So here we are yet again. Another game for the Project Backlog vault. This game is kind of a cheat when it comes to Project Backlog because it was actually released in 2011 and I said I wasn’t going to buy any new games until I had completed all my current games. Well luckily for me birthday presents don’t count and am I glad that they don’t. When I got this game I was so happy because I have enjoyed the first two games and even consider Killzone 2 to be my game of 2010. I wrote a very long review of it for this site (here) and as a result this is going to be a rather small review from me because I’ve already said much about this game series in that review. I even enjoyed the first one which is something that many would deem impossible so it was with great optimism that I inserted this game into my ps3 and thankfully I was not disappointed.
When the preview for this game was first released to the general public at E3 it showed a game set at a blistering pace and, while this is nothing new, the fact that it also had 1080p graphics made my jaw hit the floor. My jaw was quickly set back into its place though when I found out that this was cut scene footage and not in game footage. I, like many others, was sceptical that Sony could deliver on this promise but I’m rather glad to say that they delivered on it and then some. To say that Killzone looks stunning would not be doing Killzone justice. The graphics, although grey and black, have so much detail that you could be forgiven for thinking that your looking through a window. This grey and black aesthetic may not be to everyone’s taste but I found it rather good for three reasons. Firstly this grey and black look really makes colour pop, when you seen colour you stop and you take notice. This is really useful considering the Helghast eyes are orange and this colour makes them a lot easier to spot in a heated battle. Secondly it really sets the mood, this is a military shooter not a mario game. When was the last time you saw a colourful tank or military building? Was the answer never? I thought so. Third, it really makes the character design pop and as I said in my earlier Half Life 2 review. Character design goes a long way to making a game believable (review here). I also claimed that Half Life 2’s graphics were the benchmark that all future games would be judged upon and I think it’s fair to say that Killzone takes graphics all the way up to eleven and will become my new benchmark.
The story of Killzone 3 follows directly on from Killzone 2. Now when I played Killzone 2, I spoke about how the story wasn’t very original but I felt that it was complete. It finished with Visari’s death and the ISA declaring victory, but it appears as though that was not the case. It appears that the death of Visari just led to a power struggle and our bruised and battered soldiers must battle their way off the planet and get back to Earth, while simultaneously stopping the mass destruction of Earth. While all this is happening there is a power struggle following the death of Visari and who will be his successor. This is still not a very original story but thanks to some fantastic voice acting, not just good voice acting for a video game, this is good voice acting period. This is the Die Hard of video games. Not very original but if you sit back and watch it’s guaranteed to be fun. Although I enjoyed this story, I found it be very short and it left me wanting more. After such a brilliant climax that somehow managed to show the atrocities of war and left the story open for a sequel, I can’t wait for Killzone 4, which I’m sure is a guaranteed thing at this point.
The scale of this game both in story and gameplay is immense yet somehow remains quite grounded. The story is truly interplanetary and is up there with some of the best stories in video games ever. Not quite up to Metal Gear Solid levels but still very good. This scale can also be seen in the use of vehicles and their ability to level entire buildings with a single shot. These mechanised battles were huge in scale with so many things going on at once but were usually proceeded by more small scale building to building type dog fighting. This is a more realistic form of fighting in games.
The gameplay is more evolutionary than revolutionary. What i mean by that, is that, like the story, this game does very little new but what it does do, it does very well. Its your standard first person shooter fair. You kill lots of men, you move on, kill another load of men with a new weapon and so on. Killzone does try to reinvent the wheel though, with the vehicle that it asks you to use. You have tanks, walkers and finally a jet fighter. You spend nearly half the game in some vehicle and although it’s more realistic, I found it a little button mashie. Even if I did enjoy the scale of it. I sometimes felt this mechanic was a little over used but the variety in vehicle made up for that.
To say this game is stunning is not doing this game justice, if the worse thing I or anyone else can say about a game is that it’s too short then it’s a game you want play. The graphics look superb and the periodic splashes of colours really grab your attention. This coupled with the solid gameplay and right level of scale makes this a perfect game.