Killzone 3 Hands-on Preview22 Dec 2010
It’s looking to be another sequel filled year and some of gaming’s biggest titles are out in full force. That doesn’t necessarily mean 2011 is going to be a bad year, just a familiar one. Everyone’s predicting 2011 to be a better year for the PS3, in terms of exclusives, with many fan favourites making a return to the Sony console. Guerilla Games arrived early for Christmas, giving me a short preview of Killzone 3.
Seeing that Killzone 3 is shaping up to be one of the PS3’s most anticipated exclusives, you can only imagine how high expectations are. And it’s this exact reason as to why my playthrough of the demo only left my feelings tied. Did I enjoy it or was it just the same as last time? Back again I went, playing through the 20 minute demo several times. What makes this game tick?
You take control of Seth, a Special Forces operative who finds himself stranded on the Helghast homeworld. Taking place straight after the events of Killzone 2, Seth and the remainder work their way through the Helghast armies, attempting to dish out some real damage on what appears to be a suicide mission.
Dropped straight into the action, the demo starts with Seth and co clearing out trenches infested with Helghast troops. The path is clear and you’ll find yourself running down, shooting Helghast in the face until you hit your next checkpoint. The game is stunning and while the environment is near identical to the browns, greys and oranges of Killzone 2, the sheer scale of the game is exciting to look at. While you are running down a corridor, the amount of action taking place around you is enough to distract you from your obvious path. Helghast jump from corners, snipe your from above and attack from behind and it’s a real thrill feeling like your part of a huge war rather than your small team doing all of the work.
The gameplay feels a lot tighter than its predecessor but you’ll still be jumping into the options and playing around with the sensitivity until it’s just right. The default settings feel sluggish and getting a good aim still feels more of a chore than it needs to be. Reloading takes over your screen depending on your weapon of choice, at one point I was reloading an assault rifle to find that I couldn’t actually see what was going around as the reloading animation blocked my view, something that will become a real annoyance for those who enjoy running and gunning. More cautious players will be happy to see the return of the cover system, which feels much springier this time around, allowing you to jump in and out of cover with ease.
Cut scenes are overly dramatic and masculine, just as you would expect. The voice work is superb and while the dialogue is a little cliché when it comes to anything about war, it certainly gets the message across. There was only one real cringe moment to speak of during the preview but it really reels in the feeling and contemplates the sheer magnitude of the environment and war.
Which brings me onto the best bit of the preview, and that was going up against a huge ass Helghan mech. You start on the ground shooting up missiles to various points on the mech. It’s dramatic, deadly and dominating. The battle takes place in stages, where you fire at weaker points on the ship all while taking cover from the artillery strikes and fighting off Helghast troops who try to thwart your plans. You’ll eventually take control of the air and start blasting at it from above while a war still wages down below. You’ll soon start flying around the huge mech taking out various other guns and cooling panels on the beast until it finally falls to its knees. The whole sequence is simple, maybe, but certainly effective. The rush of achievement you feel after taking it down is short lived however when you return to normal one on one fights. After a few more plays of the demo, it started to become apparent how much fun I was having during a huge scale mech battle and how monotonous the brown, grey corridors get when you’re on the ground.
In essence, Killzone 3 is, at most, another a corridor shooter, but one with enough distractions in visuals and sound to tease the player into believing they have more freedom than there actually is. The huge mech battle certainly changed the pace enough to stop you feeling like you are just following the path. Hopefully if these sequences are frequent enough it’ll make Killzone 3 worth the hype its receiving.