Rounding out Killzone 3‘s top traits is the actual level design and pacing of the game. While the levels are linear and gigantic set pieces are triggered at specific moments, they can be approached from a multitude of different ways. The weapon choices are standard Killzone fare, but allow for many different strategies. A massive change from the previous game is the ability to hold not two, but three weapons at a time. Larger, heavier weapons now have their own slot, leaving you to carry such combos like an assault rifle and a rocket launcher, or a shotgun and a long machine gun. Even with this newfound power, it doesn’t change necessity of strategic gameplay.
The gameplay is marvelously varied across the entire adventure. There are numerous vehicle sections amidst Killzone 3 and they all feel unique. From tanks to jeeps to badass snowmobiles and an ending vehicle so unexpected I will leave the surprise for you to experience. While the majority of the game is obviously combat and shooter-based, there are some neat experiments strewn about to break up the flow of gameplay. The famous jetpack is a great way to change up combat capabilities, if just a bit underused. Suddenly you view the level in a different light and new possibilities are opened up to traverse and outflank opponents. There is also a, believe it or not, stealth mission that somehow doesn’t feel out of place at all. Hey Guerrilla! You got some Metal Gear in my Killzone! And not only do I not have a problem with it — I love it!. Even one of the final battles is so artistically done that it feels like it’s taking place in slow motion.
Killzone 3‘s multiplayer modes are quite robust. All the different classes are available from the beginning, allowing you to jump right in to your area of expertise, with experience points leveling up your abilities and unlocking new weapons. The different modes, Guerrilla Warfare, Warzone, and Operations provide a large variety ways to play the game over the deceptively large maps. The controls have been fixed and feel a lot tighter than Killzone 2 making for a fast-paced white-knuckle experience. It’s hard to say much more about the multiplayer at this point, since so few people have been playing the game. Guerrilla learned a lot in just two short years, and Killzone 3 certainly looks like it can be one of, if not the best shooter on the PlayStation 3.
After finishing Killzone 3 the first time, I was incredulous at the fact the game rounded out at about 6 total hours. Short by today’s standards, but I never would have guessed that if I didn’t actually count and calculate the time I spent playing. As soon as the credits finished rolling I wanted to put down my DualShock 3 and pick up the PlayStation Move and start all over. The PlayStation Move controls definitely take some adjusting to, but the game delicately introduces you to the new control scheme. The standard settings aren’t bad, but just a bit of tweaking along with trial and error can make all the difference. Some of the motion controls seem inconvenient at first, but you get used to them very quickly.
Melee for instance, is done quickly moving the controller forward. Reloading is done by rotating the controller with your wrist. It seems kind of silly when such simple actions used to be done with a click of a button, but it gives distinct difference to a genre that has become utterly ubiquitous. After the first stage I already felt comfortable with the Move controls and maybe, just maybe, might consider replacing the ol’ DualShock. But not for multiplayer. The controls are exactly the same, and Guerrilla has faith that people playing with the Move will be at no disadvantage compared to a DualShock, but I just don’t feel that comfortable with it. The action is far too quick and playing in an area where you have to be aware of all 360 degrees around you, as opposed to “straight ahead” in singleplayer. Give it a whirl if you have it, you may find it to your liking. It’d be a disservice to ignore something the developers put so much work into implementing and the worst that could happen is that you stick with the controller.
Along with Move support, Killzone 3 has been touted as one of Sony’s banner titles demonstrating the PlayStation 3’s 3D capabilities. While Killzone 3 in 3D definitely is a showpiece for a fancy new 3DTV, it’s not the best way to play the game. The depth that 3D adds isn’t quite as important to the gameplay as say, Gran Turismo 5 or MLB: The Show, where the added depth helps you judge distance and adjust your timing accordingly. If anything, my shooting accuracy improved when 3D was turned off. Granted, there’s some serious wow-factor during explosions and when you’re manning one of the game’s many vehicles, but it’s not enough encouragement to keep the 3D enabled. Another significant flaw in the implementation of 3D in Killzone 3 is that sharpness and textures take a hit. And when you have a game as visually impressive as Killzone 3, the last thing you want to do is wash out the detail. 3D definitely has its advantages, but in Killzone 3, you’re better off leaving it in good ‘ol 2D.
Killzone 3 is the ultimate ending to a new form of sci-fi epic. It is a story of interpersonal conflict and struggle more than two civilizations at war. By taking full advantage of the PlayStation 3 Guerrilla Games has created an expansive world and proves that even shooters can have a compelling narrative. With plenty of variety to keep the action fresh throughout the entire campaign, it never feels tiresome. Killzone 3 has once again set the bar for visuals and action and should be picked up by anyone, even if you don’t think you’re a fan of shooters.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Multiplayer is a blast from the very first time you play
+ Story is immersive and deep across all the characters