The rough and tumble crew from Killzone is back with a new campaign against the infamous Helghast army. You play as Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko, a level-headed, brave veteran seeking to ensure victory for the ISA. You campaign with your partner Rico Velasquez, a brash and defiant commander with the best of intentions, but not always the best course of action. Together you shoot, detonate, and stab your way across a number of different environments to stop Jorhan Stahl and Stahl Arms from their evil plot of total destruction.
Visually, Killzone 3 is a beautiful game. Most games of this genre over-utilize grey and earth tones to convey feelings of decimation and depression, but this is where Killzone 3 tries to think outside the box. It’s true that you start off in the urban decay that we all have seen a thousand times, but within an hour of gameplay, you are taken out of the twisted steel and crumbled concrete and placed in a strange, fluorescent jungle. The change of scenery really helps to keep things fresh and interesting, and certainly provides a stark contrast to Killzone 2. Despite the varied color palette, there are some aspects to the visuals that left something to be desired. During periods of heavy fighting and bombardments, there is a significant amount of motion blurring. While this can easily be attributed to giving the game a more realistic feel, it just doesn’t work out well. The worst example of this motion blurring is when you use the sprint function. While running, everything in your peripheral vision completely blurs, and the only thing that has any resolution is what lies directly ahead of you. It’s a bit distracting, and though it doesn’t hurt the game play, it is still something that can possibly be distracting to some.
Speaking of game play, this is where Killzone 3 really stands out above the rest of the games in the franchise. Despite the change in environments, as described above, there were a number of improvements made to the way the game works that really made this something special. The first change you will notice is the weight that the guns themselves have. In Killzone 2, many of the bigger guns you wielded were very heavy, making your movements around the map lumbered and slow. Guerrilla Games was certainly listening when trying to improve Killzone 3, because that weighty element to the guns is vastly improved. That is not to say that it is completely gone, considering many of the big guns, like the mini gun and the LMG, slow you down quite a bit. The real change comes with the SMG and your stock secondary weapons. Here, the weighty feel is almost completely gone and really speeds up the game. On top of the weight reduction, you will notice the addition of “brutal melee” close combat attacks, which truly live up to the name. You can trigger a brutal melee once you are within arm’s distance of an enemy. When executed, a short cut scene will follow, showing you performing a graphic kill using your knife. I will spare you the gory details, but it is extremely gratifying, especially to those enemies that always find a way to flank you. Another significant change was the use of jet packs. This sequence is relatively short compared to the campaign as a whole, but it managed to add something a little different, which is always welcome.
Multiplayer is another area that saw some changes since its previous installment. One exciting, but ultimately disappointing, addition was co-op. Co-op is a great way to add value to a game and could have been an excellent addition, had they allowed for online players to join your game. Unfortunately, the co-op for Killzone 3 is offline only, so unless you have a friend close by, you won’t be able to take advantage of this tantalizing option. However, the online multiplayer modes are excellent. The servers are fast, and there are still a lot of people playing online, so games are easy to get into. The number of game modes are limited, and this is one area where some more variety would have added quite a bit to the experience. You can choose between “Guerilla Warfare” which is your traditional team death match mode, “War Zone” which is a game with 7 rounds of game play, including a round of “Body Count” (Team Death Match), “Capture and Hold” (self explanatory), “Search and Retrieve” (Capture the Flag), 2 rounds of “Assassination” (Kill a specific player) and 2 rounds of “Search and Destroy” (Similar to Search and Retrieve), or you can choose “Operations” which is a more cinematic version of War Zone. The big change to multiplayer includes the ability to use jet packs and EXOs (robot suits) on select maps. All in all, the multiplayer is good, but it doesn’t provide an experience that you haven’t had before. More game types and even more vehicles would have been a welcome addition, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to play a few games when you are getting that FPS itch.
Killzone 3 may not end up on anyone’s “Best Game of 2011″ list, but this game is still a lot of fun to play, and a worthwhile FPS for anyone remotely into shooters. The campaign is very solid, and though the multiplayer is nothing extraordinary, it’s fun. Killzone 3 is an excellent game, and I highly recommend that you get this game and try it out, especially if you’ve never played a Killzone game before.
This review is based off of a retail version of Killzone 3 by Guerilla Games on the Playstation 3.