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Denny Markovic
25 Feb, 2011

Killzone 3 Review

PS3 Review | It's definitely not a 4 out of 10.
Guerrilla are a company with one hell of a history when it comes to flames, tears and praise from the gaming masses. The original hype behind the Netherlands based company came from their first big PlayStation exclusive, Killzone, which by a few outlets was falsely touted to be a ‘Halo Killer’. While the game was pretty great, it still had a long way to go and Guerrilla’s inexperience showed a fair bit; it was obvious they were somewhat unfairly thrown into the deep end by the media. Still, there was potential, and soon after the release of Killzone the infamous Killzone 2 pre-rendered teaser appeared at Sony’s 2005 E3 Conference – and then the hype train started again. This time around however the hype was overcome and Guerrilla earned their badges with the release of Killzone 2 in 2009, a game that not only came freakishly close to the visual fidelity of the pre-rendered trailer, but was also a vicious and highly polished shooter with a unique feel. Now it’s 2011 and Guerrilla has unleashed their third FPS title in the series, Killzone 3, and not only has Guerrilla very carefully listened to their fans outcries and criticisms, but have managed to really show off their once untapped talent with an outstanding shooter.

To start off, the single player portion of Killzone 3 has been upped in both scale and fluidity as opposed to Killzone 2, and proves to be a far more consistent and progressive campaign than the previous game's claustrophobic feel. The game picks up directly after the events of Killzone 2 – Visari is dead and the war torn Helghast are absolutely pissed off at this, unveiling a far bigger and more potent force than the ISA could have imagined. From here on the ISA are ordered to evacuate the planet as they are outgunned and outnumbered by a large margin and are constantly on the run from the relentless Helghan soldiers. Once again you’re put into the shoes of Sergeant Sev Sevchenko who actually speaks a little more this time (but that doesn’t make him much more relatable), and is accompanied by anger-inducing Rico Velasquez. The plot is fairly light, much like that of Killzone 2, but much better in execution this time around, with good interlinking to the single player gameplay and the story being well-paced overall. It won’t win any awards for being super well-written, but it does its job well for the most part apart from the ending, which while leaving this blatantly open for a potential sequel, also felt a little rushed.

The most interesting aspect behind the story though is the characterisation which is absolutely superb due to two characters; Jorhan Stahl and Admiral Orlock. Voiced by Malcolm Mcdowell and Ray Winstone respectively, both Helghan officials play their part out in the story through a seething rivalry over who will take Visari’s place as the new Autarch. Both characters are superbly played out and animated, particularly Stahl who is not only scheming but borderline insane, and certainly make the story much more interesting with their personalities.

Abort!

Abort!
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Gameplay wise, Killzone 3 has remained largely the same as its predecessor, with standard cover and fire gameplay that is intense, gritty and brutal in its execution, but now with a couple of new features and improvements. The first and most notable improvement that Killzone 3 has is its controls, which have all but removed the infamous ‘heavy’ feel that Killzone 2 had. This was a debate that split gamers, where some really enjoyed the heavy feel while others absolutely hated it. Guerrilla have managed to tune it to a level that will appease both the lovers and haters however, with a much tighter and more responsive control scheme that still retains the heavy feel that made Killzone 2 unique in its gunplay. Players can now also carry three weapons instead of two, one being a ‘heavy’ weapon, and although initially this might seem like a step back to Killzone’s hyper realistic feel, it ends up being far better for the gameplay as it allows for more options. Apart from these two additions, Guerrilla have also added sliding cover mechanics which allow you to ‘slide’ into cover while you sprint, further increasing the speed and intensity of the gameplay in the single player portion.

Last but not least however (and our personal favourite) is the addition of brutal melee kills, which was originally a feature in the very first Killzone albeit with nowhere near as much polish as this. When close to an enemy, the player when prompted for the melee button can initiate a quick and brutal melee sequence that usually involves kicking a Helghast soldier in the face and shattering their goggles by gouging their eyes out with their thumbs or other similarly brutal kills. It’s much like that of a quick time event but unobtrusive and extraordinarily well-animated, with kills leaving you satisfied and ready to initiate another sequence of gory death upon a Helghan soldier. It’s a feature that adds a surprising amount of ferocity into the game and never really gets old to do.

All this, along with better level design and pacing come together to create a Single Player experience that is high class and very polished. Guerrilla has also added in a co-op mode to it so you can play through the campaign with a friend, although this feels a little rushed overall and feels like Guerrilla has simply thrown it in because so many people complained about it not being present in Killzone 2. The single player experience can be a little more linear in its feel as opposed to Killzone 2, with a lot of on-rails sections and forced sequences thrown at you which can sometimes make it feel like a bit more of a tour guide rather than an intense shooting experience, but with that said this can be quickly debunked when playing on the Veteran difficulty setting, which we’d highly recommend over the others as not only does it punish you and force you to use the game mechanics effectively, but also shows off the games enemy AI which is borderline ridiculous in how effective they are.

