Killzone got off to a rough start with its initial release on the PS2. Despite a fair amount of hype, the game was a flop. Thankfully the series redeemed itself with the release of Killzone 2, probably one of the best looking shooters of its time. The sequel well and truly made a statement and set the platform for what is now one of the most popular franchises on the PlayStation platform.
Now its time for the third instalment. The game is based on Helghan and Earths forces are being hammered by the Helghast assault. While this doesn’t sound too riveting, the story is actually were this game has made significant improvements. While Killzone 2 was a fantastic game, there was little to no story whatsoever and not much dialogue between characters. While its still not to the same standards as story-driven titles like Metal Gear Solid or Heavy Rain, Guerrilla Games has to be commended for putting a little bit more effort into it.
But who am I kidding, no one is playing Killzone 3 for the story are they? Nope, everyone wants that frantic shooter action the series has now become renowned for and to experience the thrill of fighting a war against the brutal Helghast soldiers. To be frank, Killzone 3 isn’t that different to its predecessor in terms of gameplay. While in most cases this can be bad for a sequel, when the original was as good as it was there is no real reason to change. But the slight changes that were made however are well received.
Firstly the addition of brutal close-quarters kills is brilliant, yes very violent, but brilliant nonetheless. Not enough room to shoot that rocket launcher? No worries just run up to the Helghast soldier and poke his eyes out with your thumbs, or why not just stick a knife in his head? Yes these animations are quite horrific, but it adds a whole new element to the way you can play the game. Instead of running through a level ‘guns a blazing’ you can now strategically work your way around the environment and stealthily take care of your enemies.
The second addition is the jetpack. While you don’t get to use it as much as we’d like, the times you do get to use the jetpack are simply awesome. Flying around levels and having aerial skirmishes with other jetpack toting enemies is a breath of fresh air to the traditional FPS formula.
While vehicles were also in Killzone 2, this is scaled up immensely for the third instalment. Not only can you take control of tanks and spaceships, but you are also thrust into the helm of a mech warrior-style assault vehicle. The latter is probably the most enjoyable as you run around firing rockets and machine gun fire at unsuspecting soldiers and tanks.
Weapons have also had a remarkable improvement. Not only do you get access to the standard range of pistols, machine guns and heavy weapons; but you also occasionally get your gloves on some pretty powerful Helghast weaponry. One even shoots radioactive waves at an enemy and makes them explode.
A notable mention also has to be given to level design. While most are similar to previous Killzone titles, there is one remarkable exception. Without giving away too much of the plot, one level is based on a spaceship where the gravity is switched off. This adds a whole new gameplay mechanic where you now have to strategically think about how you use all of your weapons. For example you can no longer just throw a grenade, you must figure out how much the gravity will affect the trajectory, if you don’t you will find your grenades will simply float to the roof.
I seem to have rattled off quite a few compelling reasons to pick up Killzone 3 and with good reason, it is one of the standout shooters available on the PS3. But there are a couple of minor drawbacks. Firstly, those who play through the game expecting a similar epic boss battle like in Killzone 2 will be very disappointed. While there are a few boss-style battles in the lead up to the conclusion, the final scenes were uncharacteristically easy. Also, much like its predecessor, the Killzone 3 single player campaign is quite short. But the excellent competitive multiplayer modes on offer definitely make up for this and add a fair amount of replayability.