The Killzone series has always been at the top of Sony’s most shown games, having been the poster boy for Playstation 3 graphics as well as being touted as a “Halo killer” back in the days when that term was still used. Despite all the hype, the series has always been very forgettable despite the talent of Guerrilla Games and the effort behind the games. With Killzone 3, the series might finally be getting where it needs to be for people to look at it in the same eyes as Battlefield and Halo.


The campaign starts off right where Killzone 2 ended, with side character Rico Velasquez making the stupid decision to martyr the main bad guy, thus pumping up the Helghast for war. As far as the story goes, it’s largely forgettable, even faltering against Killzone 2’s generic action tale despite the additional voice talent and broader scope. Part of the problem here is that it’s simply hard to care about the inner politics of Helghan when it has very little to do with the situation at hand, and recalls the boring senate moments in the Star Wars prequels nobody liked. The story of left behind soldiers trying to survive is an interesting concept I wish they expanded upon more though, especially with a couple of newer characters I would have loved to see more fleshed out, though even returning protagonist Tomas Sevchenko could use more fleshing out since I’d have trouble remembering his name if it wasn’t for everyone yelling it at me.


Everything else about the campaign for the most part, is exceptionally well done, barring a poorly implemented splitscreen only co-op mode that lets a buddy play as character Natko at the expense of a steady framerate. The enemy AI is terrifying, not so fearless as to be suicidal, but still willing to push an attack or flank you if you bury yourself in cover. The pacing and variety are also far improved from Killzone 2, with a greater variety of environments and gameplay scenarios (including some well-done stealth segments that juxtapose against the constant explosions), and even a few good set pieces that aren’t particularly memorable, but break up the action nonetheless. As a whole, it’s very polished, the weapons and explosions look and sound very powerful due to a mix of masterful sound design, good balancing, and stellar animations that almost give you sympathy pains when you see your bullets slamming into the legs of an unfortunate enemy as he recoils to the ground. It goes to show that the little things count.


The multiplayer is where any modern first person shooter of this type will live or die though, and in this case Killzone 3 gets things mostly right. The player count has unfortunately been reduced from 32 to 24, and with some of the larger maps the negative effect is easy to see. At launch, despite a stellar beta, it was almost impossible to get into a game without some error code, and once you got in the chance of a server crash was high. The biggest issue I had once everything was settled, would have to be the lack of content compared to other shooters. There are a few maps, a few classes and only a few modes, compared to the wealth of modes, maps and equipment you would find in many other AAA shooters, it’s kind of disappointing, even if it does mean a more well-rounded and polished game overall.



Once the server issues were settled, and after you get used to the new player count, Killzone 3’s multiplayer is definitely good enough that I could see myself enjoying to almost the same degree as a Call of Duty or Battlefield. The maps are very balanced to allow multiple approaches and classes to flourish, while the different game modes switch things up so if you get bored of one game type you can try another. Warzone returns, but I spent most of my time enjoying the stellar Operations mode, which plays out like a more varied Rush mode from Battlefield, but with different objectives and very cool cinematics. The defining aspect of Operations is the story told through the players, with top players getting to see their characters taking the lead in cinematics. While you’d think watching a cutscene with your PSN name on top of your character as he plants a bomb would remove you from the immersion, it surprisingly does the opposite effect and pushes you to work harder if only to be the hero of your team that everyone can see.


As far as issues concerning the whole game, Killzone 3 has very few real problems, but still doesn’t capture my interest in the same way a Gears of War or Uncharted game might. It ticks off all the boxes, it’s highly polished and fun, but the defining problem is that it just doesn’t go above and beyond and isn’t particularly memorable. It mashes sci-fi and modern shooter conventions, but also comes with the problems and pitfalls of both.


For what it’s worth, Guerrilla is definitely improving the Killzone series with each iteration. I had a blast playing Killzone 3, and while I’m not looking back fondly at my time with the game, I think if Killzone 4 can make just a few alterations and put a focus on content and longevity among the superb polish, Sony could finally make Killzone the killer app they always hype it out to be.