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Killzone 3 review

AT A GLANCE
  • Multiplayer is more immediately enjoyable than KZ2's
  • More varied action makes campaign more fun
  • 3D and Move are cool additions, if you've got them
  • Co-op is strictly split-screen
  • Allies can revive you, but often don't
  • Main characters are still kind of dull

Killzone 2 may be one of the most divisive games of its generation. Even discounting the weird furor leading up to its release, a lot of gamers seem just as likely to decry its shortcomings (dull-looking environments, shaky enemy AI, etc.) as they are gush about how fantastic it is. Killzone 3 should be a hell of a lot easier to agree on, though, because while it delivers more or less the same gritty shooter action in the same bleak, blasted city ruins, it also delivers a ton of improvements that make it a hugely entertaining game.


Your Helghast enemies are now smarter, able to cover more effectively and react better to your actions (often with grenades). Your allies are more useful, too; not only will you have to revive them a lot less often than you would have in Killzone 2, but they can now revive you (although they’re not particularly good at it, often getting hung up on obstacles or distracted by enemies). The guns are bigger, the action’s more varied, the multiplayer’s more accessible and it’s now possible to tackle the campaign with a co-op partner. It’s as if every complaint critics leveled at Killzone 2 was taken into account and fixed.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Those who played through Killzone 2 can probably already guess where a big chunk of KZ3’s plot is headed – after killing Scolar Visari (leader of the fascist Helghast army) in the last game, heroes Rico and Sev quickly go from scrappy invaders to hunted fugitives after finding themselves on the receiving end of a massive Helghast retaliation.


That’s really all you need to know going into the campaign (which takes around six to eight hours to finish). Interestingly, though, Rico and Sev’s story intertwines with another one involving the game’s two villains, Orlock (played by Ray Winstone) and Johann Stahl (Malcolm McDowell). A Helghast admiral and industrialist, respectively, the two steal the spotlight by continually trying to politically outmaneuver one another and fill the power vacuum left by Visari’s death. You’ll never play as either of them, of course, but their hammy machinations add an interesting dimension to a story that would otherwise be about a couple of grunts and their focus on (what’s left of) their mission.


See (more of) the world

Story aside, the most striking changes Killzone 3 brings are to its new environments, which are a little livelier and a lot more colorful than the rubble-strewn industrial hellscapes of Killzone 2. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of rubble-strewn industrial hellscapes here, or that they’re not saturated with grays and browns – but their palettes have been broadened to include other, more striking colors. The levels are also a lot more diverse than before, and include a brightly colored (and hazard-filled) jungle that looks like a slightly murkier version of Avatar’s Pandora, a high-tech weapons lab, a gleaming space station and the iceberg-surrounded oilrigs that were, for many of us, our first glimpse of the game.



Above: The jungle mission also encourages you to play it stealthy

You’ll also do a lot more within those levels. The bulk of the action still revolves around ducking behind cover (made semi-sticky by holding down the L2 trigger) and trading shots with gasmask-wearing Helghast infantry – and that’s gotten a few upgrades. Certain weapons now feature improved sights, and a heavy-weapons slot has been added to your inventory for things like miniguns, rocket launchers and a couple of bizarre (but awesome) sci-fi weapons, like the multi-warhead WASP rocket launcher and the enemy-liquefying Arc Cannon.

The fight is a little easier than before; ammo caches are everywhere, ensuring that you’ll rarely have to resort to your sidearm, and checkpoints are usually pretty forgiving. To offset these advantages, there’s more diversity in the enemies you’ll battle, with standard Helghast stormtroopers joined by things like eerie, dog-like mechs and Capture Troopers, who wear thick armor and enjoy sprinting right up and stabbing you in the chest.



Note: Do not let them get this close. They are dicks when they're this close

Time a counterattack against them just right, though, and you’ll trigger one of the best additions to Killzone 3: the so-called Brutal Melee attacks, which replace the knife-slashing of KZ2 with nasty close-quarters kill moves. Your enemies might get off with a slit throat or a snapped neck, but you’re also just as likely to jam your thumbs through their red lenses or twist a knife in their eyes. These attacks can sometimes leave you too vulnerable – especially in multiplayer – but that doesn’t make them any less satisfying to pull off.


Above: Gross 

There’s more to the campaign than shooting and stabbing, though, with the traditional FPS carnage now regularly broken up by huge action set-pieces, vehicle segments and a stealth mission, three things that were mostly lacking in Killzone 2. These arguably give KZ3 more of a Call of Duty feel, since they’re mostly linear, self-contained departures from the action (i.e. now that you’ve fought your way through that arctic lab, it’s time for a dramatic escape in some high-speed monstrosity called an Ice Saw!), but they’re nonetheless meticulously crafted and make for an exciting change of pace.

