I will be the first to admit that I am generally a bit naff at shooters, in particular the Call of Duty series which to me just does not ‘feel’ right as you skip and float across the landscape like you have helium heels. Killzone 2 was too skewed the other way and felt too heavy, as if you were wearing iron amour, but the first thing I noticed about Killzone 3 is that the character’s weight has been tweaked further, making your fighter slightly lighter and nimble but still weighty enough to feel like a real person.
So, the beta: it looks fantastic, the sound has been jammed up to 11 and everything you know and love from Killzone 2 is there but with two year’s worth of extra polish. Join me as we become cheeky schoolboys and lift the skirt of this Killzone 3 multiplayer taster and have a peak at her panties. Or something.
The New Classes:
There have been some minor tweaks to the old Killzone 2 favourites; The Engineer no longer has the shotgun, that now belongs to the Infiltrator (A.K.A. Saboteur) and the Medic now has his own medic-drone.
Each class now has three levels per perk rather than Killzone 2’s single perk. For example the Engineer can now make turrets, then construct turrets with rockets with the final upgrade granting an ability to hack enemy turrets and turn them against their owners. Other tweaks include a fully perked Marksman now having an infinite cloak and suprisingly, the Tactician has lost the ability to drop spawn points.
Kill streaks, XP and Badges:
The XP is system is the biggest change from Killzone 2. You no longer score one point for a kill you score one hundred points, score fifty for a turret kill, twenty-five for an assisted kill, repairs and healing grant you fifty. On top of this Killzone now has kill streaks but getting five kills in a row does not grant you the ability to launch a stupidly powerful nuke at the enemy, it simply increase the score you get for a kill.
Badges are no longer awarded at the end of a match but now pop up during the game with the added benefit of becoming mini perks. One is “Silent Steps” which gives your Helghan warrior a pair of invisible pink fluffy bunny slippers so he can creep up behind an enemy without being heard.
At the end of the match the game summary will list your achievements and you will gain extra XP for having the most kills, the most headshots etc. Your total XP is then added up and as you score moves up so does your rank.
In Killzone 2 you had to reach a certain rank to unlock a character – for example you had to rack up a good few hours playtime before you could unlock the Saboteur. In the Beta all classes are unlocked but their default perks are pretty weak. As you progress through the ranks you gain unlock points and you can spend these on any of the classes and unlock the abilities in the order you chose. You can also unlock new weapons and secondary weapons.
The New Maps:
One thing that has always annoyed me about most multi player games – Killzone 2 included – is that the maps are pretty much symmetrical. This is obviously done so no team has the upper hand. The Killzone 3 maps are not, they are massive, multi layered sprawling terrains with hundreds or places you to creep up behind the enemy and stab them in the head. The Beta multi player map is set on a dam and you can run about on the decking, on the frozen seas or inside the building itself.
Like everything else this has had a few tweaks. The guns are now louder and punchy and the sound is occluded perfectly – in other words if you are outside a building and someone is inside then you hear muffled shots. There replacement Helghast commander sounds rather generic compared to Visari’s menacing voice but that may be a place holder actor.
When standing next to the sea the waves crash and the wind howls across the landscape setting the scene perfectly. Making a welcome return is the familiar “Tweeki!” noise when you score a kill and the drones and turrets sound the same as ever.
Killzone 3 will be joining Gran Turismo 5 and Uncharted 2 in the fight for ‘best looking PS3 game ever’. The dam level features constantly swirling snow and it looks like snow – not white dots or squares. Massive waves crash upon the sea shore and you leave footprints across the drifts. All the classes have been redesigned and the new melee kill animations are wonderful – nothing like creeping up behind someone and stabbing them in the eye!
The Corinth Highway map that can be played as a single player vs. Bots game is drenched in oranges and yellows and in the distance a massive mechanical quadruped can be seem stomping a city to dust. Jet craft streak overhead bringing the map to life. Remember when playing Uncharted 2 you sometimes just stopped and gazed at the gorgeous view? You will do that in Killzone 3.
One thing Killzone 3 does is show up just how old and creaky the Unreal engine has become. I booted up ‘Transformers: War For Cybertron’ after playing Killzone 3 and it looks terrible in comparison.
All the improvements are actual improvements and not change for change sake. It looks stunning, sounds brilliant and as quite of lot of you are about to find out, plays like a dream.
Do remember this is a Beta and there are one or two bugs all of which have been reported back to Guerrilla who are busy fixing them. These are minor glitches and will be fixed before release, Killzone 3 will not contain moonwalking dogs or twisty-headed devil men.
Personally I cannot wait until February when the full game comes out, Killzone 3 is an absolute day one purchase for me and as I said at the top, I really can’t stand shooters.
See you on Helghan!