Killzone 3 hands-on: 6 things you need to know about the gameplay

It’s official: not only is Killzone 3 happening, but it’s happening in a playable, 3D form. At the same event last night where we got our first glimpse of the game in motion, we also had a chance to steer KZ2's returning hero, Sgt. Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko, through the icy, Helghast-infested fields we’d just seen, both in 3D and in 2D. What we played was impressive – a lot more impressive than Killzone 2, in fact – and what follows are the six most important bullet points we came away with.

1. It looks even better

When Killzone 2 dropped last year, it was widely hailed as a high-water mark for PS3 graphics. And that’s all fine and good, but Killzone 3 brings just enough graphical prowess that makes its predecessor look like a tech demo. There’s the 3D to consider, and that looks pretty great, but overall the game sports noticeably sharper textures, more detailed structures and cool environmental touches that KZ2’s dingy cityscapes and blasted deserts lacked.


The demo level we played took place across what looked like several Helghast oil rigs (or, more likely, rigs drilling for the lightning-mineral Petrusite) in snow-covered tundra battered by a raging sea, which was filled with huge chunks of ice. It was a much prettier, more open landscape than anything Killzone 2 offered, and it certainly didn’t hurt that it was filled with destructible objects.

That’s another thing Killzone 2 didn’t offer much of; if a few Helghast were covering behind some sandbags, for example, you could fire a rocket at them and the sandbags would still be intact. Not here – sandbags scatter, flimsy bits of cover can be shredded and chunks can be torn off of concrete structures.

2. It’ll feature more vehicles

… or at least, it’ll feature sequences on the back of those hovering troop transports from Killzone 2, which were never interactive last time. That’s how our time with Killzone 3 began: with an impressive on-rails sequence during which we used a mounted minigun to cut down Helghast troops and, at one point, a speedy Helghast aircraft that was about the size of our transports (and which glowed red, just like everything else the Helghast use). The minigun could be fired continuously without overheating, which was a refreshing change from games in which you have to let up on the fire button ever.

3. The jetpacks are fun

By now, you probably already know Killzone 3 has jetpacks; what you maybe don’t know is how they work. Our first encounter with them was when they were strapped to the backs of special Helghast troopers, who – after we'd riddled them with a few bullets – lost control of their packs and crashed and burned spectacularly.

Later, we got to try one out for ourselves, and were immediately informed that they’re less “jetpacks” than they are “jump-packs.” Pressing the throttle gives you a short (but high) vertical boost, after which the secondary jets kick in and enable you to safely float back to earth.

While you’re in the air, however, you can press X for a sharp boost forward, which you can use repeatedly to reach platforms too far away to hit with a normal jump.

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  • sterlins16 - June 4, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    sounds amazin
  • CAPST3R - May 31, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    I think of this as a Halo-Gears of War mix, that doesn't concentrate too much on gore or pretty colours. They need to make the campaign longer, and gameplay more fast-paced. I think they're trying to just make it gimmicky though, which will probably kill the game.
  • TBag - May 29, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    I played KZ2 and did not like it. The game had bad controls and poor shooting mechanics (which should be priority #1 in a FPS). I am excited for Halo:Reach I played the Beta and it was awsome. To all the people who thinks the Halo series is overrated. Halo:CE showed that FPS could work on consoles. Halo 2 set the bar for online play on console (which some games today still can't seem to pass) And Halo 3 has the forge and save films and is constantly number 2 or 3 on xbox live most played games so some people must like it. Bungie has the most polished online experience on any console shooter still after 3 years.
  • ryno - May 28, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    i wounder if we will see any female Helgast. cuz as far as i know Helgan is a sausage fest.
  • junkheep - May 28, 2010 5:51 p.m.

    i loved the first game even with it faults but form hat youve said there being fixed soo woop
  • Tommykrem - May 28, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    Ridgley: According to Guerilla they are, but I don't hope it'll be like super-fun-and-casual MW2. Something in between would be nice.
  • Clovin64 - May 28, 2010 11:50 a.m.

