Game Rant’s Anthony Taormina reviews Killzone 3
Touted as one of the first titles to really push the PS3, Killzone 2 had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, developer Guerrilla Games spent too much time focusing on the visuals and, for many gamers, not enough time dialing in the controls. Thankfully, the game sold well enough to earn Guerrilla a chance to correct those mistakes and bring fans Killzone 3.
While going hands-on with the beta of Killzone 3 did show improvements, it wasn’t a complete picture and did not give any clues as to how the single player campaign would play out. With a lot at stake, did Guerrilla get so wrapped up in trying to correct the issues of Killzone 2 that they forgot what made the series exciting in the first place – or did they succeed in offering PS3 gamers a first rate FPS? Read on to find out.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of it all — what is good and what is bad about Killzone 3 — it’s best to preface this review by stating that Killzone 3 will work incredibly for some people and will fall flat for others. The game wants nothing more than to be a high octane ride from beginning to end, and the designers at Guerrilla clearly hoped to capture a slice of the gaming populace who are looking for an alternative to the tremendous number of cookie cutter FPS games out there. Most gamers will find something to gripe about, but looking past those issues or enjoying the game despite its problems doesn’t mean that those issues are irrelevant, it just means that Killzone 3 does score high in one category: entertainment.
The levels and character designs are stunning but, beyond the stellar graphics, Killzone 3 is a game that plays out in moments rather than as one complete experience. Instead of a journey that is marked by exhilarating set pieces, the set pieces serve as a series of exciting bullet points in less than-perfect journey.
As they progress through the campaign, players will struggle to find a satisfying pacing in the game. Although this means rarely being bored by the first person shooter repetition gamers know so well, Killzone 3 develops a system that consists of about ten minutes of gameplay, followed by a cutscene, followed by ten more minutes of gameplay – which thrusts the player into a completely different scenario. The variety is good, but flow and immersion are sacrificed.
Each level, or each section for that matter, requires the player to complete a new task either by way of traditional first person shooter mechanics or by way of a fresh-take – via an equipment mission. These are some of the best moments of Killzone 3 and it’s unfortunate how so few of those equipment sections are available to play through.
Take for example the jetpack mission that Guerrilla Games and Sony have been showing off during the trailer (and demo) – it is only utilized for one section of a mission. While that sequence is thrilling and breaks up the monotony of taking down squads of Helghast, it would have been nice to revisit the jetpack a few more times (aside from the few instances where jetpacks are waiting in weapon caches for players to utilize – should they choose to).
This is however, a gripe that not everyone will have. The player will constantly be thrust into fresh and engaging situations at every turn. While most of them aren’t new twists for the first person shooter genre, they are executed well and, for the most part, easy to get the hang of.
On top of providing non-stop action (for better or worse), Killzone 3 is a solid first person shooter experience, that maintains its own unique place in the genre. The controls take some getting used to, especially when aiming and taking cover, but once the player hones in on the controls the game plays very well. Even the monotony of the standard first person shooter segments are broken up to include differing enemies and settings.
At the end of the day, if you were of the mindset that Killzone 2 lacked variety — which even Guerrilla was quick to admit — then there is no room to complain about Killzone 3. Yes, in trying to please gamers who were disappointed with the second game, they have created a game that is awkwardly paced and disjointed, but overall the single player experience offered is the best of the three Killzone games both in combat and variety.
Killzone 2’s multiplayer component received the bulk of complaints aimed at the game. While the single player campaign was manageable, despite imprecise controller response, players weren’t as patient when it came to the online offerings – causing major frustration. The multiplayer of Killzone 3 carries the same facade as its predecessor, only with significant tweaks to the controls. Like the second game, Killzone 3 tries to set itself apart from the Halos and Call of Dutys of the world by instituting a career progression that is customizable to various play styles.
Each career, from the always helpful Engineer to the aggressive Infiltrator, will appeal to at least one type of gamer. However, not every gamer will want to participate in the multiplayer. Already feeling a bit unbalanced, with higher ranked players vastly overpowered and a paltry map offering, Killzone 3’s multiplayer is going to need a little more than the fixes detailed in the day zero patch to keep gamers from getting frustrated and going back to their gold standard for multiplayer.
It boasts standard deathmatch and two objective-based modes, surely enough to earn respect as a non-afterthought multiplayer offering, but it’s still hard to see the game having the longevity of its competition. For as long as the novelty lasts, gamers can hope to derive at least a couple more hours of entertainment out of a game with a 6-hour campaign.
Killzone 3 carries many of the trademarks introduced so long ago, especially the fantastic graphics, but where it once had the potential to be a Halo-killer, it is now a confused triple AAA game that struggles to find its footing. It’s engaging from beginning to end, and many gamers will find nothing wrong with its single player or with its multiplayer. Only when the product is examined a bit deeper will gamers realize that the third title in a console exclusive series should be much more polished and progressive than this.
Speaking as someone who enjoyed Killzone 2, despite all of its flaws, and who had a ton of fun testing out the careers in multiplayer, it is kind of a disappointment to see Killzone evolve into a game series where each new iteration primarily exists to fix the problems of its predecessor. Still, most gamers will find themselves intrigued by Killzone 3, despite obvious flaws, making it a game that is, at the very least, worth playing.
It’s fun while it lasts, and the multiplayer has its appeal, but Killzone 3 proves that the promising series still hasn’t found its stride.
Killzone 3 is available now exclusively for the PlayStation 3.