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Killzone 3 Impressions: Best PS3 Shooter to Date

I wrapped up my first play through of Killzone 3 over the weekend, and I can say without hesitation that it IS the best shooter on the PS3.  It tops the graphical achievements of Killzone 2, and builds upon the successes found in that game when it comes to the overall gaming experience.  I found K3 to have much better pacing this time around, and because of this the story made much more sense.  Killzone 3 is the type of game that will grab a hold of you and not let go until you beat it.  If you’re still on the fence about it, please read our review below.  This game deserves your attention.

EB – 9/10

The Awesome – Graphics, Music, Story, Controls, Multiplayer

The Not So Awesome – Short Campaign, PS3’s less than stellar on-line experience

 

The Awesome Stuff

I mentioned in the introduction that Killzone 3 is a great looking game, and I’m not using that description lightly.  I’ll be the first one to admit that I prefer to play games on the Xbox 360, but games like Killzone 3 truly showcase the power of the PS3.  I haven’t seen an exclusive game with this type of graphics on the 360 yet.  In fact, it puts most of the Xbox exclusives to shame when it comes to overall graphical excellence.  The character models are a thing of beauty, and the scripted cut scenes make a game like Bulletstorm look like a title from the last console generation.  Killzone 3 is definitely s*x for your eyes.

The graphical presentation really helps the excellent pacing to keep you completely immersed in the K3 experience.  Killzone 3 does a great job of mixing in cut scenes with action, so you never feel like your watching too many movies, or playing an extremely long section of non-stop running and gunning.  I always found that when I needed a break from the intense action I would get it at a perfect point with one of the scripted cut scenes.  These themselves are also engaging and never feel too long, and they make the story very interesting, which I didn’t really feel happened in K2.  In my opinion, due to the graphical excellence and great pacing, this game took on an identity that is very similar to something you may find in the Star Wars Universe.

What I mean about that is Killzone 3 has a package that is very similar to the Star Wars formula, which is known for grasping your imagination and convincing you that this imaginary World could in fact be real.  I attribute the Killzone 3 soundtrack for making this connection in my mind.  There’s something about it that felt very ‘Return of the Jedi’.  From insane ground battles to dog fights in space, I really felt like I was watching the Rebels take down the Empire, and this is all because of K3’s musical score.  Just like John Williams’ pieces in the Star Wars franchise perfectly reflect the emotions incurred from watching the movies; the same can be said for Killzone 3’s.  Sometimes gaming soundtracks in big FPS games are secondary to the action and sound effects, but this is not the case with K3.  I really think the soundtrack elevates this game and the emotions you’ll experience while playing it, but the action itself is also noteworthy.

Killzone 2 had some wonky feeling controls that never felt perfect for an FPS.  Plus, if you’re someone like me who tends to act like a spazz while gaming, the PS3 controller isn’t the best for taking abuse.  But that’s an issue with my head and not Killzone 3.  The controls feel much tighter this time around and not as spastic as in K2.  I still don’t really understand why Sucker Punch uses a default controller scheme that no other FPS game would consider using, but luckily they include an alternate setup that feels more natural to seasoned FPS gamers.  So it’s a minor issue, but I just don’t get why they don’t use the standard FPS controller layout right off the bat.  Regardless, once you choose your desired setup you will instantly feel the improvements in controls from Killzone 2.  I never felt like I was fighting the targeting system, or shaking like Sev was on crack as I did in K2.

To round out the awesome parts of Killzone 3 I’d like to mention the multiplayer component.  K3 multi definitely has the legs to keep PS3 gamers grinding away for months on end to level up their characters.  In K3 the MP formula is mainly unchanged from K2, but there are some additions.  I don’t believe K2 offered any sort of straight up deathmatch, which is in Killzone 3 with the guerrilla match types.  Warzone is back from the previous game and still combines different types of matches into one overall match to keep it exciting.  For example, you won’t just play a king of the hill type of match.  Rather, you may have to hold an objective for a certain amount of time, but once that is up you may go back to just needing to kill the other team deathmatch style.

I’ve only played the multiplayer piece of K3 for a few matches, so I can’t fully speak to it, but I totally got the sense that it could lead to some long nights of gaming with friends.  It has most everything that the MP juggernauts like COD and Halo have, but it may be in an even prettier fashion than said games.  I hope my small pool of PS3 gamers will at least give it a go, so we can see if it has the magic that games like COD 4 and Gears of War had on us, and by magic I mean wasting days worth of life yelling into a headset at 10 year-olds.

The Not So Awesome Stuff

I’m being totally honest here, but I really didn’t find one thing about Killzone 3 that truly sucked balls.  I mean you could lump in the fact that the PS3 still has a less than satisfactory on-line setup, but that’s not K3’s fault.  I guess I could b*tch about the campaign’s length, which clocks in around 6-7 hours, but these days that’s about the norm for shooters.  I also played my first campaign run on “recruit” difficulty, which isn’t a challenge for someone with my mediocre FPS skills, so I think that definitely added to the short feeling campaign.

I really am struggling to come up with some negative facts about Killzone 3, but I can’t can up with a glaring issue.  The controls are comfortable, the presentation is amazing, and the multiplayer is deep, so what else can I say?  Killzone 3 is an achievement in FPS gaming, so here’s to Sucker Punch and Sony for making such a great exclusive PS3 game!

The Verdict

If you can’t tell by now that I absolutely loved Killzone 3 you are so dense that I could use you as a radiation shield against a nuclear fallout.  K3 is a high-quality title that deserves any serious gamer’s attention.  It’s the type of game that would be worth buying a PS3 bundle for if you don’t already own the system.  In fact, Killzone 3 has really peaked my interest in 3D gaming, as well as Sony’s Move motion control system.  I feel like I’m really missing out by not playing this game in 3D because it is designed for it.  I also think it would be a great test to see if my fat a*s could play a FPS using motion controls without having a heart attack.  Who knows, I’ve been needing a new tv, hmmmm.

Seriously though, Killzone 3 is a must buy.  I give it an EB 9/10.  It will present you with one of the better FPS games to come to market in this console generation.  If your a fan of Star Wars you will feel the same types of emotions you experienced while watching the attack on the second Death Star.  I couldn’t put this game down and rarely felt like slitting my own throat while playing, which can’t be said for the last traditional shooter I played – Call of Duty: Black Ops.  Maybe that will change when I play it on the Elite difficulty setting, but I truly feel like Killzone 3 is a gem.  Go grab it today it’s on sale you cheap a*s, and give your PS3 a reason to play games!  You’ve been thinking about 3D tv’s and d*ldo looking controllers after playing around with Killzone 3…

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.