Graphics:
9.1
Gameplay:
9.2
Sound:
9.4
Control:
8.9
Replay Value:
9.0
Online Gameplay:
9.0
Overall Rating:
9.1
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
Guerrilla Games
Number Of Players:
1-32
Genre:
FPS


In our eyes, Killzone 2 represented an evolution in the first-person shooter category, due primarily to the core mechanics and unparalleled visual presentation. That heaviness, the feel of an elite soldier weighed down with a massive amount of equipment, is what set it apart. Now, to be fair, Killzone 3 is one of the most polished, intense experiences you will ever have this generation, but it almost feels as if Guerrilla Games made a concession of sorts. In other words, they saw the immense success of Call of Duty , fielded all the complaints about “dead spots” in KZ2, and overreacted. So, they went and “lightened” KZ3 to the point where it feels too much like any other FPS. Still, it remains a step ahead due to that aforementioned refinement, stellar AI, wonderful balance and pacing, a fantastically satisfying campaign, and excellent multiplayer.

I have to start with a small caveat when analyzing the graphics. Perhaps it’s because three years have passed since KZ2, or maybe it’s because Guerrilla implemented some sort of shading or coloring style that doesn’t quite agree with me. The detail is amazing, to be sure, but facial animations during cut-scenes aren’t overly impressive, and there seems to be an overabundance of black and silver. However, some of that is subjective and the bottom line is that, overall, KZ3 is indeed a graphical tour de force: the environments are meticulously designed, there’s actually a fair amount of variety, special effects are top-notch, and the animations are some of the best you’ll ever see. It’s the whole package that stands head-and-shoulders above the competition, just because of the attention paid to every tiny visual element. With every step, you see another example of gargantuan effort on the part of the developers.

The technical aspects of the sound are just as good, if not better, although I’m still not a fan of some voices. Sev is solid and so are a few other main characters, but for some reason, I thought the Helghast side sported much better voiceover work than the ISA side. In terms of soundtrack and effects, Killzone remains the cream of the crop. No other shooter can equal KZ3 in regards to diverse, fitting, and supremely effective music selections, and no other shooter has this beautiful, memorable blending of combat effects. In short, no FPS battle sounds quite as good as a KZ3 battle, and that’s the long and short of it. There’s an urgency and a crispness to every gunshot and explosion, and the cries of the combatants are just plain invigorating. The soundtrack is a nice mix of pumping orchestral tracks, which serves to complement most any situation. With the exception of a few lackluster voices, the sound is a major highlight, and I can’t stress that enough.

You know what a shooter is and few require a control explanation. Therefore, let’s just start with what I mentioned in the intro: the mechanics alteration. But lest I give the wrong impression, let me be clear about one thing before the elaboration- in comparison to the competition, the basic control is basically blameless and almost entirely without fault. One could argue that developers have long since mastered the foundation of the FPS, but this is still worth noting. But when we think of Killzone , especially after what KZ2 accomplished, we tend to envision a higher bar. Personally, I had hoped to see a simple honing and refining of the “heaviness” found in this game’s predecessor, but what we got was, in my eyes, an overcompensation. It’s still not exactly like the slick, speedy, sliding-on-glass feeling of CoD, though; there is more weight involved.

While I’m on the subject of perceived drawbacks, I should also add that I’ve been pondering the cover system for the past few days. It works well but I’m wondering if it’s even necessary… Firstly, I don’t think it’s a great idea to have the crouch and cover button be the same (L2), and secondly, I’ve been killed several times because I was “stuck” in cover. You really sort of adhere to the obstacle that’s providing cover and that can pose some issues. Also, when you zoom in with R3 while popping out of cover, you remain exposed unless you hit L2 again. It’s just a teensy bit awkward and after a while, I found I just wasn’t using it that often. We’re all so used to playing shooters a certain way that I keep thinking a cover mechanic is best restricted to third-person games. Oh, and finally, I don’t find the story to be all that impressive, but it has its moments. No spoilers here.

With all that out of the way, I’m happy to say that Killzone 3 is an accomplishment of the highest order. The balance and pacing puts this one amongst the elite titles of the generation; one minute you’re in a pitched, chaotic battle (hoping the controller doesn’t slip out of your sweaty hands), and the next, you’re sneaking about in the dark, knifing unsuspecting Helghast and executing perfectly timed head shots. The first one and a half to two hours consist of the most engrossing, rewarding gameplay you’ll ever have the pleasure to sample. You’ll deal with competent snipers, get tossed into a trench with flamethrower-toting enemies on the rim, pilot a futuristic killing machine, and slink through the grass, avoiding detection. You’ll then embark on what seems to be a suicide mission, which includes manning a mini-gun in mid-flight and testing out those nifty jetpacks.

