It has been a busy week of gaming! Bulletstorm and Killzone releasing on the same day!? Well, you must forgive me for not having this up sooner, but I am doing what I can. I decided to review Bulletstorm first, but did my best not to neglect Guerrilla Games' newest title as well. While reviewing these two games back to back was a bit daunting, it also gave me a great grounds for comparison.
What did I think if Killzone 3? I think it is best to simply lay this on the table from the start: this is by far my favorite first person shooter to hit the Playstation 3. The game is fantastic on its own, but then when you throw in the awesome Sharpshooter/Move controls option, it just pushes everything one step further. I have never been a huge fan of the previous Killzone games, I will admit. But Killzone 3 really has surpassed its predecessors in more ways that one.
Helghast masks = "Shoot me in the face" signs.
You still play as I.S.A. Sargent Thomas Sevchenko, just like in the last game (Killzone 2), running around with your buddy Rico Velasquez while blasting through hordes of Helghast troops. The story in this game is not the best I have seen, but it is also far from the worst. You really get to know the characters in the story through rather lengthy cut scenes that feature some impressive voice acting and life like animations. I particularly enjoyed Ray Winstone's performance as Admiral Orlock, he did a fantastic job.
Aside from shooting machine guns and rocket launchers while ducking for cover and tossing grenades, this game will also have you driving vehicles and manning turret guns. While none of this is anything new or something we haven't seen in other games or previous versions of the Killzone series, it all adds to the experience and pacing of the game. I had a lot of fun piloting the jet pack, as I made daring leaps toward distant platforms and shooting at Helghast as I passed by.
Rocketeer to the rescue!
The campaign is around 8 to 10 hours in length, which is including the seventy minutes or so of cinematics and cut scenes. I had a great time playing through it, but the campaign is only a small portion of what this game has to offer. The multiplayer is really what makes this game shine and truly worthy of your hard earned cash. If you are an online FPS junkie, then this very well could be your new home for many months to come. There are plenty of unlocks and game modes to keep things fresh and exciting, plus if you ever start getting bored you can try your hand at the sharpshooter.
When you boot up the multiplayer from the main menu you can select from one of three game modes: Guerrilla Warfare, Warzones and Operations. While the Guerrilla Warfare option is simply team death match (and there is nothing wrong with that, mind you), the other options stir things up nicely. Most people seem to be playing the Warzones, and they are a favorite of mine as well. In Warzones you get to pick from five specialized classes such as Engineer, Infiltrator or Marksman and work with your team to complete randomly generated objectives such as assassinating a target, or destroying/defending designated choke points.
The ISA assault rifle is always a campaign favorite.
Each different class has a set of special abilities and starting weapons, which are somewhat reminiscent of Team Fortress, such as stealth cloaking, weapon turret construction and disguising yourself to look like an enemy player. There is also a leveling and ranking system which is similar to what we have seen in games like Call of Duty, racking up points as you kill players and help to complete various objectives. You can then use these points to unlock new starting weapons and abilities for the five different classes. This whole system allows you to really create the ultimate online killing machine of your dreams, tailored to your play style. It also provides you with a great motivation to keep coming back for more.
Say hello to my BOOMSTICK!
If you are playing the game with the standard Playstation Sixaxis controller, then you will be happy to know that the controls haven't really changed, feeling extremely precise and perfected. While you will still have a great time with this game if you are playing it with the classic controler, I highly recommend giving the sharpshooter a try. There is a rather substantial acclimation period that you will have to go through in order to get the hang of things, this is true. But once you start to get it down, you are in for a real treat. With a little practice, you might find yourself reaching for the sharpshooter rather than the ol'dual sticks, even when you go to compete online. These are hands down the best controls that I have seen in a motion controlled shooter like some of the Wii's titles. You actually feel like you are hold the gun in your hands and are part of the action, which adds an awesome level of immersion to the whole experience.
Shooting these idiots out of the sky never gets old.
While I will admit that when I first got home with the game and tried the sharpshooter out, I was extremely disappointed and was afraid I had just wasted a fair amount of money on something that didn't meet my standards. I was happy to find that my criticisms were unfounded, as the sharpshooter continues to impress me. I remember feeling frustrated as I spun helplessly about in circles, trying to orient myself. But thankfully, with extended play sessions, it really started to grow on me. The controls are so precise that I had been overcompensating. (I guess I was used to my Wii.)
The graphics are excellent, but I have come to expect no less from a Playstation exclusive these days. Although there is not a huge variation in the types of environments you will see, the dark and rubbled home planet of the Helghast looks fantastic. These graphics are much better than what I have seen in the 'Resistance' games, but that is just my opinion. I also noticed that you can really see the bullet impacts in this game, as enemies jerk and twitch with each bullet you shoot at them. I addition to this, there are some great atmospheric effects like smoke and squirreling dust clouds that I found to be very impressive.
Luckily this mini gun fits in my pocket whenever I need to switch weapons.
So in conclusion, this is the the best experience I have had (and will likely continue to have) with a shooter on my Playstation. This game has just as much to offer as shooters like Call of Duty and Halo, while also stacking the option for awesome motion controls on top of it all, resulting in something truly unique and special. Killzone 3 packs a serious punch and is most certainly worth the price of admission, even if you have to pick up the Playstation Move and Sharpshooter in addition to the game itself. Turning off all the lights, cranking up the volume and blasting away at some Helghast with the sharpshooter in your hands is really something that every gamer should experience for themselves. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
p.s. My ranking of this game is including the sharpshooter and all of its features. I'd perhaps shave off a point or so without it, for an: 8.8
Sources and relevant links:
http://www.killzone.com/kz3/en_US/home.html Killzone website.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7cYICxbb6A Sharpshooter demo video.
Screen shot source.
http://www.restarttheuser.com/2011/03/killzone-3-review.html Fellow blog review.
Up next: I will be reviewing the new Dead Space 2 DLC content pack: 'Severed.' Be on the look out!