Friday, March 4, 2011

Killzone 3 (PS3)

Note:  I decided t try making my review into easy bullet points.  This is just an experiment. Tell me if you think it works better than paragraphs.

Killzone 3
Guerrilla Studios

Story: Your army, the ISA, has just assassinated the monarch of Helghan, Vesari. Now you have to escape an entire planet of angry soldiers as the Helghast hunt you down.  You play as Sev.
Style:  Technical and passionate soldier talk and cliche' cinema moments where the soldiers disobey the captain's orders in order to save a life.  The bad guys act and look like cyberpunk Nazis.
Thoughts: It's Medal of Honor mixed with Gears of War.  An interesting twist, but everyone is so tough and gritty that there isn't really any soldier you are rooting for.

FPS Style: A open warfare shooter with auto healing.  You also have the ability to duck-and-cover behind objects.
Mission: You are asked to clear out or eliminate certain threats most of the time.  Mostly you are just pushing through an enemy line to kill something or blow something up.  Sometimes you will go into a turret tank, a mech or an Intruder to use the massive machine guns and take down the big craft.  The most unique experience is controlling the jetpack to get from place to place.
 Difficulty: Bullets fly from everywhere meaning that it's impossible to find a safe position.  It's very easy to be taken out with just a few headshots.  Checkpoints are merciful and some levels have Rico, your squadmate, rejuvenating you if you die.  Enemy warriors love to throw grenades at you.
Weapons: All the machine guns and shotguns feel heavy and tight and allow for very satisfying impact.  The rocket launcher and grenades seem to have poor impact.  Melee has been stylized so that you are either crushing someone's eyes or slitting their throat.
Coop: Finally KZ3 has some coop play for those who actually have non-digital friends and a second controller.  It's nothing fancy, you just play the campaign with a friend. 
Thoughts: The style is a balance of chaos and tight controls.  The vehicle levels add some monotany breakers.  While the mission structure seems heavy on the "kill something" plan, the good controls make it easy to bear.  The duck-and-cover system seems pointless because enemies can still shoot you behind cover.

Modes: You have 3 modes, Guerilla Warfare, Warzone and Operations.  Operations is the newcomer, setting up specific stages to have objectives from either the ISA or Helghast perspective.  Cinematic moments show whether your team is winning or losing.  The other two modes are a team deathmatch and a mode that combines a lot of mini missions for each team to accomplish.
Noob Friendly: It is so easy to die that the gameplay feels like the original Rainbow Six.  On the other hand it's easy for you to nail three people just by sneaking up on them.
Depth: Each character gets 5 roles to upgrade: Infiltrator, Medic, Tactician, Marksman and Engineer.  These borrow somewhat from Team Fortress 2 in that you get the power to disguise yourself, build turrets and heal others.  Every time you level up in your class you can spend career points to update your skills.   
Maps: You get an assortment of arctic, jungle and urban levels, but you will have to spend mucho dollars on the DLC if you want more.
Thoughts: Operations mode seems to be the most immerse gameplay, leading players to use their class skills and gun crazy ways to finish objectives.  Death is so sensitive that even shotgun blasts to the shoulder lead to death.  This works for you and against you.  It's easy to get into and easy to be a part of multiplayer, but I wish the disc had a few more maps or modes.

Graphics: Wide variety of linear locations ranging from the urban cities of the Helghan to the tropic Avatar world of the jungle.  Everything is sharp and color ridden.  The characters look a little pale sometimes in the cutscenes.
Sound: The voice track was glitchy on my game, leading NPC's to repeat what they were saying over and over.  Some of the lines of dialogue cut out before an NPC could finish a sentence.  The gunfire sound effects are really diverse and meaty.
Acting: Some of the lines feel like they were forced and it seems that 90% of the game is angry yelling soldiers, while the Helghast scenes are arguing and conniving Germans.
Framerate: Everything chugs along at a wonderful rate. 
Thoughts:  Graphics prove that PS3 knows how to treat their own games.  The scenery is stunning and worth the romp through endless bad guys.  Sound needs to be worked on in terms of acting and being non-glitchy.

Swearing: The military has quite an array of colorful language.
God's Name: Very misused.
Blood and Gore: The blood spattering and melee makes some very up close and personal gore.
Redemptive Value: The soldiers might be cliche in their actions, but they prove that they care and look out for each other.  They would even go as far to disobey orders to save another soldier's life.  This is a living lesson when Jesus says: "Greater love has no one then this, that they give up their life for their friends." John 15:13.  You might have to kill a lot of people to get there, but this game shows the sacrifice of one life to save another.
Thoughts: While the blood and bullet impact makes for some of the satisfying gameplay, I think that the combination of bad language and the toughness of the characters makes this game hard to recommend.  I think Resistance 2 and Modern Warfare 2 would be better options.

Final Word: You are definitely playing the PS3's finest here.  Even though the gameplay is far from new, at least Guerilla is one of the few companies putting next gen quality into their games.  Every game should feel like this.
Pros: Great controls and gun feel.  Beautiful graphic scenery.  Operations Mode.
Cons: Wooden acting.  Glitchy sounds.  Truck driver's mouth.
Recommended For: Starved PS3 fan, Fans of Gears of War and Call of Duty
Overall:  B-
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