The unbelievable environments and the challenge the Helghast AI presents keeps us involved; you really can’t let your attention slide. I liked the addition of the ammo crates – it added a dose of realism, to some extent – and you always experience this invigorating combination of fear and aggression. It’s sort of like, “oh holy sh**, here they come,” followed almost immediately by, “yeah, come got some!” I’ve played just about every shooter of the generation thus far, and I can’t think of one that presents the player with such an immersive atmosphere. That alone is worthy of a high ranking because I believe it embraces the gamer; it effectively puts us on the battlefield. I’m not sure why other critics didn’t feel this, or if they did, I wonder why they didn’t mention it. This hectic, ceaseless adventure hits you right between the eyes from the start and just never lets up, and it still manages to boast great pacing.

The AI has enemies lying on the ground to shoot, firing back over their heads, flanking, constantly moving in the open, taking appropriate cover, and in general, making every battle feel dynamic. The open battlefields contrast well with the cramped areas (of which there aren’t many), the fierceness and ruthlessness of the Helghast is better depicted and downright chilling, and when you die, you die because it was your fault . The game can never be blamed for cheap shots, cheating AI, or poor collision detection; i.e., “damnit, I was hitting him the whole time and he killed me!” Most every area is loaded with activity and looks fantastic, and you always want to keep playing. Perhaps that’s the best indicator of a top-tier title. Then, you have to factor in the multiplayer, which features plenty of different modes, very distinct and challenging maps, and of course, all those continual updates and alterations , which are appreciated.

Many will dismiss the multiplayer, likely because they say it wasn’t the best in Killzone 2 , but this element has come an awfully long way. There was evidence of that in the beta and you can bet the team will continue to work hard at fleshing things out. As it stands, it’s pretty damn good, although it’s tough to get an idea of how well things work with a lot of people involved (game isn’t out yet, remember). It seems stable although I should mention that the single-player campaign came close to freezing on me a few times. It never actually did, but it was close. All in all, the single-player campaign will leave you breathless and the multiplayer, with its class-based system and very diverse gameplay – you can really experiment quite a bit – amplifies the experience. I know Black Ops will be the perennial favorite but I really believe KZ3 has it where it counts online. And it feels a lot different, too, which is a huge plus in my eyes.

Despite a few reservations, which I will admit are more personal in nature, Killzone 3 is a game that begs to be played; an experience that begs to be had. It’s super intense and is, in many ways, the epitome of nonstop entertainment. You never feel like it’s getting too repetitive, you always feel completely involved in what’s happening, the story isn’t great but it certainly plays a bigger role than it did in KZ2, the AI is awesome, and the control, balance and pacing are all nearly flawless. I am not a fan of the cover system (which I also believe is slightly flawed), I would rather they kept the same weight – although I must reiterate again that it’s definitely heavier than CoD – and the voiceover work and parts of the story can be spotty. This, combined with the escalating competition in the industry, results in a significantly lower overall score in comparison to KZ2.

Still, I really can’t see how this game isn’t worthy of an elite 9+ score. I just don’t get that at all. I could’ve been more lenient in this review; I fail to see how less than a 9 is accurate. But we’ll talk about that a little more tomorrow, when our very first video commentary for a review goes live. For now, we’ve got a little teaser for you; it introduces you to our new attempt at branching out, and also introduces you to our official PSXE YouTube channel . This is only part of what we have in store, though…the future holds something even bigger, so stay tuned.

The Good: Fantastic environments.  Excellent soundtrack.  Solid, stable control.  The best AI in the business.  Pacing and balance are huge highlights.  Intensity is almost unparalleled.  Story is more prominent.  Significant, rewarding challenge. Multiplayer is diverse and rewards experimentation.

The Bad: A few mediocre voiceover efforts.  Cover system is questionable.  The removal of a lot of weight may upset KZ2 fans.  Plot can be iffy.

The Ugly: "Go ahead, throw another grenade…how many of those you got?"

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natho86
natho86
11 years ago

Another excellent review Ben well done. I cant wait for this game, few more days to go. Looking forward to the video review now.

