Reviews – Killzone 3 Review

Platform: PS3
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Release date: Feb 22, 2011

The Playstation 3 has a great line up of exclusive titles for this year. Many would probably say Killzone 3 was the marque first person shooter for the console, especially with the extra hype and marketing that Sony has pushed behind Killzone this time around, such as: the Playstation+ beta, the open beta, and the single player demo. Sony wanted to let everyone know that they addressed the issues that many had with Killzone 2, and this would be the game that the predecessor was supposed to be. It could have easily been Sony’s flagship FPS game, but I feel that Guerrilla Games dropped the ball on this one.

I was pleased to see that the aiming was changed from the previous game. There are a few Killzone 2 apologists who will continue to argue that Killzone 2’s controls made the game feel more “weighty” and “realistic”, and to those people, I agree. Killzone 2 did feel more realistic, if the soldiers were all fighting under water. The laggy feeling controls was one of the biggest faults of Killzone 2, so it’s a sure improvement that this new game’s aiming is on par with most other console FPS games. Another positive addition to the controls is the new “brutal melee” kills that give the player incentive to go up to their enemies and melee kill them, rather to never melee at all. Overall, I think this game has solid controls and plays very well.

The obvious positive aspect of Killzone 3 is the great graphics. Improving on Killzone 2’s already great graphics engine, Killzone 3 looks more aesthetically pleasing due than the previous game, mainly due to the wider range of colors. While playing Killzone 2, the player cannot help but notice all the blacks, greys, and reds everywhere in the game. Killzone 3 still has a few areas with that old color scheme, but also adds new areas with a higher variety of colors. It’s still not as beautiful looking as Uncharted 2, but it’s a definite improvement from the last game. The models and textures don’t trump that of Crysis, but Killzone 3 has really great animations that make the people look much more life-like while in motion. At the end of the day, I can’t complain about Killzone 3’s graphics and they’re definitely top of the line for the PS3.

The campaign mode was a missed opportunity at expanding the Killzone universe. Killzone has some cool elements, such as the interesting backstory on the Helghast and the planet Helghan, Scholar Visari has always been a very cool character with his Hitler-esque charisma while giving his powerful speeches, and I think Killzone has some quality voice acting, especially since they brought in Malcolm McDowell to voice Jorhan Stahl, who replaces Visari as the main antagonist. Unfortunately, Stahl is the only interesting character in this game. Everyone else is just a cookie-cutter space marine who’s there to fight until the end. Additionally, a good portion of the campaign is a rail shooter, in which you are riding some vehicle and manning a turret, shooting scripted enemies. What I believe is the biggest down-side of the campaign mode is the lack of online coop. Split-screen coop is available, but yet they were unable to fit in online coop, which is a norm in most FPS games today.

The multiplayer supports 24 player matches with three different modes. Guerilla Warfare is a standard team death match mode. Operations mode is an attack/defend game mode with cutscenes as objectives are completed. Finally, Warzone is my favorite mode, which is a roulette of different rule types within the same match. For example, the rule type can be team death match, and whichever team reaches 50 kills first gets the point, then it would change to another rule like control point or capture the flag, and after all the rules have been played, the team with the most points will win. It’s a fun game type, and I’m surprised to see that it hasn’t caught onto many other FPS games yet. The multiplayer also supports bots, which is a useful feature for those who aren’t able to play online or have a bad internet connection. One thing I’m not sure of is whether there is team autobalance or not. If it does exist, it doesn’t work because I’ve been in plenty of games where the opposing team has nearly 5 or more people than my team.

My biggest complaints about Killzone 3 are the features. The bullet-point features that were included were the 3D support and Playstation Move control support. I myself have not been able to experience either of those features since I don’t have the equipment, I don’t really care to experience them, and I really wonder if the money put into developing those features was even worth it. What’s the point of investing so much into a feature if only a small portion of your customers are even going to use those features? If Guerrilla Games didn’t bother with those two features, could they have more resources to work on other features so that Killzone 3 could meet the standards or modern FPS games? As already stated, there is a lack of online coop campaign. There is also no map editor or a Forge Mode equivalent. There is no survival mode or an equivalent type mode such as Call of Duty Zombies, Gears of War Horde Mode, Halo Firefight Mode, Rainbow Six Terror Hunt. There are also no custom games or custom game types. There is a lack of vehicles in the online with the exception of a few mechs that show up every once in a while in a few maps. There is no Theatre mode or a replay mode equivalent.

Killzone 3 feels and plays like a solid FPS game, but the lack of features and content is why this game falls flat on its face. Halo and Gears of War are the 360’s top shooters. Call of Duty is the top FPS today. These are the staples of today’s modern FPS games. If Killzone 3 is trying to be the PS3’s marque shooter, then it has to have all the features that the other top games have. Solid gameplay is not enough for a FPS game, it needs content as well. I cannot recommend this game at a full price purchase, rent before you buy.

3 out of 5 stars

-“The Don” Stafa