Lightning piss.

Lightning piss.
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Killzone 3’s replayability comes in its Multiplayer component, which has seen a multitude of improvements over the second games component, albeit at a smaller scale. Yes, Killzone 3’s multiplayer has less chaos, and this may be disappointing to some who enjoyed the mass destruction of 32 player Warzone in Killzone 2, but for the most part it ends up being a much more efficient and consistent experience this time round. Many of the original classes from Killzone 2 such as the Assault class have either been removed or refined, and in turn it has ended up making the experience much more balanced in its feel. Skillsets and abilities of each class are still present, such as the Engineers repair tool and sentry bots, and these skill sets can now be levelled up to become stronger over time. As an example, the Infiltrators disguise ability through upgrades becomes increasingly more useful in certain situations, with the max level allowing you to brutal melee people without losing your disguise. This is all unlocked through career unlock points which are earned through playing games and levelling up, so players will be gaming for a while before they max out absolutely everything.

Two new game modes have also been added into Killzone 3, those being Guerrilla Warfare and Operations Mode. Guerrilla Warfare is pretty much Team Deathmatch and allows for quick matches to be had, which was an issue with Killzone 2’s Warfare only mode where matches could last up to 45 minutes. Then there is Operations Mode which is sure to have some followers as it’s essentially identical to Unreal Tournament’s Assault Mode, where one team defends objectives and the other team tries to complete them. This mode is accompanied by short in-game cut scenes that show your own character in them too, so it certainly feels like a co-op mission mode and is a good deal of fast-paced fun. Overall Killzone 3’s multiplayer aspect is easily its strongest point, with a very good, highly addictive levelling system in place and several different ways to play the game which also feels quite well balanced. Oh and did we mention they added in vehicles and jetpacks this time around?

On a presentation note, Killzone 3 is absolutely incredible. Guerrilla has listened very carefully to the criticisms of Killzone 2 and blended art and tech together in such a way that it is a rarity among games to have such synergy. Colours are both vivid and varied, appropriate in their use and unobtrusive to the eye. Animation is phenomenal in execution, with excellent blending between motion captured technology and hand animated movement. Lighting is beautifully utilised with rays splitting through leaves in deep jungles and explosions lighting up rooms by bouncing off the walls. We can probably type up an essay describing the magnitude of effects in use in Killzone 3, but simply put Guerrilla has managed to make a console game that outclasses most PC games currently released with an engine that defies possibilities on the PS3 platform and blends together with art assets freakishly well. This isn’t just the best looking game on console, it’s one of the best looking games, period. The only minor issue is some lip synching is a bit off at points, but it’s a very minor criticism of an immaculate looking game.

Flame piss.

Flame piss.
Close
Sound wise as well Guerrilla has done a superb job, with well voiced characters (albeit with cheesy dialogue from the ISA side anyway), meaty sound effects and once again a heart pumping soundtrack from award winning composer Joris De Man. There is a strange issue at points however where the streaming technology in use tends to fall on its knees, with looping sound effects and audio cues sometimes kicking in at random intervals. It’s not exactly a common issue, but when it happens it’s noticeable and annoying, kicking you out of the immersion factor temporarily. Overall though the audio aspect delivers, and will treat most audiophiles with respect.

Killzone 3 is a testament to developers that actively listen to their fans and deliver what they want. Everything in the game is designed around what the fans wanted and the game is all the more better for it. The single player portion is excellent albeit light in plot, with a thrilling 7-10 hour ride with enormous set pieces that look spectacular. Then there’s the multiplayer aspect which although it lacks the chaotic nature of Killzone 2, delivers a more refined and tightly designed Multiplayer experience that is overall more accessible. Guerrilla finally show off their potential as developers after many years, with a superbly crafted First Person Shooter that will burn your eyes out with its visual fidelity. Highly recommended.
The Score
Killzone 3 is a sequel that improves upon its predecessor in just about every way, and is a visually astonishing spectacle to look at. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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22 Comments
3 years ago
Top review Denny, I'm sold.
3 years ago
^Cheers! If you do grab it soon feel free to message me for some MP games.
3 years ago
Having never played a killzone game before, I picked up a copy after reading this (then watching a few videos on utube). Leveling system sounds cool. Hope this is better than black ops. I tire of that game...
3 years ago
wow, I'm quite keen to jump on the Killzone wagon now
3 years ago
Great review, there have been a few reviewers that have raged on the game for no reason other than it being a hyped exclusive. The demo was enough to show that Guerrilla had improved on the very good (but not great) Killzone 2. Can't wait to pick up the sharpshooter too as the Move handled impressively in the demo.
3 years ago
Don't suppose you tested the 3D mode to add to the review?

