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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Killzone 3 Review

Title: Killzone 3
Systems: Playstation 3 Exclusive
ESRB: M for Mature
Format: 3D (3-Dimensional), Online Capabilities, Subtitled, NTSC
Developers: SCEA, Guerilla Games

Well, it's been a WAY long time coming. Hoo boy. Last year, there are several games that absolutely attacked the market. Halo: Reach, Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Starcraft II, Call of Duty: Black Ops, these are among the games that are, right now, quite possibly the most powerful gaming pieces of all time, and some of the most acclaimed.

Now, with all the great promises of a fantastic 3D experience that will knock you out of your seats, is Killzone 3 worthy of the true greatness that it seems it deserves? The answer is a resounding, thankfully pleasing yes. Killzone 3 is amazing in its own way. Immense. Epic. Addicting. Fast-paced. Killzone 3 is one of the most anticipated PS3 releases of all time, and one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most annoying.

Killzone 3 is NOT the 3D experience that it promised. Killzone 3 is NOT another James Cameron's Avatar in a game. Playing Killzone 3 in its 3-Dimensional version is really unimpressive. It's foggy and sometimes blurry, and it feels a little more rushed than usual. However, aside from the terrible 3D effects, Killzone 3 is still an amazing experience, visually and tonally. The cinema, the inking and painting, textures, visual effects, in its entirety, Killzone 3 is astounding. Watching those LS57 SMGs fire is a visual thrill ride that you will NOT want to miss, and it's one of the greatest visual adventures you will ever experience.

Story-wise, Killzone 3 is a massive hit-and-miss. In fact, it basically progresses like EVERY OTHER WAR GAME. You've got two alternate factions. First you have the Helghast, from the planet Helghan. From the fire-like goggles to the eerie masks, the Helghast are WICKED. On the other side, you play as Sev, on the alternate, slightly more annoying ISA, the faction from Earth's military. Sev returns from the second game, and, like the second game, Killzone 3 continues the questionable ending from the second, with the ISA soldiers holding off the Helghast.

The story is otherwise obvious, average at best, and feels like it could of been written at the last minute. Whereas games like the Halo franchise strives to create a hooking story that sucks you in with its excellent characterization and complex, exciting storyline, Killzone 3 does the exact opposite, making an average, low-budget war film story. The character development also feels a little weak. The beginning of the story, for which I won't reveal for spoilers, feels the most worthwhile, but the scriptwriting AND storytelling is generally slow and takes a hell of a lot of time to build on the player.

The second half of the game feels a little better than the slightly less tolerable first half. But from the first 15 minutes of the game, you'll know who the bad guy is, you'll know what the mission is, etc.

Action-wise, the single player experience does better. First of all, the weapons are given a really good improvement. From the M82 Assault Rifle to the Sentry Turret to the LS13 Shotgun, pressing the button to trigger the gun and blow off the Helghast's ugly, disgusting skulls in a burst of gross, crimson blood, the guns are entertaining and fun to use. Fighting with your fellow Marines is always a fun experience, no matter what the objective.

The difference between levels is also somewhat good. You're never doing the same thing over and over again, akin to the clumsy, but good Left 4 Dead series (although the game's very good, you're still doing the same thing, and that's killin' zombies and wasting health kits). Using the LS209 Exoskeleton (correct me if I'm wrong, fanatics), or raining turret fire on a vehicle, or piloting a kickass spaceship, the game's action is definitely kick-ass and definitely will appeal to action junkies.

The different environments will also help expand the diversity of exciting combat. Whether you're on a ship in the freezing tundra, or a windy, bleak wasteland, or invading the Helghast territory, Killzone is different. The situations are also different.

The real meat and potatoes of the package, though, is the award-worthy multiplayer.

The common Team Deathmatch on Killzone 3 is Guerilla Warfare. One team is on the ISA, the other team is on the Helghast side. Like in TDM, your team has to get enough kills to win the match. The mode is generally fun, and it can be just as annoying as usual online Deathmatches.

Warzone is for the patient players. Warzone can go up from 8-24 players on modes like Search and Destroy, Capture the Flag. The modes will constantly change, from hunting somebody, to stealing an objective, from a standard match, which very brief intermissions in between each game. Warzone can be time
consuming, in the best way to say, but also one of the most awarding.

Lastly, Operations deals with offensive-and-defensive modes, with ISA and Helghast, most of the time respectively.

In Killzone 3, you have the choice of five different classes: a Field Medic, who usually takes a Submachine Gun or Shotgun for a primary weapon, and a revolver for a secondary. They obviously have the ability to revive incapacitated players and help give them a boost with health kits. The Engineer class can take up a Light Machine Gun and Battle Pistol for the primary and secondary weapons. They can help repair broken turrets, ammunition-giving machines (dispensers, I believe?) and sentry guns. The Marksman class will have a rifle or sniper for the primary weapon, and a machine pistol for a secondary. The Marksmen help hide the team on the mini-map and cloak themselves, again not showing on the mini-map for a limited amount of time. The Tactician class has an SMG or a Machine Gun for a primary, and a Missile Launcher for a secondary. They can help do Reconaissance on the map, and can also help make spawn areas for tactic areas. Finally, the Infiltrator class (my personal favorite) will usually have an Assault Rifle for a primary, and a Missile Launcher for a secondary. They have the cool ability to cloak themselves as one of the opponents (like, if you're an ISA soldier, you can disguise yourself as a Helghast, and vice versa), and can increase stamina.

Killzone 3 also has an awesome unlock system, and you can take up side-jobs during multiplayer matches (kill x number of players, reach level x, capture x number of flags, win x number of matches) in order to get a better weapon, or upgrade your primary and secondary abilities.

And Killzone 3 is also compatible with Playstation Move, which recognizes player movement. This is my first introduction to the system, and, I have to say, I'm utterly unimpressed, but also quite intrigued. The shooting mechanics on Playstation Move is actually just as good as the SixAxis controls, if not a little more fun. The responding is also generally good. However, compared to the actual controls, anything else besides the shooting is ridiculous. Here's a mental note: NEVER reload during the move controls.

Killzone 3's god awful boring storyline (not to mention predictable) is usually forgettable. Even worse, there's no online cooperative capabilities. Playing through the single player storyline with a friend would of been great,
but that's not here.

Besides the Move controls, no co-op, bad characterization, and numerous plot holes, Killzone 3 is definitely a must-have for those wanting to continue the greatness. The multiplayer is just as good as you'd expect it to be,
and is up to the standards of Call of Duty and Halo. Highly recommended, for sure.

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