True, some of the vehicle bits amount to little more than rail-shooter sequences (particularly in the game's final stages), but they’re also joined by a couple of rides you can move around in freely, most notably the machinegun-equipped jetpack (which, sadly, only shows up for a little while) and the towering EXO mechs, which are heavily armed and fantastic for literally stomping the life out of Helghast troops.



Above: HURR HURR HURR 

More Info

Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Sony
Developed by: Guerrilla Games
Franchise: Killzone
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:
18+

96 comments

  • 19monsa11 - March 7, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    KZ3 RULES! simple as that;)
  • Gamerbloke - February 28, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    Nice review, however I'm still amazed that so many hold Call of Duty in such high regards, particularly the simplistic, dreary grenade fest that makes up the multi-player. Give me BFBC2 or KZ3's online component over ANY of the COD games any day of the week.
  • drroxxo1 - February 23, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    Bulletstorm- 10//10 Killzone- 9/10 u mad ps3? so much for exclusivity...
  • GerrySMith - February 22, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Eagerly waiting for the release of Killzone 3 in a few hours from now :) http://us.playstation.com/games-and-media/games/killzone-3-ps3.html
  • TheVeteran13 - February 22, 2011 1:29 a.m.

    Videogames lol
  • camelfro - February 12, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    great review mikel looks pretty good
  • Azz - February 12, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    Ahhh....so Wii shooters hurt your hand, but shooters on the playstation are fine?Imao, you need to grow up.
  • TheDude97 - February 8, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    HOW DARE YOU GIVE IT A 9, BRIBEPARAZ!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW MUCH IS M$ PAYING YOU, BRIBEPARAZ????????????????!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, great review, can't wait for this along with Uncharted 3, Infamous 2 and Resistance 3. 2011 is certainly the year of the PS3
  • Ravenbom - February 7, 2011 11:57 p.m.

    OMFG! Bias! How much did M$ pay you to be fair and impartial to this game! How much did M$ pay your ass to say that it's a better 9 than the first game which was also a 9?
  • lovinmyps3 - February 6, 2011 11:58 p.m.

    I might have to pick this up. I liked Killzone 2 but wasn't planning on getting this one. You may have convinced me otherwise Mr. Reparaz.
  • ANATOMYOFABITCH - February 6, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Killzone 3 is a game with gunz in it
  • elchamber - February 6, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    I've been playing the beta and it's alright. And I'm not so interested in online multiplayer, other than RDR. It did get me interested in playing some first-person shooters now. The only problem is a small certain things aren't explained.
  • TDUBBS - February 6, 2011 4:02 a.m.

    So which should I get, Killzone 3, or Dead Space 2? I don't have money for both!
  • may.be.vital - February 6, 2011 1:51 a.m.

    A 9!!!! BLASPHEMY! IVE NEVER PLAYED THIS GAME BUT FROM THE SCREENSHOTS I CAN TELL IT DESERVES AT LEAST AN 11. BLAAARRGGGHHHH TROOOLLLLLLL
  • DontMessWithMeImRunningOutOfPlacesToHideTheBodies - February 6, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    Is the bot multiplayer limted to skirmish mode like in KZ2 or is it more robust like in UT3?
  • S32X - February 6, 2011 1:31 a.m.

    With the tanking I meant that Killzone might as Bulletstorm has more hype at the moment as it's doing something that feels fresh and looks as good KZ does (to me anyway)!
  • S32X - February 6, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    For all the flak it got I really enjoyed Reach's campaign, much more so than any of the previous Killzone's. Which is why this isn't a day one purchase for me, also they're releasing it on the same day as Bulletstorm which has all the colour, personality and fun that Killzone's 1 and 2 lacked so I wouldn't be surprised if it tanked a little.
  • Crabhand - February 5, 2011 5:58 p.m.

    OH I SEE HOW IT IS. Halo Reach is the PINNACLE OF GAMING NOW AND FOREVER and you deem this "Killzone" game just as good if not BETTER. OUTRAAAAAAAAAAAAGE! HOW can the single player be better than Reach??? What does Mr. Killzone have over Noble Team? TELL ME THAT MIKEL REPARAZ! I didn't actually read the review nor have I played the game, therefore you are a FOOL in the highest regard and I bite my thumb to you. GOOD DAY SIR.
  • jesusfrk15 - February 5, 2011 9:02 a.m.

    maaan i wanna get into this series, but i own a 360 :'( tears are shed
  • Fuzunga - February 5, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    Wow, it's pretty strange for a game to have co-op and make it split-screen ONLY. Typically these days, if there's co-op at all, it's online only.

Showing 1-20 of 96 comments

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