Guest Author - James Shea
Using a lot of resources from its predecessor, Killzone 3 has some interesting areas and ideas, but feels more like an expansion than a new game.
Picking up from the exact moment where Killzone 2 left off, Killzone 3 continues the war between the ISA and the gas-mask-clad Helghast. Despite the successes of KZ2, the war has taken a turn for the worse for the ISA, especially due to the powerful new weapons being developed by Helghast scientists. Killzone 3 uses these opportunities to explore several new environments - frozen wastes, alien forests, and high-tech research facilities. These new environments are fairly well done, especially the irradiated forests full of alien flora. However, the focus of the game hasn't changed much: it's still a linear cover-based shooter, and a lot of material (most of the graphics and weapons, for example) are recycled from Killzone 2.
There's some interesting new stuff, however. The most prominent new thing is the jetpack, obtained about halfway through the game. Rather than letting you fly infinitely, the jetpack is more like a jump-pack; you've got a limited amount of fuel before you have to recharge, so it's less for flying around the maps and more for strategic bounds and leaps. While it's not exactly perfect for a cover-based game, it does give you some inventive ways to get around obstacles, take out enemies, and complete objectives.
Another new feature is the melee system. In Killzone 2, the player had two melee options: the butt of their gun, or their knife. In Killzone 3, the butt of the gun is still available, but if you're close enough to an enemy you'll get a short animation of the player-character finishing them off with his knife or bare hands. It's quick, it's visceral, and it stays in first person so it's not distracting at all. In game terms it's not much more effective than the old system; it just looks better.
One minor change is that in single player, your AI partners are able to revive you if you go down. This was always possible in co-op (as in, players could revive each other if they were downed), but the AI didn't have that capability. One change made in lieu of this is that the missions tend to be much more lethal - I got through most of KZ2 without dying too much, but every mission in KZ3 got me killed over and over even on normal difficulty. It's a frustrating sort of difficulty too, where it's only hard because there's a hundred enemies shooting at you and your character refuses to fully duck behind cover. Playing through the game, it was easy to become frustrated simply due to the fact that the majority of failures were due more to the limitations of the character and less due to things I could control.
The game's multiplayer has been adjusted to be more like a standard team-based shooter. In KZ2, the multiplayer used riflemen as the "base" class and various upgrades - commanders, engineers, medics - as modifications. In KZ3, the only available classes are the specialized classes, and they unlock better things in a linear fashion as they get experience. The basic gameplay is still pretty much intact, for people who liked it in KZ2.
Overall, KZ3 feels like an expansion to KZ2. An expansion with a lot of content, sure, but an expansion nonetheless. It's got some grand, sweeping environments, and I liked the fact that they tried to depict new areas instead of the standard "grey/tan city", but overall it just felt like more of the same. 6/10.
Purchased with our own funds.
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