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

Awesome review Ben! I practically felt your experiences in the game while reading your review, and although I wished the overall score was a bit higher, like you Ben, my reservation about that is a bit more "personal in nature" hehe 😉

I can't wait for the commentary too!

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

Uhhhgggg! That's it I hate this site! That review was atrocious! I am not buying this game now!!!!

Just kidding! Thanks for a great review! A real joy to read. This is my number 1 site and you do a fantastic job! Keep up the good work. By the way, did anyone see Amazon's KZ3 deal? I returned my preorder and ordered Amazon's! I got KZ3 for $40! I have KZ3 on the brain so I tried Black Ops tonight and I just couldn't get into it. Psychologically cemented on the KZ universe now……….I am ready!

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

i dont buy online much so i passed on amazon. its the 20 dollar credit right? the way i'm doing it is preordering and buying from gamestop to get the preorder bonus, buy it at kmart because it comes with 20 bucks in rewards points, and returning a copy at gamestop.

i wanted the 2x experience preorder bonus from best buy but their preorder system got retarded. first you have to search for the game on one of their cluttered preorder kiosks, then print a ticket from the kiosk, bring the ticket to the register to pay for it, activate your preorder at home, get your preorder bonus in the mail.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

Yeah, it comes with the $20 promotional credit which you can use when ever you want. I chose to use it on KZ3. It also comes with the instant access to 3 Unlock Points to use on the weapon or ability. Finally, the retro map pack. That's a nice little bonus. Very happy with it. Highly anticipating Deux Ex 3, the review and its preorder bonus!!

JSHidaka
JSHidaka
11 years ago

Already finished the game, was nice, excellent gameplay and graphics… but the ending.. Meh… was so lame..

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

It isn't out yet.

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

Unless you pirated it, cuz that's the "only" way to get it at this point in time….

Or you work at Sony, and you got an early copy!

Nah, that's highly unlikely. I hope you're lying here…

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Making up stories that aren't true shows bad character.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
11 years ago

Maybe he bought Killzone 2 on accident. Since I never played the original Killzone, I always think of Killzone 2 as the original. 😉

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

It's okay. You don't have to lie to be cool around here.

Godslim
Godslim
11 years ago

he might not be lieing u know my mate gets loads of games early because he works as a tester

Cavan1
Cavan1
11 years ago

hes probaly not lying, you can download killzone 3 from torrents sites, and since the playstation got hacked a few months ago, theres even apps on the android market which will "jailbreak" your ps3 – you run the risk of being banned but since you can make other accounts theres not really much risk. i think the download file is around 42gigs though which is huge lol

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Actually you can't just create a new account. They ban your PS3 from the PSN. Not just your account.

shadowpal2
shadowpal2
11 years ago

"Making up stories that aren't true shows bad character."

Unless of course if the person was just joking and trying to fun…which in that case he or she would have a humorous/fun character…wouldn't you agree?

shootu
shootu
11 years ago

Yes Shadow but there are too many people thick in the head that cant understand a joke….

hellish_devil
hellish_devil
11 years ago

I can see they put as much effort on the campaign as they did on Killzone 2, and that alone is awesome, because Killzone 2's campaign was FUN. The 2 times I played Killzone 2, both on hard, when I used to die after killing 10+ enemies, I wasn't like "oh, I have to do that again", I was like "great, now I can do that all over again!!" because the firefights were an absolute joy and the enemy never behave the same as before. It seems all of this was kept for Killzone 3, and I'm grateful for that.

….

So we finally get to see Ben Dutka in person??
ohhhhhhhhhhhhh

…..


Last edited by hellish_devil on 2/19/2011 9:57:06 PM

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

And Arnold too I hope!

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

i played killzone 2 about 4 times, 2 on hard and 2 on elite. i played once on hard to unlock elite then beaten elite. my ps3 died and didnt get to sync my trophies. so when i got my ps3 back i had to do it over again. damn copy protection on gamesaves. now i dont have a backup copy of star ocean gamesaves and i put a lot of time into that. ps3 backup takes too long and sometimes the restore doesnt work completely.

