I had a bit of a love/hate affair with Killzone 2. I never got to play the first game, which i'll probably get round to one day, but when the second game was due for release I awaited it with baited breath. I purchased it and jumped straight in. What I found was a game that was technically stunning, but rather bland in the single player mode. The multiplayer however was brilliant. And if you ever finished the first game after the bastard that was Radec, you'll know that the game was left wide open for a sequel...and here it is.
Killzone 3 is the latest game from developers Guerilla. It's been highly anticipated at the second coming of Playstation 3 FPS games.....but is it any good? Read on, dear viewer, and see my thoughts!
Following in from the events in the last game, we once more catch up with uber ISA soldier Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko. Scholar Visari is dead, killed by Sev's fellow soldier Rico, and Sev and his team are stranded on the Helgan world with no immediate means of escape. Several other rag-tag groups of ISA soldiers are scattered over the planet, and they have to find some means of regrouping and getting off world. Meanwhile, the Helgan government is attempting to regroup after Scholar Visari's death, and several members of the Helgan council, including industrialist and all round bad egg Chairman Stahl, are torn on what do do next. Stahl, refusing to give up his military resources and experimental weapons send his own personal army after the remaining ISA forces, and it's then a race against time for the ISA to regroup, get off world and warn Earth about the upcoming Helgast invasion fleet.
What I liked:
Not wanting to sound like a graphics whore, but i'll jump straight in at the visual end of Killzone and say that in general, it looks stunning. Most of the environments, from the industrial wastelands, to the snow-based levels, to the much spoken about jungles look amazing. I have a few niggles however, the jungle for one is a bit too bright. Plants that give off some sort of bio-luminescent glow that makes the levels look like a rave in the rain forest, but it's just me being picky. The real highlight is the Mawlr, a gigantic war machine that you have seen nothing like the scale of in a video game before....it's absolutely colossal. The actual gunplay of the game is great. It's been slightly refined from Killzone 2, it's a lot less "heavy" than the last game. Aiming is slightly tighter, moving around has been improved, so you spend less time trying to draw a bead on the enemy like some demented idiot mid-firefight. Some of the new weapons, such as the silenced pistol that you get in the jungle level are great new additions, and the new Helgan technology, such as the head liquidising energy cannon, or the new rocket firing WASP launcher are great fun. In game you are thrown from set piece to set piece, with levels seeing you commandeer tanks, jeeps, walking battle suits and the much talked about jet packs. These don't let you just fly about willy-nilly, think of it more like enabling you do do massive jumps....although with an armoured suit on your back and a huge machine gun strapped to your arm. There are also new melee attacks, a quick press of the melee button when prompted sees you grab your opponents head and smash it into a wall, stick your thumbs in their eyes and pop their optical globes, or, if done from the rear (oo-er), you simply give them a nice, kind stab to the throat. The story is fairly well paced, with the feeling of isolation that the ISA find themselves in particularly well presented. You also get to see a whole lot more of the Helgast in this game, with all the behind the scenes political wrangling between the Helgast higher forces after the void that was left after Scholar Visari's death. Stahl, voiced with pure psychotic menace by Mr clockwork orange himself, Malcolm McDowell, is a great new character, a man so slippery he could brand himself as a new hair gel. The whole Helgast council, dressed like some futuristic Nazi party, are awesome.....a bunch of old men on various life-support systems plotting and scheming, and sporting some facial hair that would make a Turkish Kebab shop owners convention a good run for their money. The game is also a lot more mature than the second game. Swearing, which in the first game was so prolific you would have thought that it was sponsored by the Tourettes society, has been toned down so when you DO actually here a bit of profanity in this game, it kind of suits the purpose. You can, should you choose, go through the campaign with a friend in split screen co-op, which is a welcome addition. Sound effects, from the guns to the little jungles of equipment banging about in you also excel, the complete racket that occurs when you press the trigger down on anything erupts and threatens to blow out your speaker system!
As with the last game, the multiplayer stands out. It's fantastic. You can choose to play offline on any of the maps against bots, with everything unlocked, or jump into the multiplayer for real Again, it's a class-based shooter, so you can choose whatever play type you like. My favourite mode from the last game, Warzone, makes a welcome return with it's rolling objective modes, and it's a constant thrill. The mew multiplayer mode, Operations, looks like it will be a classic, and as with Warzone it's a surprise no-one has thought of it before. Split over three missions, Operations sees you take on objective based missions, such as planting explosives while the other team has to stop them. Nothing new there, but in this game you get certain cut scenes, so it's actually like playing part of a campaign game, but with other people. A nice touch. All in all it's a fantastic online experience, and if you're lucky enough to have the collectors edition, you can download two maps from Killzone 2 for free!
What I loathed:
Well....and I can't believe i'm saying this.....AGAIN. It's pretty short. Playing non-stop you should see yourself through the campaign mode within around six hours, give or take. Far too short, even though it's fun and varied, but maybe a little too varied. From level to level, you jump into gun turrets, mech battle suits, flying machines, let packs, back to gun turrets, into tanks.....it's almost like the game is shitting itself that you may get bored by just running around gunning down the enemy. When they are done right, such as the airbourne attack on some oil-rig type building, whilst you're being battered by the elements it's impressive. But doing it again, and again.....and a-fucking-gain.....well, it simply gets old. The story if choc full of threads that don't go anywhere.....or even start anywhere....one character, a woman...just pops out of nowhere with no character development at all...why the fuck we would want to save her I have no idea....it's almost like the developers saw what Epic are doing with Gears of War 3 and Anya and just thoughts "quick....get a woman soldier in there!!". The new Helgan energy weapon, a brutal device that shoots out rays of green energy that vaporizes anything it gets near is nice, but again, it's not explained. There is another part where you team are trapped by this energy and if they move they will die......WHY? What the fuck is this green stuff? Either I passed out while it was explained or, it wasn't. Weak. The game has slightly lost the feeling of Killzone too. I know the second game had a few complaints leveled at it regarding the controls, but at least it forged it's own path and tried something different. All feelings of weight from the characters or weapons has gone, making it feel more responsive, which in a way is good, but brings it more into line with the Call of Duty series, and in my opinion it suffers from it. I liked Killzone 2, for all it's faults, because it did feel different from other FPS games out there....this game has a feeling of "me too" about it that it seriously needs to lose. The story on the whole, while interesting in parts and handled in a more mature manner than the first, is complete shite. It's generic, boring, confusing and the less we say about the ending the better.
Killzone 3 is a mixed bag. For all the improvements it's made to the controls, character development and story, it suffers from the "been there, done that" syndrome that the second game had. It looks fantastic, sound great, and the multiplayer is handled fantastically. With some decent writers handling the story, the game could have grabbed my attention a whole lot more, but as it stands it's a bit like having a naked romp with Lindsey Lohan.....loud, violent and fun while it lasts, but the flaws wouldn't want you to go back for a second go.
Killzone 3 is available now on Playstation 3.