I don’t know about you, but it feels like ages since I was last doing my part in the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance. Back in 2009 Killzone 2 was a flagship sequel for PlayStation gamers, and it has proven to be a great success for its Dutch developers, Guerrilla Games. Two years on and with some serious development time, Killzone 3 breaks down our doors once again, and all is good with the world!
Killzone 3 kicks straight off from the events in the previous game. Once again you play the game’s protagonist, Sev, who [spoiler alert!] has defeated Radec and killed the Helghast dictator, Visari. With Visari removed it has left the Helghast Empire in a state of internal struggle, and whilst this is going on it is down to Sev and his comrade Rico to fight alongside each other in order to escape the cross-fire that has ignited between the various political factions and stop a Helghast invasion of Earth.
The single player campaign has you visiting various harsh and baron landscapes, which brings much more variety than the cityscape environments that spanned the Killzone 2 campaign. You do encounter some urban action, but it is very little. The rest of your Helghast encounters take place in and around nuclear wastelands, alien jungles and arctic sea compounds. Throughout the single player campaign every stage brings new terrain, which keeps things fresh and gives a sense of adventure and progression in the story. In true Killzone fashion the order of the day is to kill Helghast, lots of them, and from start to finish you do plenty of that, whether that be through using the various weapons in your arsenal, to operating Mechs, manning stationary guns, and seeing as Halo recently did it we may as well go into space too!
Killzone 3’s story grips you from start to finish, it shakes you around and spits you out at the end; it is a trilling ride. All the way through until the credits you could say I was pretty hooked, so much so that I could not put it down and had completed the single player campaign in one single day - which is quite a feat for me! Expect around six to seven hours’ worth of gameplay on normal mode, which may seem short, but boy were those hours fun! Some of that time is taken up with some lengthy but very well crafted cut scenes, quite a few in fact, but neither of them seemed unnecessary or skip worthy. Each cut scene nudges your adventures along whilst also showing the conflict (and fall) of the Helghast Empire. At times there were scenes which would have made some great in-game set pieces, but sadly you are left to observe theses cinematic experiences hands-off.
Graphically, Killzone 3 certainly delivers in spades. Like its previous titles in the series, Guerrilla Games has rinsed the capabilities of the PlayStation 3 yet again and served up a delicious feast for your eyes. Characters throughout the game remain detailed and are showcased at their best during the game’s many cinematic cut scenes. Your journey from start to finish varies in landscape and terrain, each bringing with them a convincing and very natural feel to the level design.
In the audio department, the musical score that runs throughout Killzone 3 could have easily been lifted straight from a Hollywood blockbuster. There were moments where I caught some heavy Star Wars influences, but still, that isn’t a bad thing to be compared by; it just shows how superb the cinematic audio is in this game. As audio effects go your ears are also well and truly catered for, where each weapon has a satisfying punch of bass to them that will send the pictures on your walls rumbling.
A line-up of star-studded cast sews up Killzone 3’s audio prowess. With vocal talents from Britain’s finest cockney geezer - Ray Winstone, who plays Admiral Orlock, and Malcolm McDowell lends his talents for the rouge Jordan Stahl. Both Ray and Malcolm play their characters superbly, as does the rest of the cast playing Sev, Rico and the other members of the ISA and members of the Helghast high council. Altogether they make playing through Killzone 3 a very film-like experience that is a joy to watch and does well to break up the running and gunning moments.
Killzone has been a renowned multiplayer game for PlayStation gamers over the years and in its third outing of the franchise its online part of the game is truly fulfilled here too. Be ready to have your bottom handed to you on a platter from many kids that are half your age, across many maps and game mode types. There are eight multiplayer maps ready to hunt your prey and fine-tune your headshot counts in. With its maps, its unlocks, the medals, ribbons and scores to rank up with, there is enough in Killzone 3’s multiplayer aspect of the game to see you playing for weeks, maybe even months if you are more of a casual gamer.
As I have explained earlier in this review, the campaign is fairly standard in length when compared to most titles that have recently released. You could venture back through the game if you wish to tackle higher difficulties and shed more life in the single player campaign. It is also worth noting that you can play through the campaign in split-screen mode with another local buddy, however I see this mode as a mere value ad to the game than a killer feature - it might have been a killer feature if its developers allowed you to play this mode online however. The longevity in this game mostly lays in its multiplayer modes.
So to wrap this review up, let’s ask that all-important question: Should you buy Killzone 3? Well, let me put it this way; if you have a PlayStation 3, then without a doubt, you need to experience its single player campaign. If you are not going to touch the multiplayer then given this game’s campaign length, as much as I hate to suggest it, then maybe a rental would be your best choice. Whichever way you wish to enjoy Killzone 3, be it single player campaign, multiplayer, or both, I thoroughly recommend picking up a copy and slaying some Helghast, you won’t regret it!