Killzone 3 PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Guerrilla Games – Genre – FPS – Players – 1-16 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

The Helghast, with their glowing red eyes and gasmasks, are some of the most intimidating enemies in a game. Their smart AI also means that they often put up a fair fight to stay alive, but it’s just a shame that the Helghast and the Killzone universe have been largely wasted within the series, and the back-story certainly shows that there’s a lot of potential.

The story of this third game picks up right where the second game in the series left off, and with the Helghan leader Scolar Visari dead, there’s a power struggle for leadership as the Helghast concoct a grand new plan. It’s a decent enough story and exciting at times, although the characters could certainly be more interesting than the mostly hollow shells that they are here. If anything, at least we do get a little bit of character out of the Helghan villains, with excellent performances from Ray Winstone and Malcom MacDowell as an argumentative pair of power hungry men.

As for the game itself, it’s still the same cover-based affair in which you take on clever gasmask wearing enemies, it still has the well made multiplayer, and the story still has the potential to be better than it actually is. But, Killzone 3 certainly has a number of improvements over the second game, so let’s start with the campaign.

The jetpack Helghast are some of the few new enemies, and it's good fun blowing them out of the sky.

There’s much more variation to be found throughout the campaign. Levels are more diverse in their range – very Killzone 2 esque in one instance with its urban areas, while there’s also an eye catching jungle with bright orange and deadly plant life, and another area which sees snow swirling around your head and laid beneath your feet. The diversity in areas and colour was definitely an improvement worth making, and the spectacular visuals once again puts Killzone 3 up there in the best looking games lists. If you have a capable TV, you can even play in magic 3D, which apparently looks very, very nice.

Other campaign enhancements include your AI buddies being able to revive you if they’re given the chance or you aren’t too badly wounded. What’s more is that if you have a couple of AI comrades on your side during the campaign, if one ends up incapacitated the other will help him out and bring him back to his feet. These are improvements that make playing Killzone even more pleasurable, better even.

I’m also happy to say that there’s nothing as frustrating as one of the segments towards the end of the second game, and those who have played Killzone 2 will know exactly what I’m speaking of, as will their broken controllers, possibly. So as a campaign, it’s more diverse, less frustrating and simply a better all-rounder.

Killzone 3 even has stealth, although Killzone 2 players who are concerned that it has suddenly turned into a first person Metal Gear Solid, well what can I say? There’s only a solitary stealth level in the entire game, so that is hardly the case. What begins as dumb Call of Duty style stealth becomes less of a hand holder later in the level. There are also a few vehicle sections and even a new jetpack for short bursts of flight – fun to use and a nice change of pace, but criminally underused.

The actual shooting feels quite different – the weighty feeling of the guns of previous games isn’t as obvious now, with movement speed being quicker and, as a result, this may be disappointing for those who really thought that it helped the Killzone series feel unique in what is a very busy genre. But other than this the shooting still feels excellent and as intense and as brutal as it was in Killzone 2. Well, to be honest the action is now even more brutal – violent melee attacks can be utilised, and doing such things as poking fingers through eyes gets the job done, albeit in a very nasty manner of course.

Move support is another new addition, and one which has been implemented superbly. We all know that motion controller’s such as Move have the potential to work very well in FPS games, and Killzone 3 is one of the best examples yet. It works really well and could easily become my first method of controlling the game.

Another screen of the Helghast, this time without jetpacks.

The multiplayer is of course the other portion of the game. Firstly, the campaign can be played through with another player beside you in split screen, which copes just as well as split screen players would hope and doesn’t suffer from too much slowdown. The popular online multiplayer modes make a return, with Warzone being joined by the all new Guerrilla Warfare and Operations mode. Warzone gives your team randomised objectives; Guerrilla Warfare is your typical team deathmatch, and finally Operations mode has the ISA on the offensive and the Helghan soldiers on the defensive, with snippets of cut-scenes featuring your own soldier as well as those of your teammates as you attempt to complete given tasks. Once again, multiplayer, with its array of weapons, classes and well designed maps, is a strong point and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the best of them.

I’ll almost be repeating my closing paragraph from my Killzone 2 review right here, although similarly the game is a tremendous package of a brutal, harsh and exciting campaign alongside a stunning set of multiplayer options. What’s different is that this package is almost an improvement in every single way, and just as long as you haven’t become too jaded with the standard FPS, Killzone 3 will likely hit the spot like one of those many smartly placed Helghan grenades.