After our brief hands-on of Killzone 3 at last year’s E3, we came away from the show psyched to play the latest iteration in the Killzone franchise. Killzone 3 is now available worldwide. Does Killzone 3 facilitate itself as the king of first-person shooters? Or does it crumble under the weight of expectations.
It seems fitting to start our review off exactly where it left off, which is the multiplayer. This was easily one of the most highly-anticipated features coming into Killzone 3 and more or less is a mixed bag. Of course, there is some much needed improvements, including a more streamlined interface and party system, however Killzone 3’s multiplayer is lacking depth. My biggest complaint is the unlock system. There’s something to be said for the more traditional system of placing weapons on maps, especially when the latest and greatest first-person shooters have been rehashing weapons into their unlock system. Unfortunately, Killzone 3 conforms to this idea, and rehashes most of the skills and weapons into their unlock system.
I didn’t pay $129.99 so I could play an exact copy of Killzone 2 with less depth. In fact, it almost seems like Guerrilla Games goal was to hack all of the good stuff from Killzone 2, while trying to make it most basic and appealing to a broader audience. I have no problem when Killzone 3 attempts to be more accessible, however more often than not it’s at the expense of the fans that enjoyed it in the first place.
One of the new additions to the multiplayer madness is the game-mode Operations. Essentially this team-based game mode allows the top players to be featured in a cutscene. This is one of Killzone 3’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. On the bright side it’s a frantic, action-packed game mode that’s pretty well-balanced; however it’s not without some glaring flaws. The first notable flaw is that the mode is limited to only 3 maps. When you combine this issue with the fact each mode only features one cutscene and you have one of the biggest missed opportunities of this generation.
As I stated before, the career unlock system leaves a lot to be desired. While the general interface is much cleaner in comparison to Killzone 2, the unlock system in general is tedious. The main reason is because the player ends up unlocking the same skills and weapons that were in Killzone 2. With most sequels it’s okay to have a strong slew of returning weapons; however Killzone 3 relies heavily on them. Killzone 3 does have a few decent additions which include the mortar-strike and brutal melee kills, however the majority of weapons and abilities remain unchanged or slightly tweaked. To a certain degree it’s nice that Guerilla didn’t overcomplicate a formula that worked well in Killzone 2, however it’s far to streamlined and watered-down. Even though these issues exist Killzone 3 does feature a frantic and fun multiplayer experience despite being somewhat generic.
Something strangely seems off about the singleplayer in Killzone 3. Perhaps it’s the awkward dialogue or odd placement of the characters during cutscenes, but Killzone 3 fails to be as organic as you would expect from a game of its caliber. One thing I cannot wrap my head around is the fact that the game doesn’t include online co-op. This was easily one of the most requested features; however Guerilla Games opted to include 3D and PlayStation Move support instead.
The problem with including these features is that they only cater to a small minority, while online co-op could have been enjoyed by everyone. They do have co-op, however its local split-screen and frankly I would have enjoyed system-link more. There’s just something about splits-screen co-op that feels entirely too dated. It’s not that Killzone 3’s singleplayer is bad, however when you compare it to everything else in the genre, it comes off just as generic, cliché and boring as the rest of them. There’s one thing that Killzone 3 does better than the majority of first-person shooters and that’s a sense of scale.
A huge point of contention in Killzone 2 was the controls. Guerrilla Games decided that it was best for the series to tweak the controls for the latest iteration in the series. It’s a shame that they caved in, because it’s frankly to easy to kill someone in Killzone 3. Killzone 2 might have featured awkward controls, but it was also challenging to pickup and even more difficult to master. By adjusting the controls as much as they did, it really took away some identity from Killzone 3, and the panic a player would feel once they engaged in combat.
At this point you’re probably wondering if there’s anything positive about Killzone 3. The graphics and sound are better than ever, and there’s a ton of nice little adjustments to the singleplayer and multiplayer. Killzone 3 is solid and fun addition to the series, however don’t expect as big of a leap as Killzone 2 was.