    I'm definetly pissed off that we have to play that boring steaming pile of blandness that is Sev. I hope we can play other characters aswell this time around. Maybe its just me, but this doesnt look too different from KZ2. I hope sony isnt totally relying on the 3D thing in order to make KZ3 feel fresh and new. I wonder if they'll make the aiming/recoil thing better this time around? That seems to be the major complaint that most people had about KZ2. It made the big set pieces frantic and exciting in the campaign, but I dont think it worked very well in the multiplayer mode. Oh well, I'm still adding this game to my most wanted list. Also I hope Sev dies a horrible painful death, or at least get a haircut and some decent dialogue lol.
  • PrimeSynergy - May 28, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    Can't wait. KZ2 was the game that got me interested in the genre again after the love of my life, Unreal Tournament, went down the drain.
  • Ridgley - May 28, 2010 6:17 a.m.

    Are the controls less horrible?
  • BLOODmuffins - May 28, 2010 6:08 a.m.

    I have to say that I am really not looking forward to this game. Even though I am somewhat of a PS3 fanboy, I hated Killzone 2 and I have no reason to believe that this game will fix what I disliked about the second game, namely the fact that the entire series is totally unoriginal and bland. It's also just no fun to play. And it looks like ass
  • NanoElite666 - May 28, 2010 5:51 a.m.

    It just occurred to me... With all the rampant talk going around of jetpacks also being in Reach and whatnot as well as showing up here... Did anyone stop and consider that Killzone's already done jetpacks? Yup, all the way back in Liberation on PSP. Killzone officially wins the modern jetpack race. Anyways, definitely looking forward to this. Killzone 2 was a blast, and I'm thrilled to hear that your AI buddies can actually pick you up when you go down this time around.
  • Evil_AppleJuice - May 28, 2010 2:51 a.m.

    Killzone 2 was fun, and I have to agree that Halo is the most generic shooter ever. But thats why it became so popular, it was generic. It was everything we wanted in a shooter. Killzone is lots of fun, though I hope the third time around its a little more hurried than the others. The issue Ive had with Killzone is that you run too slow and the pace is not as quick as other shooters. I hope they increase the pace so that the action compliments the pace of play.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - May 28, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    i went to the sony store yesterday in a mall in buckhead, GA and they it was like a sony paradise. as for the video game part of the store they had 6 playable ps3's. One of them showed aff a demo video with cutscenes and gameplay footage of KZ2,KZ3, and some psn games in 3d.
  • TheWebSwinger - May 28, 2010 1:47 a.m.

    Yes I'm interested. No, seriously, I'm all over this shit.
  • sham0na - May 28, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    i remember i was first to pick up killzone 2 at my local frys electronics. it was pretty epic at parts but the shooting wasnt all that good it was hard aiming at things but i still loved it the same hope this one improves the shooting though
  • EricBratcher - May 28, 2010 12:45 a.m.

    Don't worry - it runs on normal TVs as well. The 3D just adds a little extra something. It's just like how you can listen to the sound through your existing TV speakers or through a 7.1 surround system.
  • reverandglass - May 28, 2010 12:45 a.m.

    @db1331 oh you've stirred up a can o' worms haven't you? lol I have no doubt that killzone 3 will be as awesome as killzone 2 and then some. I know it's not to everyone's taste but I love it and can't wait. oh and played the reach beta with some Halo fanpeople and the more killzone-y elements confused and scared them! lol
  • CreeplyTuna - May 28, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    i hope i can play this on my "non-3D" tv. u may have mentioned it, but i only skimmed the article but still want it REAL bad, so im trying not to ruin it by learning wat its about
  • Wizrai - May 28, 2010 12:06 a.m.

    @db1331 The first time I tried Halo, it was at a friend's house and we were reaaally bored, so he made me play the first one on the Xbox, co-op, and it was really funny (Specially when the Warthog is introduced...), it was pretty much what dragged me into gaming...but yes, it's not the same anymore, I even got rid of the X360 I had and went for a PS3. :o

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