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Submitted by Andy Alderson on February 25 2011 - 16:30

TVG finds out whether bigger really does equal better in Guerrilla's latest Killzone instalment...

Following the rather swanky, if very predictable, in medias res intro to Killzone 3 (that's when a story starts in the middle, by the way), the first burst of gameplay is pleasingly familiar, at least to the Killzone fan. Bombs drop, guns fire, people shout and you cower behind a tiny piece of cover wondering if the reason why the Helghan's have such a foul temper is that their planet is a hovel. This is Guerrilla's take on the FPS formula - there's no charging past the frontline to trigger a checkpoint in Killzone. Reprising the role of Sergeant Thomas 'Sev' Sevchenko in the ISA/Helghast conflict you have to earn your ground, inch by inch, bullet by bullet. It's why the single-player campaign in Killzone 2 served as a nice counterpoint to the hi-octane FPS competition. It was gritty, difficult, and at times frustrating. That was Killzone's thing. And I quite liked it.

And so, when the first details of the sequel emerged, I met them with cynicism (and a fair degree of disdain). Jetpacks, you say? Vehicles? Mechs? No sir. But it's clear that there was some perception from developer Guerrilla that something had to change with Killzone 3. Regardless of what inspired the change - the sales figures, or sideway glances at the competition - the question is whether the game has evolved beyond its core gameplay. The answer, Killzone 2 fans will be glad to hear, is 'no'. But, it's a pretty close-run thing.  

At some point during the development phase, Guerrilla clearly decided to throw some more ingredients into the Killzone pot - as such there are now jetpacks, vehicles, mechs, space battles, stealth and - wait for it - turret sections. The results, it turns out, are mixed. The vehicle sections are far less tedious than they had the potential to be, offering the player varying degrees of control, and are often accompanied by some pretty spectacular cut-scenes. It's also hard not to get a little Star Wars-giddy in the space-based sections later in the game. The stealth and jet-pack gameplay fare less well, however with the former being unintentionally laughable (as you sneak through shin-high grass, apparently invisible to the enemy) and the latter offering little more than an extended jump time.

'Bigger is better' seems to be the philosophy at work in Killzone 3 and so the tight, intense shooting gameplay that earned Killzone 2 its plaudits arguably takes a back seat to big set-pieces, big cut-scenes and, yes, big bosses. Big bosses with huge glowing weak spots in surprisingly accessible areas, as is the custom. While some die-hard Killzone 2 fans may scoff at the prospect, they should know that it does come with an upside. With the big set-piece comes a more impressive calibre of backdrop. Not hugely attractive backdrops, admittedly, but more impressive nonetheless.

Yes, it seems Guerrilla has made some new additions to the kaleidoscope of grey/brown that was the rather uninspiring Killzone colour-palette. Now you'll see a bit of white in a wintry Helghan coastal base, some reds and yellows in a jungle section but the easiest on the eye is probably the space-based action later in the game. It's still pretty grey. Just a bit shinier. With new environments come some new enemies too, which again, prove to be a mixed bag. They range from the completely rubbish Helghan spider (ooh, crawling things) to the actually-quite-cool Capture Troop who charges towards you with the intention of skewering you with a big spike and dragging you away for fun times later. Pleasingly, there are also some pretty tasty new weapons to play with too, some of which pack an artillery-sized punch like the excellent WASP launcher. The Helghan weapons tend to be better (which feeds nicely into their back story) and come courtesy of the Higs' weasely weapons developer, Stahl who plays a major role in the single-player storyline. A storyline which, thankfully, marks an improvement on its predecessor.

After Guerrilla crafted a detailed and fairly complex back story for its Killzone 2 universe, it then decided to stick it on the official website instead of in the game. As a result, Killzone 2's narrative was clichéd, simplistic, devoid of any likeable characters and offered little in the way of context to the action. So how does Killzone 3 fare? Well, it's clichéd, simplistic and devoid of any likeable characters. But, it's better. Much better, in fact, than the last game and, even though it's massively clunky and clings tightly to tired storytelling conventions, it's quite entertaining. And it's largely thanks to some decent voice acting and a solid central theme which, in this case, is dissension in the ranks.

It seems both sides of the conflict, the ISA and the Helghast, are struggling to maintain a united front. On the Helghan side, the death of Visari at the end of the second game has left a power vacuum in Helghan society. And so Malcolm McDowell's Machiavellian Stahl competes with Ray Winstone's gruff traditionalist Orlock for control of their military endeavours. Running parallel on the ISA side is a conflict between everyone's least-favourite, belligerent, shoot-first-do-something-equally-stupid-later knucklehead Rico and his superior Captain Narville. They don't like each other because, as we know, Rico and Sev are loose cannons who don't play by the rules. But, boy do they get results. Do you think they'll all earn a grudging respect for each other by the end of the game? So yes, the story may not be built on original ideas but it keeps the action chugging along nicely. However, although it's a definite improvement, it doesn't go far enough and that's mostly because it focuses too much time on the ISA when, if we're being honest, it's those lovable Mockney Helghans we're interested in. Killzone 2 hinted at an underlying moral ambiguity that wasn't expanded upon and it's pretty much the same story in Killzone 3. Higs are bad, 'mkay?

But, if Guerrilla is guilty of neglecting some areas of the game (the glitchy, inconsistent cover system, for one), the developer deserves credit for polishing others to near-perfection. Its multiplayer for instance, retains its slick, varied appeal and also adds a new flexible unlock/progression system and some decent new game modes. The objective-based Operations mode is the standout, with two teams competing in a self-contained multiplayer storyline complete with cut-scenes.   

