Killzone-3---Single-Player-Review Killzone 3 - Single Player Review

   17/02/2011 at 13:57       Phil May       6 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - Killzone 3, Guerrilla Games, Sony, Playstation 3, Move, 3D

Sony is rolling out sequels to a huge number of its big exclusive IPs in 2011. We’ve already seen LittleBigPlanet 2, and following hot on its heels is Killzone 3.

For me, the Killzone series has always systematically failed to provide enough innovation, anything resembling a compelling plot, or for that matter anything that would lead me to believe that the Playstation 3 hardware was pushed to the limit, as developers Guerrilla Games would have us believe.

Killzone 3 picks up directly after the end of Killzone 2 with a fairly slim scene-setting sequence, and a short tutorial to introduce new players to the controls and characters.

The developers have thoughtfully included plenty of control customisation options, and also full Move and 3D support to tick all the right “Sony” boxes for its exclusive games.

First off, Move works well. Very well in fact, although it’s the first time I’ve felt a burning desire to pick up Sony’s ‘Nunchuk’ controller as a useful side-arm. You can progress fairly well just using a Sixaxis controller and the Move wand, but it’s a bit uncomfortable and clunky to do so. That said, you’re going to be in a fair amount of discomfort using Move as your chosen control method anyway – have any of you tried holding your arm out towards a TV screen (even while sitting) for any length of time?

Move is pinpoint accurate. If you’ve ever played FPS or action games on the Wii, you’ll probably remember that aiming with any semblance of accuracy was a hit and miss affair. With a properly calibrated Move controller, picking the Helghast off with a shot between their buggy red eyes is as easy as pointing and clicking. If Sony ever required a working example of why a physical controller with buttons is a better motion controller than flailing your hands around in mid air, this game certainly provides it.

The good thing about using Move is that you can instantly swap between it and a more traditional pad mid-session, very handy when your arms start aching.

The game itself once again pits the massed armies of the Intergalactic Strategy Alliance against the nefarious militaristic Helghast. In disarray after the death of their Dictator, the Helgahst seem to spend as much of the game fighting amongst themselves as they do throwing their might against the ISA.

Once again the ghost of those target renders comes back to haunt the game. With the third installation in the series, you’d expect the graphics to move a little closer to that fantastically over-ambitious piece of CGI. If anything, the game looks even more antiquated and quaint than Killzone 2 did. Ropey character models, awful textures and creepy videogame eyes dog the in-game-engine cutscenes just like they did in the previous offering. To add insult to injury you’d swear the Helghan empire had been taken over by the cast of Eastenders as everyone seems to have adopted a comedy cockney accent (I blame Ray Winstone’s involvement).

The cut scenes and plot advances feel doubly shoddy when you consider that most of the scenic detail, excellent Helghast enemy design and vehicle models and weapon detailing are very well done indeed (perhaps Guerrilla Games could’ve spent a few more quid completely CGI-ing the cutscenes as they really do jar when they flip in during heated action sequences).

In 3D, the game lurches between throwing as many particle effects as possible into virtually every scene, even indoor ones. The few instances where 3D work well are during close-quarters combat (when a leaping Helghast can make you jump back from the TV a fair bit) and a few sequences where characters are riding shotgun in the game’s vehicles. Largely though it’s just a case of crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, and there’s certainly no mileage in buying a huge and expensive 3D TV for games that still don’t make good use of the rather flaky tech. Killzone 3 in 3D is definitely not as crisp and a hell of a lot more distracting than in 1080p 2D.

The single player campaign is relentless, barely pausing between cutscenes to let the player draw breath. New scenic goodies offer up the usual FPS staples like a snowy arctic landscape and a lush tropical jungle, but the bulk of the story takes place in Helghan’s shattered post-nuclear urban landscapes. The Helghast mix of gigantic steampunk-style warfaring technology really emphasises the plot point that they’re involved in a last desperate struggle to destroy the ISA by any means necessary. Without spoilers, Killzone 3 almost seems to want players to sympathise with the red-eyed jackbooted Helghast this time round.

On the whole, Killzone 3 won’t blow you away with any innovative or new kinks to the tried and tested FPS model. Aside from the nice implementation of Move (which is merely ‘nice’ rather than an essential way to play the game) and the throwaway inclusion of 3D, Killzone 3 feels like a game coasting on its previous merits and relying heavily on series fans to propagate its legendary status amongst PS3 veterans, rather than a series that begs the world to sit up and take notice. With Resistance 3 waiting in the wings, and a whole truckload of other FPS games arriving this year, it’s never going to bother anyone’s ‘game of the year’ list. It’s not abhorrent though, and will certainly be of massive appeal to anyone who thought Killzone 2 was a solid and enjoyable experience.

User Comments:

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peej - on 17/02/2011 at 15:11 wrote:
The world needs 3D added to gaming like it needs a hole in the head, and despite all the flurries of particle effects shoved into this to make your eyes go boggly, it really doesn't do the game any favours at all.

Let's hope Motorstorm: Apocalypse is better.

evilashchris - on 17/02/2011 at 15:32 wrote:
I haven't even played the second one yet :D

peej - on 17/02/2011 at 15:40 wrote:
You could skip straight to this one and you probably wouldn't notice much difference tbh.

Syrok - on 17/02/2011 at 20:15 wrote:
I have only played the demo of this and the previous iteration for a couple of minutes, but in my opinion the controls are worse in this one. It's all so twitchy and there so little weight to your movement.

Pretty lighting though.

nekotcha - on 17/02/2011 at 22:57 wrote:
I wouldn't hold out much hope for Resistance 3, I've got to say. Fan as I am of insomniac the previous titles in the series have always been of the same good-without-being-outstanding level as the kill zone series... Including this latest instalment, by the sounds of it. Good review.

peej - on 18/02/2011 at 09:11 wrote:
Neko, that's pretty much it in a nutshell with this. There's absolutely no imagination in the level design at all, even the one level where you get to do something slightly different from the norm. It's like someone's first college project at level design rather than something that genuinely taxes your grey matter and trigger finger. You sometimes start a new chapter in the single player campaign thinking that you've somehow missed something, as the transition between levels / chapters is often so jarring you'd think they'd cut stuff out for DLC.

The only reason I'm mildly excited about Resistance (apparently I didn't miss anything by not playing Resistance 2 at all) is that Insomniac really know what they're doing with the PS3 hardware, and also seem to be taking the series in a different direction to the previous 2 games with more of a feeling of scattered earth resistance movements than some huge organised army taking the enemy to task.

Back to Killzone 3 - though the focus of the review was largely the single player game, the time spent with the multiplayer and killbot levels also seems to show that Guerrilla could really use some imaginative community-driven levels in their games. Even the deathmatch maps feel completely knocked together.

A pity really because there are moments when the game is extremely pretty

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