Since the release of the original Killzone on ps2 back in 2004, the series has constantly delivered a sci-fi first person shooter well known for its visually impressive environments, and Killzone 3, the newest installment, is no exception. Taking place on the Helghast home-world, the outstanding landscapes serve to create a harsh and alien setting to the vicious firefights that make up Killzone 3.
Like most first-person shooters, Killzone 3 features both a single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode, including a local co-op feature. While the storytelling used for the campaign borders on laughable, the multiplayer pitches you into furious battles over objectives as you attempt to capture points, set bombs, or simply kill as many enemy team members as possible.
Picking up where the campaign of Killzone 2 left off, Killzone 3 sees the protagonist Sev and his partner Rico, trapped behind enemy lines in Helghast infested territory attempting to evacuate. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to muster up enough empathy to care about their fates, and the game seems to try constantly to cram down your throat exactly how hopeless their chances for survival really are. Fortunately if you ignore the campaign’s storyline, the battles that make it up are exciting enough to make you forget about the story, at least until the next cut-scene.
Whether you’re aiming down the sights of your assault rifle or spinning up a mini-gun, shooting remains a pleasure, as it was in the previous games. There is a satisfying weight to both movement, and jumping that helps you feel as if there truly is a soldier behind the eyes that you see through. At times the game breaks up the standard gameplay by allowing you to pilot vehicles, or even don a jetpack and these moments make a great change of pace from the action on foot, affording you the opportunity to lay waste to scores of Helghast, large vehicles, or simply rain death from above.
As you move through the campaign the game takes you from location to location, and each one maintains the same level of quality. Once you’ve left the ruined city streets you will soon find yourself creeping stealthily through a jungle dispatching enemies silently with your trusty knife, or weathering a blizzard in a frozen battlefield. These changes of scenery continue to promote the harsh and unfriendly world of Helghan, and serve as the backdrops for some of the more interesting battles that take place.
If you get lonely while fighting the Helghast hordes, Killzone 3 also features a local co-op mode. While the campaign itself stays the same, there is a good feeling to be had in having a friend by your side – especially when it comes to trickier battles and having an ally you can plan with, making a nice change from the AI partner from single-player.
Aside from the forgettable story the campaign shows off stunning visuals. All the gunfire and shouting you would expect from a shooter and some memorable moments making the campaign a great deal of fun. However Killzone 3 doesn’t end at the campaign, and once you’ve finished with single-player you can head online and let the real fun begin.
The main competitive mode is Warzone, which features a continually shifting focus. Including things such as: bodycount where each team tries to kill as many of the opposing team as possible; VIP where one team is given a target on the opposing team to kill while the other team protects them; as well as a capture the flag style mode. As the match progresses and the focus shifts, you’ll find yourself suddenly defending the objective and rushing off to the other side of the map to take out the enemies VIP. The level designs accommodate this constant shift beautifully. Cover is well placed and most levels have a number of choke points, which serve to concentrate the action.
Multiplayer also features the Operations game mode, where teams are forced to converge on certain points in order to defend or take a map-specific objective. These matches are filled with heavy battles as entire teams are drawn to the important areas in an effort to complete their mission. There is also the more traditional Team Deathmatch style games, called Guerrilla Warfare. These matches have a somewhat slower pace especially compared to Operations or Warzone. However they still feature the same weapons and vehicles as the other game modes.
As you play more and more online matches you will earn point to unlock class-specific upgrades, as well as universal ones that will affect you no matter which class you use. While previously you had to progress in order to unlock new classes, in Killzone 3 you begin with all classes unlocked. This allows you enjoy all the classes from the get go, meaning that from your first match you are able to enjoy the benefit of the Marksman’s stealth ability. All the classes feature great abilities, from setting up turrets as an Engineer, to disguising yourself as an enemy as an Infiltrator. All the classes have their own benefits and it is certainly worth trying them all out.
Despite the few small short-comings, such as an unimpressive campaign story, the game remains a beautiful shooter featuring locations which are both stunning and hostile in appearance. And although it does little in the way of making vast improvements to the previous games in the franchise, the new variety in both the locations and battles serve to add diversity which adds to the overall effect. Multiplayer is both fun and challenging with a wide variety of objectives, serving to keep games interesting especially with the addition of things such as jetpacks. Overall Killzone 3 is a solid shooter that delivers a visually stunning sci-fi type experience.