Release Date: February 22, 2011
I’ve killed a vast quantity of Nazis in the past few years. Be it Medal of Honor or old school Wolfenstein, the swastika might as well be a bullseye to me. But how many British space Nazis have I slayed? A lot more, thanks to Killzone 3 for the Playstation 3.
The newest Killzone game continues the moment Killzone 2 left off. You, Sevchenko, are sitting on the steps of Emperor Visari’s vast palace mulling over what happened at the end of the previous installment. Visari was murdered in cold blood, the Helghasts are pissed, and Rico, your main squad mate, is the ISA’s scapegoat for some of the hate for pulling the trigger on Visari. The new objective is to pull out and stop brand new villain General Stahl from unleashing a whole new super weapon on Earth. You don’t want that.
While Killzone 2 had a story more to serve as a basis of “go here and shoot the red-eyes,” Killzone 3 tries to have a more grandiose story, as evidenced by the frequent cutscenes and it mostly succeeds. The story has twists and turns and a couple of the characters are more humanized, but it still has a summer blockbuster vibe to it. This isn’t bad, but don’t expect to wonder of a deeper meaning of the story during your workday. These cutscenes can be an excuse to fuse different environments together sometimes but can feel a bit sudden in a few instances. For example, there will be some action, then a short cutscene, then you will somehow be in a Helghast jet ski. It will blend these vehicle segments (which are actually pretty good) well most of the times, but there is a moment or two where it can be jarring.
When it blends its different gameplay, Killzone 3 is at its best. A new feature in the game is having the ability to carry three weapons at once: a sidearm, a primary firearm, and a heavy weapon. This may not sound like a big deal but it is a welcome addition. There are many different weapons of each class so mixing and matching different guns on the fly can lead to the pace never getting stale because there are so many strategies and weapon combos to try. Throw in a brutal melee system, that are as cool as they are violent, and the ability to be healed in most levels, and it leads to and encourages experimentation and variety. While being revived a few times may sound cheap, it makes you not scared to try new tactics knowing that you have squad mates to have your back just in case you take a shotgun shell to the face.
You may take shells the face a bit more in the sequel because of the cover system, while refined and streamlined (as are the actual shooting controls by removing most of Killzone 2‘s “heaviness”), can lead to openings to get shot at. Sometimes when you slide into cover, you can still get shot, so it can lead you wondering if Sev is leaving his head exposed. The cover system is still a unique and great part of the Killzone games and this is just a very minor flaw worth mentioning and will surely not break the experience.
Another aspect that won’t break your experience is the audiovisual presentation. While it easy to say that just about every game nowadays looks great, Killzone 3 stands far ahead of the pack. The contrast and excellent lighting feed your eyes and are blended together to make this game force you to absorb the detail and fidelity on the environments. You will have to sit in awe at some of the areas in this game whether it is just in sheer scale or immense detail. The sound only compliments the visuals by never letting up as people are almost always yelling and just about every building and vehicle is blowing in just about every moment. Allies and the Helghast are always shouting during the crossfire, explosions are happening in every direction, bullets and rockets are literally flying everywhere, it all adds up to the sense that you are in an intense warzone.
There was a specific moment in Killzone 3 where I stabbed a Helghast in the eye, and as he fell screaming to the ground, I quickly shot my triple barreled shotgun pistol at his buddy unfortunately standing next to him, then I switched to my jetpack with a turret and flew over some cover and rained down bullets on my final victim. When all of this happened within the span of ten seconds, I couldn’t help but feel a bit giddy. It has moments like this spread across the campaign that make it stand out from the many military shooters that invade the current market even though it checks off most of the first person shooter mission types (stealth mission, on rails sections, vehicle chases). On the outside, Killzone 3 could be labeled by pessimists as just another shooter in an overcrowded market. They might be right, as it is another shooter, but it is another great shooter as it is so well built with its own style, visual flair, and cool universe. Killzone 3 is incredibly fun from beginning to credits and when you turn on your console, isn’t fun reason enough to play?
+Fantastic audio and visuals
+Tight, smooth controls
+Wide selections of weapons
+Variety in gunplay missions
-Getting shot while in cover sucks
Final score: 9/10
Note: Due to circumstances out of my control, I didn’t get to try out the online multiplayer or the single player co-op so I thought it would be best to not pass judgment.