Guerrilla's decision to implement Move controls should also be applauded. While the motion control system is initially daunting and, if you play your shooters on a pad, utterly unnatural, it just requires some perseverance. Guerrilla has been kind enough to add a decent level of customisation to the control settings and, once you fiddle about with the dead zones and sensitivity, you'll eventually find something that feels about right. For this reviewer, it won't change the way shooters are played, but it's a nice option to have and it's good to see mainstream AAA titles experimenting with Move.

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  • Graphics: 95%
     
  • Sound: 90%
     
  • Gameplay: 83%
     
  • Originality: 70%
     
  • Longevity: 80%
     
Overall Score: 8/10
Killzone 3, like its predecessor, is in no danger of pushing any boundaries (despite the inclusion of Move and 3D support). Indeed, it feels very much like a game which has been created with a good knowledge of the competition and at times it threatens to lose its identity. However, there's just about enough top-notch shooting action in the single-player game to keep the franchise fans happy while the multiplayer genuinely feels like a step forward for the series. It's still Killzone, folks. Just about.

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User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 24th Feb 2011 15:36, Post No: 21

Been playing this since yesterday (in the UK) until I completed the campaign which is 6hrs on the hardest setting that is unlocked from the start (an 'impossible' type difficulty is unlocked on completion of the game) and it's not that great. Not nearly as good as Killzone 2, though I can't compare to Killzone 1 because I never played it. The random bits in it like the jet-pack etc. are great, though they're never used them for more than one scene so they just feel like random bits that were somehow added as an afterthought. All together, the game felt like a 'jack-of-all-trades but master of none' to me, which is a huge shame.

 

Sure I'll get lots of thumbs downs for that but that's my honest opinion on the game.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 22nd Feb 2011 22:09, Post No: 20

Just came out in the states. I'm thinking of getting it. This game is number 1 on the amazon best sellers list, and seems to be getting good reviews. If anyone has played it please tell me if I should buy it.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 17th Jan 2011 09:25, Post No: 19

@ post 18, is there realy any need to act like that a simple get back on topic is all thats needed please leave the fanboy argument with the fanboys, eventually thell get board and troll some other thread or some other site.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 17th Jan 2011 03:02, Post No: 18

Post 16, You sound butthurt. You seem to know a lot about these PS3 exlusives, you probably keep looking at videos for them because you want them so bad.
 
GUYS, THIS IS ABOUT KILLZONE 3. XBOX FAGS GET OFF AND GO TALK ABOUT SOME XBOX [#@!?]. PC KIDS GET OFF AND GO TALK ABOUT SOME PC [#@!?].


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 15th Jan 2011 17:16, Post No: 17

Just watched the story trailer EPIC.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 13th Jan 2011 22:35, Post No: 16

sorry d*** head but i play on games for windows live on my pc lol apart from the fact i can get nvidia's 3D visioin glasses and play games in 3D much better than the crappy ps3 can, and carry on dreming about GT5 having more content lol i wouldnt go saying more content which basicly consists of 200 skylines, 200, rx-7's and 200 civics, basicly 600 variations of the same fu****g cars plus a few additional features like rally stages, F1 races, day/night and weather effects (that look completly crap).

 

have fun playing DC online oh but you have to pay how much per month £9.99 for 30 days, £27.99 for 90 days or £49.99 for 180 days lmfao XBL only costs £39.99 for 365 days and that accross multiple games not just 1 like DC online. GTFO why are you talking about xbox live when its not even on topic oh and the reason why you got such a high rank is cause no one played killzone2 online only sad retarded morons like you did.

 

again why do sony need any more money DC online should be free just like PSN is apart from the crap PS plus service oh and i guess you thought everyone had forgotten about that diddnt you, lol you really are a completely retarded moron, stupid ps3 failboy.

 

LAST PLACE 4 LIFE MUHAHAHAHA EAT IT.


By: Jeremy Dennington

Added:Thu 13th Jan 2011 13:22, Post No: 15

why are you even here, you are talking about forza 3 for some reason. That game is for another system entirely. Go back to your crappy xbox live and pay to play more games online(sorry i have an internet service provider, i wont be giving microsoft more money they dont need). We are here to talk about how killzone 3 is going to be a fantastic 3d game. I am hopeing they have a new controls team, killzone 2's controls just didnt feel right, thats with saying i got to the highest rank online with the crap controls they did have.


User avatar
By: Ende Keralam

Added:Thu 06th Jan 2011 15:57, Post No: 14

Articles and content in this section of the website are really amazing. Visit endekeralam dot com (send gifts, flowers & cakes to kerala)

 


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 06th Jan 2011 14:45, Post No: 13

HAHAHA.

no lasting appeal?  it has more content than any console game ever made you moron.  i've been playing for about 4 hours, every day, for a month, and i've got 64% of the game completed.  no lasting appeal.  lol.

 

ever heard of jeremy clarkson?  whether you like the guy or not, he's driven pretty much most cars (worth driving) in the world.  his take on gran turismo?  he says the only difference between driving GT and real life, is the fact you wont die if you hit a wall at 150mph in the game which means you'll be 'braver' and therefore get quicker lap times than you would in real life.  other than that, it's exactly the same.

 

but you crack on with forza, it's a good game no doubt, but to say it's a better driving sim than gt5 without laughing proves you're nothing other than a bill gates bummer.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 06th Jan 2011 10:40, Post No: 12

lol if you dont like what i have to say then tough sh** deal with it, you retarded ps3 fanboys are really sad "my life is over thanks to GT5" lol GT5 sucks and has no lasting appeal not to mention the crap unrealistic physics and dodgy graphics no wonder it diddnt score as high as forza 3, lol just goes to show GT5 isnt as good as forza 3, i cant wait to see forza 4 completly annihilate GT5/6 and just show all you butt hurt fanboys how it should be done.


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