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

holy crap, Johnld you beat KZ2 on elite? I got to the very dang end, right in Visari's chamber room. My patience just couldn't tolerate it once you progress to the balcony part. My partner was a total retard and I just couldn't hold out long enough for a checkpoint. Maybe some day I'll try it again, but if you did it, then props. Very skilled indeed =)

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

yeah, the hardest part was the soldiers before radec, especially the rocket and submachinegun guys together. what i did was i hid on the second floor right by the stairs where theres rubble behind me. took out rocket guys with sniper rifle then waited till i got good shots at the other guys. they throw grenades once in a while but its easy to avoid. i had trouble with it the first time but the second time on elite was pretty easy. only problem i had was the tank.

i also found an exploit against radec. when he hides by the bookshelf or wall behind the staircase at the back of the room behind the middle statue, just hide behind the statue till he comes out. before he takes about 3 steps come out and blast him with a shotgun. if you did it correctly he'll go back to the same cover and you can keep doing it. he does manage to get out though but when he goes back you can repeat it. its best to use the shotgun because he tends to back off when hit but sometimes he just keeps charging so i run around and run backwards when i find him. keeping him in my sights the whole time.

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

Like you, johnld, my first PS3 died and with it my KZ2 save file.

And yeah, that tank part on the train was the only other real hard part. I managed to survive that.
But I did get to the rocket launcher part like you described. In fact, I seem to remember using a similar method as yours. But that was it, I kept dieing from some random blast, or something very lame. I was hoping to get it to trigger the crashing transport ship (I think that triggers a check point) But basically, that KZ2 game broke me. I've gotten to where if I have to lean on exploits and design holes to win, I probably won't try to finish the game. Likewise, Master Ninja on NGS2 can get like that; though, I am halfway through it, I'm thinking of going ahead and enduring until the end, but just in very small doses.

You know, I wonder if that "cloud save" feature PS PLUS is about to offer will allow KZ2's saves.

AcHiLLiA
AcHiLLiA
11 years ago

I found that COD [email protected] on veteran mode was a little harder on some missions than the elite mode on K2.


Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 2/20/2011 1:20:36 PM

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

@alexander
I'm gonna have to disagree with you because one simple fact, treyarch cant make challenging games only cheap ones. killzone gets challenging while treyarch cods get cheaper and cheaper. i tried both veteran on [email protected] and black ops and they suffer the same fault. they have multiple parts where you take less damage, enemies more accurate, enemy grenade spamming, unlimited enemy spawns, and moronic ally AI. black ops took this cheapness further by having all these in a confined space/hallway and stair cases that forces your character to slow down while decending at the same time everyone is shooting at you.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

Well, I am excited like everyone else for Sony's 2011 line up! Let me just say what a great start to the massive M$ A$$ Kicking!!! 🙂

Little Big Planet 2 – 9.5
Mass Effect 2 – 9.2
Dead Space 2 – 9.0
Killzone 3 – 9.1

All I can say is….how the hell are they going to top 2011!!!

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

ME2 was 360 exclusive for a year and DS2 is multiplatform. *cough*

Kiryu
Kiryu
11 years ago

they can top 2011 trust me this is just the start
santa monica's new ip
final fantasy versus 13
agent
yakuza of the end
so many other ps2 collections
quantic dream's next game

2012 is also looking excellent!

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

@Lawless

Really?! LOL! I know what games are exclusive or multiplat. I am just saying the PS3 has got some 9.0 games! The kicking A$$ part is based on the exclusives. 2 of them really scoring high so far! Anyway, 2011 is very special.


Last edited by CrusaderForever on 2/19/2011 11:58:17 PM

___________
___________
11 years ago

dont forget the last guardian, i hope its out this year but i seriously doubt it.
i seriously doubt SMs next game will be out next year, especially if its a new IP.
they spend 5 years working on GOW3 so i cant see how they can get a new IP out in 2.
same goes for QD, look how long it took them to do heavy rain!

Kiryu
Kiryu
11 years ago

@unknown

QD's engine is already done so they can use that same engine to make another classic.
I think santa monica will announce their new ip by this year.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

I know… just thought I'd try to be a downer 😛

ZettaiSeigi
ZettaiSeigi
11 years ago

@Lawless: You crack me up. Hahaha!

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

The cover system is pretty much useless unless you're playing the game on the hardest setting. You won't be able to progress unless you use cover. In Killzone 2 anyway. Can't imagine it would be much different in Killzone 3. I also noticed there is something different about the graphics. While they are as good as ever, they look a tad more grainy than Killzone 2. The guns don't shine as much. As for the sound, I love that the guns echo more now. Like they were going for that great sound BC2 has. Though in doing so they changed some of the sound effects for the guns. The assault rifles and the revolver especially sound diffferent. I prefered the old sound effects.

Good review. Looking forward to this. Can't wait!

