In most games, after you kill the bad guy, everybody lives happily ever after. It’s a nice dream, but in reality it rarely works like that. Killzone 3 has embraced this gaming anomaly and started the game with the death of the bad guy – in this case, the Visari, the vicious Helghast dictator. This creates a martyr for the Helghast people, with the head of the Helghast avenging his death. Politically, I find this story line quite interesting – it isn’t often you hear a storyline where the good guys set off a trail of events to escalate the bad guy’s actions, when in reality it is quite a fairly common event.
Killzone 3 takes place over a 3-month period, you play Sev, a soldier fighting for the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance against the Helghast. Of course, you aren’t the most popular soldier, but it’s actually your comrade Rico (who supports you through most of the game) who causes most of the animosity. Rico is a little impulsive, which is demonstrated at the start of the game when he kills the martyr Visari. This sets off a chain of events, which ends up with you stranded on a small base hiding from Helghast while trying to remain in contact with the ISA main base. During this time, the Helghast high command is falling apart and full of infighting, as they argue the best way to avenge Visari’s death. The missions take you from the jungles of Kaznan, to the oceans, high command and space.
This is where the game really excels. It is a visual masterpiece, and the artists have really excelled themselves. The environment is unique and really makes you feel like you are on another planet, the jungles are lush with unique native (and exploding) plants, unusual wildlife and winding cave environment. Even though the game is fairly linear, the routes are varied (this is something I really miss from most modern games). It isn’t just the jungle that is impressive, the junkyard is awesomely messy, spaceships are impressively space-shippery and the robots and mechanical weapons are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
In a game like this, story is everything, and Killzone 3 really doesn’t let you down, although the dialog might not be a Shakespearean masterpiece, it is competent and makes the story easy to follow. The only thing I could fault is that it was made a little too obvious what was going to happen a little early in the game. I would have like to see the storyline develop a little more as the game went on. In the first 30min of the game, you know who the bad guys are, who is devious, the commanding officer looking out for himself and of course your wildcard partner Rico.
You spend a lot of the game near Rico but not necessarily with him. Much of the game has him on side missions while you work alone. The missions are varied – at one stage you are involved in a stealth mission sneaking your way though Helghan on the hunt for a radio uplink, driving a armoured car or even flying a space ship or a personal flying unit. And of course there are plenty or run and gun episodes. I was really impressed with the gameplay, it kept me interested throughout the game with its varied environments and missions. I have to admit im a dirty sniper, so I like any game that I can sneak around and shoot people from a distance (yes I’m that guy who everybody hates in multiplayer games). Killzone 3 embraced that, It really mastered the art of needing the right weapon for the right job. Some missions are all about sniping, others using explosive rounds, and even rocket launchers. It’s very different to many games where you can just pick one weapon and use that for the entire game.
The game wasn’t flawless and overall it was very good, but there were some things that I really didn’t like. One of my biggest pet hates in modern games is pausing while it loads new content. In modern games there is just no excuse for it, especially one with as many cut-scenes as Killzone 3. There really is nothing as bad at breaking the immersion of a game than having the game freeze for a second mid-scene. Saying that the game ran smoothly when it wasn’t loading and I didn’t notice any clipping or other game anomalies, just those crazy loading pauses.
Killzone 3 should be considered a cinematic gaming masterpiece, at times it is like playing an interactive movie. The game has plenty of cut-scenes (great for immersion!), great characters and the story overall was polished. I hate to fault a title where cut-scenes played such a huge part of the game however some of the scenes I really wish I had actually played, even if that was via a quick-time event. I started getting so frustrated at the endless non-interactive cut-scenes that instead of being involved with the game, I found myself putting the controller down. This also broke the immersion in the game for me. This however wasn’t the overall norm, many of the scenes evolved plot elements crucial to the storyline of the game. These were great, the cameras were great, and although not completely realistic the character quality was perfectly suited.
Overall Killzone 3 was a great game, it wasn’t hugely long and there were some small issues I found with it, but not nearly enough to not recommend it. If you are a fan of the series or your looking for a good shooter with varied weapons and gameplay on the Playstation 3 this is a great title to look at. Not perfect, but pretty damn good.