Would like to hear if it's noticeably downgraded like Motorstorm, Black Ops etc when in 3D.
3 years ago
Played through the whole thing in 3D actually.

It's very good, and has very little loss in detail, if any at all. There's a bit of crosstalk but overall if you have the 3D capability, it's WELL worth playing it in that mode.
3 years ago
Have you tested the move controls? I have read that it's nice but inferior to the standard controller. Is it more immersive though and how does it combine with the 3D?
3 years ago
Move controls are pretty good, albeit an acquired taste. I do in the end prefer the normal DS3 as it is more precise in its movement, but Move is a good deal of fun once you get the calibration of it right.

Combined with 3D it's pretty awesome too.
3 years ago
I was stuck choosing between Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm yesterday. Ultimately I went for Bulletstorm (I'm not a big fan of competitive multiplayer so I felt I might be missing large portion of the game) but I will definitely pick this up. The graphics whore in me is definitely a fan of Guerrila Games' works so if not just for that I'd get the game.

This review seems to fine with such a choice (or at least doesn't mention it as a negative) but it is interesting to note that several reviews have pointed out that Guerilla Games have aimed more for a blockbuster feeling more associated with other AAA FPS games thus removing the visceral feeling of combat and the story (where one really felt like a soldier in warfare) as was found in Killzone 2. Would you agree with that conclusion, Denny? To me it isn't a big issue but does Killzone 3 keep a uniqueness in its presentation?
3 years ago
What's the 4 out of 10 referal?
3 years ago
Aug: I think the criticism that Killzone 3 takes a more blockbuster approach is a very hypocritical one, as half of the reason behind the inclusion of more on-rails sequences and thrilling triggered events is because of peoples complaints from the second game.

So no I don't actually agree with criticising the game for going for a more scripted approach, as it does the job VERY well, and much better than most shooters out there. The game is far more reminiscient of Killzone 1 in its execution and feel, so it definitely retains the unique atmosphere that drenched the series from the start. With that said though it still manages to have the Killzone 2 vibe, so the hybridisation of the two games is awesome, especially for a fan of the series.

I actually found it surprising really that people were happy to point out the supposed flaw that the game goes for a more blockbuster approach, because realistically, if the game does its job of being exceptionally well executed and still retain its unique atmosphere, what's the problem? I did mention that the game can feel like a tour guide at points which is certainly apparent in many sections with vehicles and such, but the overall presentation, pacing and most of all its core gunplay mechanics are so well done that rarely will you sit back and go "man this is too scripted."

I really don't get the criticism honestly. With that said though I've been playing Killzone since day 1 of the very first game, so I'm well aware of the franchises history and progression to what it is today, and to me it's only a natural progression to what the team at Guerrilla had envisioned in the first place.

Wow, I typed a lot for that response.

Leon: It's an in-joke with Jarrod over some facebook posts haha. There was a challenge involving rating games 4 out of 10, and riding missiles into the Earth.

Long story.
3 years ago
LeonJ wrote
What's the 4 out of 10 referal?
Surely it's in reference to my timeless, and controversial, EyePet review.
3 years ago
Thanks for the mention relating to the 'heavy' controls - very very pleased it has changed a little from KZ2!
3 years ago
^^ same! I really struggled with the controls on KZ2. Frustration won and I gave up not too far into it.

Great review. Hope I can adapt to the controls better in this one. And maybe even give it a burl with the move as well.
3 years ago
Awesome review, I'll be getting it later today. See y'all online. icon_biggrin.gif
3 years ago
Couldn't get into Killzone 2.

Is the story etc required in order to play this?
3 years ago
adam_91vn wrote
Is the story etc required in order to play this?
Nah

Honestly the campaign is still pretty forgettable: Helghsat plan to kill everyone; Sev and co save the day; The End.

I did just put about 5-6 hours into it straight though and I'm still going. It's fun, but it's not really mind blowingly good. I'm expecting the multi to be excellent though =)
3 years ago
Denny wrote
Leon: It's an in-joke with Jarrod over some facebook posts haha. There was a challenge involving rating games 4 out of 10, and riding missiles into the Earth.
You pussied out, but I've still got Zelda in my sights.

There will be tears.
3 years ago
Any one who complains at all about Killzone 2 or Killzone 3, should stick to playing FIFA and Call of Duty.
3 years ago
Hey Denny killzone 2 came out in 09 not 08. Overall good review going to give 3d another crack today.
3 years ago
What's wrong with FIFA?
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  15/11/2010 (PreLoaded)
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2010
Players:
  1

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