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
11 years ago

I use cover all the time..and THE SLIDE MECHANIC!? How did Ben not mention that? It's one of the most useful features in the game. Also Ben, if you go into the options, select advanced settings, their should be an option to change the crouch button to toggle or hold. Using hold means you have to hold cover while popping out of cover, then just release the aim button (with L2 still held) to go back into cover, instead of pressing L2 again as you said. Hope that helps.

Unless..your talking about when you go back into cover, your still getting hit? Thats not a flaw, thats just how it is. You have to move left/right so they cant get you, then just quickly pop out and pick your shot. Was exactly the same in KZ2..

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

Sounds like some good advice Liam. I too thought the new slide feature is significant. I love it in fact.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I understand all that Liam but you can get through the game on any difficulty besides Elite without using the cover system once. Yes you CAN use it but it's hardly needed unless you're playing it on Elite. I think that was Ben's point as well.

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
11 years ago

Cover needless on vetren? LOL U MAD? Yeah it's needless…in the case that you don't mind dieing time after time before mastering the game-mechanics & learning all possible A.I routines so you can kill them without cover. Huh. If you say so XD

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Maybe you're just not that good. I had no problem playing though the game on Veteran without using cover. In fact it got in the way more than it helped.


Last edited by Jawknee on 2/20/2011 6:04:32 PM

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
11 years ago

I can assure you I'm good, pretty good at that. Simply put you don't survive on vetren without cover; you just don't. I think you just haven't played KZ2 inawhile (I hope you are talking about KZ2…if your talking about KZ3 demo, then I agree; that was fairly easy on elite.), because I used cover so much it became instinct.

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
11 years ago

Oh and..if your name on here is your PSN ID then it appears you haven't completed the game yet..(yeah I went that far lol. Still waiting on that friend approval by the way :P)

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

i have to agree with jawknee, cover system isnt really necessary unless you're doing elite mode. i played it once on hard and used the cover system just because its there. the second time i went on hard mode i didnt even use it. i just hid behind a wall and popped out to kill them.

i needed to beat hard mode 2 times to unlock elite and elite 2 times because the first time i beaten elite my trophy didnt sync. also the second time through elite became a cakewalk and barely used the cover system. only problem was the tank on the train. if the pacing for killzone 3 speeds up because of accessibility then i dont think the cover system wont be as useful as it is in killzone 2. i'm picking up my copy tomorrow at midnight so i'll check it out then.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I haven't completed it on Elite. I got stuck at the Radec fight. I have completed it on all other difficulties however. And I have played it recently. I am making my way through the campaign on Veteran now to brush up for Killzone 3. And I am not talking about the KZ3 demo. Elite difficulty is locked on the KZ3 demo.

By the way, you're looking at the wrong Jawknee's trophy list.

I'm at Jawknee1. 🙂


Last edited by Jawknee on 2/20/2011 7:58:00 PM

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
11 years ago

So THATS why you haven't added me yet, right? Right? So worlds must be WorldEndsWithMe1 too, RIGHT?! Ok sure, maybe I've just become accustomed to using the cover system. (BTW I'm in the same boat; I'm on the last checkpoint in the radec fight..so unbelieveably hard and infuriating.) Oh & KZ3 Elite can be unlocked in the demo when finishing vetren 🙂

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Aaah, I see. I never played it more than once at a time so I didn't know Elite unlocked. I always turned it off before the final cutscene was complete.

The cover system did more harm than good the first few times I played the game. But once I was forced to use in one Elite, it did become more natural.

Kiryu
Kiryu
11 years ago

Control 8.9 i don't believe it but an Excellent Score!

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Playing the KZ3 demo and KZ2 back to back, I personally prefer the old controls. Would be nice if Guerilla gave us an option for the new controls or the classic ones.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Due to the cover system.

Kiryu
Kiryu
11 years ago

@ben
i did need to use the cover system in the demo in trooper difficulty.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I like the button configuration better on this one than on KZ2, but I thought KZ2 was a little too heavy and KZ3 is a little too light, if they could get the weight just in between and give the option to switch button configurations, I think everyone might be happy.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

Yet another great review. The intensity of KZ2, combined with the very competent AI, I thought was one of the best things about that entire game, and by the sounds of it, they've further improved on that.

I've stated before that I'm not a fan of FPSes, but I'm going to try to reward quality in whatever genre it reveals itself, so KZ3 is a must. My backlog for games is getting a tad out of hand though…
Peace.