Killzone 3 - Review



Since Killzone 2's great success, the Killzone franchise has established itself as one of the PS3 finest exclusive titles AND one of the better online shooter experiences. Although the graphics and the game as a whole were pretty convincing, many people had problems with Killzone 2, mainly concerning its repetitive gameplay and most notably its unfluid controls.

Now 2 years later, Studio Guerilla Games released the sequel Killzone 3. But did they learn from the predecessors mistakes?




Story

Killzone 3 picks up right where Killzone 2 left off. After the leader of the Helghast, Visari, got killed by the ISA and our two main protagonists Sev (the player) and Rico, the senat of Helghan assemble all of their military forces to prevent the ISA from leaving the planet alive. Now Sev and Rico, have to come up with a plan to survive the seemingly endless Helghast attacks but also how to escape the planet. Little do they know that in the meantime, the Helghast are working on a never before seen, powerful weapon which not only threatens to destroy the ISA but also Earth.

K3's plot is more or less pretty basic. Although the story has not really that many climaxes like K2, i enjoyed Sev's and Rico's adventure. To be honest, i even liked K3's story more. While K2 completely focused on areas with bricks and ruins, K3 gives you far more variety. During their struggle for survival, Sev has to fight his way not only through cities but also through jungles, arctic areas, junkyards and even space. K3 has a much faster but also more comfortable pace than K2 (whose story moved seemingly as fast as a snail). With that said, K3's plot/story is by far not its biggest strength but as a whole it is more of what i wanted to see from an entertaining killzone game. I found myself not to be that invested into characters like Sergeant Narville etc. and the not so engaging "twists" but the story of marines trying to survive on a planet full of enemies seemed more interesting to me than the usual "we-are-attacking-the-enemy-with-our-army-against-their-army-storyline". Although i have to say that Killzone 3 ends a bit too abrupt after the final showdown.


Gameplay

Killzone 3's biggest and most important change compared to its predecessor are its control mechanics. Gone are the unfluid, slow and uncomfortable control mechanics from K2. Guerilla Games was obviously listening to the fans' criticism. K3 plays very well and has more of a Call of Duty style control scheme now (which is a good thing!). Also the campaign puts you not only into various places to fight, but it also has a wider variety of gameplay. In some missions you have the task to stealth kill Helghast soldiers in the jungle, while in other missions you have to ride various vehicles. Concerning the vehicles, K3 now has far more vehicular set pieces/missions than its predecessor (an no! not only that robot suit from K2). Also now you got the ability to run and slide into cover. I rarely found myself using that move but it doesn't hurt the gameplay so...why not? A great addition to K3's combat are its brutal melee kills. They don't differ much from the melee kills from K2 concerning the damage, but they look much cooler this time. Instead of just punching an enemy with your gun (K2), you can now break their necks, smash their heads against walls, push your thumbs into their eyes, etc.. That change was nothing necessary but it is pretty cool to look at. Pure eyecandy.
Although K3 seems like your regular shooter experience, i was surprised how strategically i had to fight through the missions. K3 is no game you can just breeze through in normal mode. Even on the trooper difficulty (normal mode) i got killed many many times (which is nowadays a rarety in video games -- in call of duty you rarely die on normal mode). You constantly get flanked by the Helghast so that you are constantly forced to look for another cover. Each mission or area has to be tackled in a different way and THAT is what a great shooting experience is supposed to do!
An interesting new change is that this time it's not only you who can revive fallen squad mates but also you yourself can be revived. So most of the time Rico is there to get you back up on your feet (but luckily not always-- if the damage is to high he can't save you).
A thing that pissed me off in K2 and which is present even in K3 is the lack of a grenade danger indicator. Grenade danger indicators are pretty much standard nowadays for shooters, so in K3 you can only notice thrown grenades by the beeping noices they make. I died countless times only because i just couldn't spot where exactly that fucking grenade was (and so in which direction i would have to run). Maybe Guerilla Games wanted to make the game feel more real or they just wanted to distinguish themselves more from Call of Duty but if you ask me, a grenade danger indicator is something Killzone needs.
Except for the areal changes and the vehicular set piece moments, K3 tends to be very repetetive after 2/3 of the game. Instead of getting more and more excited for the showdown, i felt pretty exhausted during the final missions and at times even bored by the repetetive waves of enemies (but hey that's how shooters are). But maybe that's just me, so don't count that as such a big negative.
A big plus on the other hand is the ability to play the campaign cooperatively...OFFLINE!


Graphics

K3's graphics are simply some of the best out there right now. It might exactly look like K2's graphics at first, you will quickly notice that Guerilla Games improved the graphics a lot in K3. Not only the graphics but also the physics feel more real. Although i often noticed some framerate issues during the cutscenes they don't hamper the fun notably. K3 is easily one of the best (if not the best) looking game this year *COUGH CRYSIS 2!*
Although i think that most of you, including me, don't give a crap about the fact that K3 can be played in 3D, i think i should at least mention it in this review so...eh...yeah it can be played in 3D...eh..yay?


Sound

K3 gives shooter fans exactly what they want. Every gun sounds very unique. You can hear every dodged bullet and the score also is top-notch. Incredibly high production values on this one.




Multiplayer

I admit that i am not such a big Killzone online player. I spent a couple of hours playing the multiplayer to try it out and get into the vibe but it just isn't for me. Although the gameplay is much more fluid than in K2 it's just not fast enough for me (i am more into the fast COD style of multiplayer and NO i am not a fanboy i just like it more). This does not mean that the multiplayer of K3 is bad. It's even one of it's biggest strengths but i will say that it's not for everyone (but then...which game is?).
Well, the multiplayer features different soldier classes you can choose. It (of course) also gives you the ability to rank up and unlock new features and abilites you can use during online play. Also theres not as a big variety of gameplaymodes like in Black Ops but it gives you enough to come back if you like it.
In my personal case, i thought it was fun, but i can't see myself playing it very often. K3's multplayer is a love it or hate it kind of thing i guess.


The Verdict

All in all, Killzone 3 is the best entry in Sony's sci-fi shooter franchise. With controls that feel much more fluid, a story that might not be perfect but engaging and entertaining enough and graphics that blow your mind, every shooter fan who owns a PS3 must own this game. If you liked K2, you will like K3. If you liked K2 but hated the controls, you will like K3. If you hated the K2, then go play Little fucking Big Planet you pussy (i hate that game sorry). Seriously, K3 is a big improvement over its predecessor and while its not a perfect game, it's one of the best in the PS3 library and also one of the best shooters out there.
Truly the best Killzone experience to date.


Final Verdict: 8 out of 10

Status: Great for Fans!

 

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