Killzone 3 Review (PS3)

April 2, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews

Killzone 3 is a first person shooter developed by Sony’s own Guerrilla Games and published by Sony.  This game is an exclusive to the PlayStation 3 system and is a direct sequel to Killzone 2 which was released in 2009.

Story: 3/5

Killzone 3 picks up immediately following the events of the second game, with the ruthless Helghan ruler, Emperor Visari, slain by the ISA.  ISA soldier, Rico Velasquez, murdered the Evil tyrant in his own palace.  This however, creates the set up for K3, establishing a direct reason for further fueling the Helghan War with the ISA. The Helghans are bent on revenge at the ISA for killing their leader, and now they refuse to stop fighting until the ISA is wiped out completely.  Emperor Visari’s demise has also created a power vacuum, and two commanding adversaries are competing to become the new Emperor. Admiral Orlock was Visari’s right hand of the Helghan army and sits on the ruling commission.   Orlock is intent to follow the traditional chain of command and lead the military to an ultimate, pivotal victory over the ISA.  The man vying for power and seeks to overtake Orlock is Chairman Stahl, the planet’s leading weapons manufacturer with a private army that rivals the size and power of the Helghast armed forces. Stahl and his clan are solely responsible for the most cutting-edge artillery and has some Machiavellian plans of his own for civilization if he manages to seize the reins of supremacy.  The story carries enough devices to make you finish the game, but does not leave you begging for more, nor asking many questions about the characters or their actions.  However to be fair, as many great things about the game as there are, it is not a perfect game. Everything that occurs in the gameplay is pretty much straightforward and linear.   Mostly all the main characters return sporting the same attitudes and personas as in K2.  Thomas “Sev” Sevchenko, Captain Jason Narville, Rico Velasquez, along with some new and may I say greatly needed addition to the voice acting and story.  The evil Jorhan Stahl, weapons manufacturer, steals the show here voiced terrifically by movie and TV actor, Malcolm McDowell, and sports a creepily sly smile to match.  In my opinion, without McDowell’s character and voice acting, the entire game would have not been as interesting to me, specifically the story.  I, having been one of the few who personally enjoyed the story of K2, was eager to see its conclusion.  In K3, the formula remains almost the same despite Stahl’s performance. The writing did improve for the characterization of Sev and Rico, but not by leaps and bounds.  Rico is stereotyped as the typical loud mouthed, cursing bad ass army guy that can be found in almost any FPS game on the market.  Sev (your character) while quitter than Rico, offers more of a presence in this game in terms of emotion and actions. And Captain Narville is the typical arguing commander, again offering nothing different from Rico’s character in respect to type casted army figures in FPS action games nowadays. And lastly, while the story is better than K2 ‘s becoming more in depth and fleshed out, it still is linear in many aspects, mainly the plot and its characters.  You never feel too emotionally attached to the characters or the story for that matter but rather just enjoy the set pieces and gameplay.

 

Gameplay: 5/5

Let me dive into the actual gameplay first and say this, personally I love first person shooters but also agree that the gaming market is flooded with them.  Aside from that, having thoroughly enjoyed Killzone 2’s campaign and multiplayer, I was very excited for Killzone 3.  I believe this installment improved on its predecessor.  The gunplay is just as great as the 2nd except now with an additional weapon allowance in your inventory and also a few new weapons added to it makes the game more enjoyable.  The mechanics for run and gun are tight and definitely more fluid than Killzone 2.  I, myself, having put in thousands of hours in FPS games can safely say that K3 can now definitely come close to the ranks of COD: Modern Warfares and Black Ops in terms of fluidity in gunplay and action.  The set pieces are great and the AI is also improved from previous installments.  Enemies do work to surround you and make sure your always running for cover.  The action going on in the background of the game is always intense and engaging to stop and watch occasionally.  A lot of the complaints from Killzone 2 came from the lackluster environments and bland colors despite being a visual delight at the time.  Listening to the complaints, Guerrilla Games sought to change that by adding a variety of different environments and levels, featuring its own unique set pieces and designs.  Trekking through the vast wastelands of the Heleghan deserts and factories similar to K2 was nostalgic for me.  However, now we get to see and play in parts of the planet never before seen such as jungles bursting with bright colors and sci-fi plant life.  Also, the incredible arctic blast of snow and ice levels rounds out the environments as immense and wide-ranging in my opinion.  Another great thing about the game is the nice range of different enemy types (over 14 to be exact) each with different skills and outfits creating a war that doesn’t seemed filled with repetitive looking soldiers.  The online aspect of the game offers some much needed improvements over K2’s 20th century style of party invites and lobby systems.  In K3 you can now invite your buddies to a lobby then search for a game and also create clans easier than in K2.  Overall, the multiplayer maps and matches all are a great addition to the game and definitely increase the replay value of Killzone 3 to countless hours.

 

Graphics: 5/5

Guerrilla Games knows the PS3 and to that respect, it absolutely shows here with some fantastic visuals and an art style that has become stunning to watch.  Killzone undeniably is in its own category for FPS graphics setting the bar for environment visuals, as well as character animations.  The snow levels in particular really shine for those who are fortunate enough to own a HD set.

Sound 5/5

Disagreeing with many, the music in Killzone 3 is epic and orchestra-like, more appropriate for a big budget war film but fits nicely in here. Between the amazing sound effects for the guns and set pieces to every little sound of metal cracking and explosions, the grittiness and clarity in sound is a treat. Again, the voice acting here for most is just average to slightly good.  Thank God for Malcolm McDowell for his dialogue and character make the game!

 

Overall: 18/20 = 9/10

Killzone 3 is an intense and fun first person shooter that has some really fantastic set pieces.  Combined with a vastly improved multiplayer from K2, the overall package is terrific and gives a great replay value for the game.

Pros:

+Fun and immersive Gameplay

+ Audio Delight

+ Visually Striking

Cons:

– Characterization and voice acting are average for the most part

– Story fails to branch out from the typical FPS/action formula that is shown in the linear Campaign

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