Killzone 3 PlayStation 3
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Guerrilla
Whilst the original Killzone was a disappointment, Killzone 2 was the complete opposite. The single-player game and the provision for deaf gamers could have been better but there's no denying the game was (and still is) one of best the multiplayer experiences you can have on the PlayStation 3. Given how much better the sequel was then, it was always going to be a question of if Guerrilla could make Killzone 3 better by improving upon the few deficiencies that Killzone 2 had.
In the single-player campaign you'll find yourself once again in the shoes of Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko as he and his comrades tackle the seemingly unending hordes of red-eyed Helghast. There's not a lot of enjoyable storyline here so I won't go into any detail but suffice to say it's the action you'll appreciate and not the quality of the script. For a game whose weakest aspect is its storyline however, it's a real shame that there are too many cut scenes breaking up the flow of the action in the single-player campaign. If that's not enough there are times when the action just seems to jump from one thing to another in a rather incoherent fashion. A better storyline would have been appreciated and have helped to give more structure to the flow of the game.
Fortunately, the action in Killzone 3 is enjoyable. The game offers four difficulty settings (Elite is only unlocked on completing the game on one of the easier difficulty settings however) which should suit most abilities. There is a good assortment of locations in the campaign and this adds a welcome variety to the action. It’s the quality of the enemy AI which really makes for an exciting experience however. The AI makes a good use of cover and rarely makes it easy for you to pick them off which is certainly refreshing. The weapons feel better in Killzone 3, as do the controls and on the whole the action just feels tighter and more compelling.
Killzone 3 allows supports both the use of a 3D TV and the PlayStation Move controller. I don't have access to a 3D TV so I can't comment on what that adds to the experience, but playing the game with the PlayStation Move definitely improved the experience for me. I found aiming much easier and as such felt much more comfortable taking out a larger number of enemies. For the most part, using the Move controller felt intuitive. There are a few gestures you have to do (flicking the controller upwards to reload for instance) and most of these felt natural. For FPS fans Killzone 3 is the best reason yet for owning the Move controller.
Multiplayer is where Killzone 3 really shines. The campaign can be played co-operatively but it's limited to local multiplayer only. If you can find a friend to accompany you, you will really appreciate this inclusion. However, you have to wonder why the option to play a co-op campaign online hasn't been included. It's also disappointing that the PlayStation Move controller isn't supported in split-screen mode. Online play is very impressive in Killzone 3 but it's not wildly different from what you've experienced in Killzone 2. There are three modes to play online. Guerrilla Warfare sees factions square off against each other with the winner being the one who reaches the pre-set body count first or who earns the most kills within the time limit. Warzone, as in Killzone 2, sees you playing through a series of randomised game types to make for a different experience every time. It's just as enjoyable here as it was in Killzone 2. In Operations the ISA and the Helghast battle for control of specific objectives. The classes are all unlocked from the beginning this time around however. You'll also get to buy better gear with the points you earn from levelling-up. The game also provides a Botzone mode where you can practice against the AI and given the quality of the AI this is a worthwhile method of practicing for playing human opposition. The multiplayer experience is very impressive and the quality of the maps on offer is high.
Graphically speaking Killzone 3 is pretty much on a par with Killzone 2. The big disappointment has to be the portrayal of the Helghast leaders as caricatures of the Nazis. This lack of imagination is something you'd expect from a low budget title and not a blockbuster such as Killzone 3. Overall however, the game is another graphical showpiece for the PlayStation 3. The various environments, most of the character models, animations and lighting effects all look very good and the game does a good job of making you feel as though you're in a long drawn out war with its destroyed, war-ravaged locations. There are a few bland textures here and there and the frame rate doesn't always remain as smooth as you'd hope for (when playing split-screen) but for the most part it's a visually impressive game.
The subtitles in Killzone 3 are not enabled by default. The intro movie is not subtitled as a result when you first time play the game (when you next load the game it will be subtitled however). Most of the cut scene dialogue is subtitled as is the in-game dialogue but no unfortunately there are no character portraits or names to accompany the dialogue in the cut scenes. Thankfully it's always clear to see who is saying what during the main game. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time. You can press the 'up' directional button to show the general direction of your next objective, which prevents you from getting disorientated. Tutorial messages are shown in text. Icons notify you when a checkpoint has been reached. Some peripheral dialogue isn't subtitled. None of the omissions are essential, although it would have been appreciated if the moments when your comrades revive you had been subtitled. Hearing gamers will hear when your comrades say that they are unable to save you (resulting in a return to the last checkpoint) but deaf gamers will have no visual notification of this. Disappointingly there are times when the subtitles are a little different from the speech and there is some speech that just isn't subtitled during the cut scenes which is a little disappointing even if what's omitted is not anything important.
Killzone 3 is a sequel that fans of the previous games will appreciate but in truth there's very little here that has moved the series forward and that's a little disappointing. As a multiplayer experience it's excellent and well worth the asking price alone, even if it's not dramatically different from the multiplayer experience in the previous game. It's just a shame that online co-operative play isn't supported. The single-player experience does have some memorable moments, and the good enemy AI helps to keep it challenging, but it's not helped by having a storyline that’s just not that interesting. In short, as long as you intend to make the most of the multiplayer experience, Killzone 3 is an essential purchase.