What Killzone 3 Means To Me

I’ll start by letting you in on a little secret: I didn’t really enjoy Killzone 2. If I had reviewed it myself I think I would have pointed out that it was a beautiful game which was filled with tense set pieces and a gritty realism that is often missing from shooters. I would have joined in with the praise being heaped on it everywhere else, not because I’m a hypocrite but because I can see how and why it’s a good game. I just didn’t really enjoy it personally. That’s so often my job when I’m reviewing games: see how they achieve success or failure and comment on that, rather than on my own personal tastes.

going into the game cold

I was still looking forward to Killzone 3 though, its release is an event on the gaming calendar and seeing so many other people getting excited always raises my interest levels. Except for a very brief run through the demo with the default Move controls, I was basically going into the game cold. Killzone 3’s hype machine was only barely on the periphery of my gaming radar because I was caught up with other titles and other tasks.

Now my promo disc is here and I found myself with a couple of hours to spare over the weekend. I slipped the disc in and booted up the game as I settled back into a chair and prepared to form a very poorly reasoned and totally enjoyable opinion. And now, because I’m feeling a little self indulgent, I’m going to share that opinion with you.

one of the most engaging, enveloping games

This game is the most beautiful, visceral, encapsulating visual spectacle I’ve ever had the good fortune to play. Sure, the facial animations and character models might not be as finely tuned as Uncharted 2’s. I have experienced one or two frame rate stutters when there’s a lot going on. It’s not perfect. What game is? I’ll tell you something though, Killzone 3 is one of the most engaging, enveloping games I’ve played in a long time.

The background textures, physical world and – for want of a better expression – set design, are all stunning. Skin textures are breathtaking on the craggy-faced Helghan war council and, even though eyes and hair remain slight stumbling blocks, the characters are fantastically real in their posture and motion. It really is one of the most beautifully distressed, inhabited and detailed video games I’ve ever seen.

The sound, too, is almost flawless. There is a constant hum of industrial life around the opening levels and when you move from the harsh, urban war zone to a slightly more peaceful setting the background hum becomes an organic, living bed of noise that the more traditional game sounds can lie on. The incidental voice work in the Helghast is a little stilted at times, although cutscenes and main characters are all very good so far. Sev is a particularly believable protagonist and his voice and scripting lends an everyman quality which is always a huge benefit in a leading character.

compelling, engaging and interesting

I will stress that I’m only in the early stages and I certainly wouldn’t offer my own embryonic opinions as equals to those of Alex who has finished and reviewed the entire game but from what I’ve seen so far, the criticisms of the narrative I have read around the web are entirely unfounded. There will have to be gaping holes and terrible twists in the exposition later on to negate the stellar storytelling that I’ve witnessed so far. Certainly, it’s not wholly original, borrowing concepts from many sci-fi and military contemporaries, but it is compelling, engaging and interesting.

Everything in Killzone 3 is faster than its predecessor. Much has been made of the speedier controls and I am entirely in support of those changes. Not that Killzone 2 was any less enjoyable for its weightier motion, I just feel that a little more speed in your turn and aim controls can make things seem a touch more exciting and responsive. It’s not just the controls that are faster either, everything seems a little more sprightly. Enemies rush you a little quicker, AI squad mates are faster to come to your support and the dynamic elements of the scenery are all briskly tripping along without a superfluous frame of animation to be seen.

the best FPS I’ve played since Half Life 2

My early experience with Killzone 3 has been one of wonder, awe and unconfounded love. I went in to it expecting the same heavy, over-the-top cheese-fest that was Killzone 2 and I found something that had tuned every element of its previous success to become a precise and enriched experience that I am now desperate to get back to. My knee jerk reaction, as someone who was not so keen to worship at the altar of its predecessor, is that this is by some margin the best first person shooter I’ve played since Half Life 2. That’s really the highest praise I could heap upon it.

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46 Comments

  1. Glad to hear your enjoying it, maybe you’d enjoy joining a boot or two online with the regulars? :D

  2. Got the game today and I am having a great time with the single player, it flows well and there is great variety in what you are doing, something Killzone 2 only slightly hinted at.

    It looks amazing, the sound through my 5.1 headset has been glorious, and the action has been non-stop.

    The single player experience, so far, is as good as any I have found in a FPS.

    • Sorry, also wanted to add, the changes in the control scheme are great, it still has the weight that makes it killzone but the movement is very satisfying.

  3. From what I played of the Beta I just see multiplayer as a sci-fi COD. Didn’t enjoy it that much. Single player demo was great though so might pick it up. Reviews are certainly forever praising.

  4. Will buy this when the game gets a price drop

  5. Cannot wait – Morrisons 10.00am in Leeds – will be nipping out of work for this boomer!!

  6. i love killzone its amazing the only thing that annoys me in it is still rico

  7. i fully agree with what you have said,i usually dont like fps games as they are all usually the same but killzone 3 is remarkable,i love every aspect of it.from the moment i heard the theme in the menu display i was certain that this game would be great.so far it has surpassed everything i thought it would be and more,it is truly remarkable and is without a doubt the best fps game i have played in this generation of consoles.

  8. good read cb. will get my copy in the morning looking forward to playing it.

  9. Great little article – I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Asda tomorrow morning for me, I can not wait! I’m still furious that Eurogamer marked Bullet Storm higher, I’m sure it’s a fun game, but I can not accept that it can beat KZ3. Preposterous!

    • Bulletstorm ha ha ha, from what I have seen its not even worthy of being in the same sentence as the almighty Killzone :-)

      • Is it that hard to accept that different people have different opinions? It’s a sad world we live in.

      • then you are making that mistake your self that is his opinion KeRaSh.

    • good point skibadee.

  10. Best FPS since Half Life 2?! That really is extremely high praise from you CB. Really looking forward to my copy coming tomorrow, even though I have plenty of other stuff I should be doing!

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