Enter the Zone
Killzone 3 is the latest entry is this first person shooter series for the PS3. It has surpassed the previous two titles in terms of scope, technical achievement, and downright fun. It takes place in a near future where you get to use unique weapons in a setting unlike anything you'll find in other FPS games. This game also has full support for the PlayStation Move game controller. Learn more about it's features in this Killzone 3 review.
Single Player Campaign (4 out of 5)
The single player campaign in Killzone 3 is sort of hit and miss. While I have found it to be exciting and offers a lot of variation in gameplay from getting to fly vehicles to planting bombs, the difficulty is amped up a little more than I expected. Many scenarios required me to replay through them several times because I kept getting killed by enemies I could not see. Later on in this review, I will give more detail on the graphics, but for the single player portion there were many times where I just couldn’t see the enemy. Because of this, I had to replay certain battles enough times that I memorized where they were hiding and was then able to take them out. I also felt like my rifle wasn’t accurate enough, like when I see part of an enemy’s head behind a wall but I can’t quite hit them despite the crosshairs being dead on.
All complaints about the difficulty aside, I liked how the gameplay changed up from mission to mission. You will spend most of the time doing basic FPS stuff like taking out heavy gun placements or just mowing down countless enemies. However, there was some fun stuff like getting to use a jet pack or manning the guns on a flying troop transport. The game does employs some sneak levels that I wasn’t particularly fond of, but you aren’t required to sneak if you don’t want. It’ll be much harder for you, though.
This game also has a co-op game mode, but unfortunately I can’t get my wife to play with me so I have not been able to test it out.
Multiplayer (5 out of 5)
The main reason I buy first person shooter games is to play online because this is where the game’s true value lies. While most FPS games include a single player portion that can be finished in 8-12 hours, the online multiplayer action is what keeps you coming back. It’s why I still play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 because I think it has the best maps and weapons of all the shooters on the PS3. This game also offers a solid multiplayer experience thanks to nicely laid out maps that feature tons of hiding places, but no place truly safe from enemy fire. The maps you play online are made up of portions of scenes you’ll play through in the single player campaign, though you don’t need to play that campaign to get more out of the multiplayer action.
For every kill you make, experience points are earned. You’ll also get XP from doing feats like healing friendly units, melee kills, and so on. At the end of the match, your experience points will be added up and you have the potential to gain levels which allow you to unlock better weapons and abilities in the game. This gives you the incentive to put some time into playing online so you can unlock the better stuff and be more competitive. For more information on the weapons available in this game, check out my Killzone 3 Weapon Guide.
Note: At the time of this writing, the Sony PlayStation Network has been offline for more than a week since it was revealed that hackers had compromised the system. As such, you will not be able to play this game or any other online until Sony retools their security and puts the PSN back online.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
The graphics in Killzone 3 are amazing, but this should come as no surprise. The character models for the ISA guys look great and each one has a unique face with very articulated features. The Helghast generals look like Nazis or Russians from the WWII era and all carry heavy scars on their faces and speak in accents that really adds to the villainy. The vehicles you encounter, from large tank-like machines to Mechwarrior style walking robots, are all very well detailed with lots of moving parts.
Attention to details is obvious throughout the gameplay, but in some ways I think the game suffers from too much detail. As previously mentioned in my critique of the single player campaign, there are many times where I simply couldn’t see who was shooting at me. While you are playing, your screen will constantly be filled with stuff floating through the air, explosions, and red flashes whenever you are hit. It makes for a visually engrossing experience, but at the same time it distracts from the gameplay in a way that I think somewhat hinders the game. On the multiplayer levels, it’s not quite so bad since you usually won’t have so many people shooting at you at once.
Sound (5 out of 5)
Since the entire game takes place inside a warzone, you can expect a noisy gaming experience. You’ll constantly be hearing guns and explosions go off, plus the enemy occasionally talks to each other and gives you cues. Your fellow soldiers also tend to argue a lot, and overall I found the voice acting to be well done. A nice musical score comes on at the right moments to help add to the mood.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) (4 out of 5)
For the most part, the AI in this game is very good. Enemies almost never rush you, but instead hide behind things and wait for the right moment to shoot. This means you have to do the same thing. There isn’t much tactical about the gameplay since it is pretty linear, so instead it becomes more about knowing when to shoot and when to duck.
The only major problem I had with the AI was when it comes to healing. If you get shot down and a friendly unit is nearby, they will heal you with a type of healing ray gun. The problem is that they’ll heal you while still under enemy fire, so what happens is you’ll get shot, get healed, then get shot back down before you can react to the enemy who is still firing as you get healed again. This happened to me several times during the single player campaign.
Overall (4 out of 5)
I really like Killzone 3 and think it is a great first person shooter. Although I still think Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is better, I think this game surely gives the Call of Duty series some serious competition. It offers plenty of improvements over the last game, and I hope Sony doesn’t take too long to get the PlayStation Network back up so I can play online again.
- Challenging gameplay
- Excellent graphics
- Great online multiplayer action
- Dumb friendly AI at times
- Enemies that hide too well
- Minor aiming issues
- Author's personal gaming experience
- All screenshots courtesy of Killzone.com
- See also: Killzone 3 Weapons Guide