability to jump around and rain death upon your enemies with the attached machine gun is breathtaking. While most of the weapons are just tweaked versions of those you’ve already seen in Killzone 2, there are a couple new ones: including a silenced-sniper-machine-pistol and one gun so awesome I would hate to spoil the surprise for you. That, and I’m still not entirely sure how it exactly works…but it’s awesome.
Now while the single player is all well and good, now for the real reason you’re interested in Killzone 3 – the multiplayer. If co-op is your thing, you can play the full campaign with a friend. Unfortunately it isn’t drop-in co-op, so you and your buddy will have to start a new file if you want to play together. Competitive split-screen multiplayer, online or otherwise, is still noticeably missing. If Killzone is going to be a “Halo-killer” that is something Guerrilla is going to need to remedy in its next instalment of the franchise.
The online multiplayer modes that are present are Guerrilla Warfare, Operations, and Warzone. Guerrilla Warfare is your basic team deathmatch. The Operations mode consists of a series of objectives between an attacking and defending team. The best players in the match will be featured in a series of miniature cutscenes. Warzone, in essence, remains unaltered from Killzone 2. It is also still the most enthralling of all the multiplayer modes, hosting a variety of mission types in one game including Guerrilla’s unique play on deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill, and assassination.
The character customization is easily the most interesting aspect of the multiplayer. All classes are immediately available to the player, so if you’re a sniper at heart you won’t have to go around charging into the thick of battle until you unlock your favourite class. Classes include: the Tactician, Field Medic, Infiltrator, Marksman, and Engineer. They’re all surprisingly balanced and can all deal out quite a lot of damage in their own unique way. Scoring points in the multiplayer will earn you unlock points when you level-up. Using these unlock points on your desired class will get you new weapons and abilities to make your character a much more efficient reaper of death.
Once again, Guerrilla pushes the envelope in terms of graphics. Simply put, Killzone 3 looks beautiful. The motion capture for the game’s characters is fantastic and the large variety of ways in which you can gruesomely melee enemies to death is particularly impressive. Also impressive is Killzone 3’s voicework, especially the performance of Malcolm MacDowell as Chairman Stahl. The game’s musical score echoes its wonderful looks: it ratchets the tension, inspires, and at times tugs at your heartstrings in a way comparable to that of John William’s epic Star Wars score.
All in all, Killzone 3 is an absolutely fantastic shooter. The campaign may leave a little to be desired and border on frustrating at times, but let’s be honest — we’re all here for the online multiplayer. On that front, Guerilla Games delivers. Killzone 3 is one of the most intense and polished shooters on the market and I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in shooters.
Graphically, Killzone 3 is one of the best looking games I've ever seen. As story tellers, Guerrilla still has plenty of room for improvement.
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Killzone 3 has some of the most intense and polished gameplay in a shooter today. The gameplay is virtually seamless.
The score and voicework are absolutely fantastic and compliment the game very well.
I can see myself playing Killzone 3's multiplayer for years to come.
Killzone 3 is one of the most intense and polished shooters on the market and comes highly recommended.