GSY REVIEW | PS3 Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 7:40 PM

GSY Review: Killzone 3

GSY Review: Killzone 3

Being the second big PS3 exclusive title of 2011, Killzone 3 will also be the first game to be given a full Gamersyde review this year. To find out what we thought of Guerilla's action-packed FPS and watch our (short) videos, you simply need to follow me inside and sit comfortably.
Update: The review is back in time again with Launch Trailer added.

The story resumes exactly where we had left our two heroes (Sevchenko and Veslasquez) at the end of Killzone 2. It is then outside the Visari Palace that this new adventure begins, and it is not long before all hell starts breaking loose and the player finds himself in the middle of a war zone. Overall, the plot seems a bit more paced than in the previous game, with a feeling of urgency that is better conveyed. The characters also seem to have been given a better treatment, making them more appealing somehow and this is because the storyline does not only revolve around the conflict itself, but also about the men that are taking part in it.

Sure, you still get the stereotyped situations where Rico and Sev express their strong disagreement with their squad leader, but even though all the events that unfold are pretty standard for the genre, there is still some real incentive to find out how things will turn out in the end. It even gets really personal to the player at some point, as soon as the evil plans of the Helghasts are made clear.

Talking about Helghasts, it is maybe a bit regretful to see that Scolar Visari did not really get a worthy successor yet to continue the fight against the human race. Don't get me wrong, Malcolm McDowell (Jordan Stahl) is just great in his role, but his character does not manage to reach the same level of charisma as the former leader, which leaves the spot for a memorable villain empty. That being said, it would not be fair to deny the fact that the direction the story is taking is shaping up well, which is very promising for the more than likely Killzone 4. One other thing I regret is how short the ending cinematic is, especially considering the number of very good cutscenes that the rest of the game has.

If you are used to the previous episode's gameplay, then you should feel yourself at home, like I did. The gunfights are very dynamic, the enemies are fearsome when it comes to throwing grenades at you (expect some nerve-racking moments in hard mode) and it is one hell of a show. It is still possible to get to cover, which does not necessarily mean you will be out of harm's way, and you can also slide after a long dash. Two reasons to do so: one is to look cool while trying to reach safer grounds, two is to sweep an enemy off his feet if he gets in the way. Sometimes death can be a bit frustrating as you don't see it coming and when it happens, you simply don't understand what you did wrong. However, Guerilla Games have been pretty generous in terms of check-points so you should keep all your hair by the time you get to the end of the game.

Weapons are of course of paramount importance in a game like Killzone 3 and thankfully, they do not disappoint. You will find the usual assault rifles and machine guns but also a few new toys like this Helghast gun that allows you to completely disintegrate your target. Melee is also part of the deal and the various executions you can carry with your knife are a lot of fun to watch. Finally, the jetpack that first appeared in Killzone Liberation on PSP offers new sensations and is pretty nice to handle. Flying and shooting will require a bit of getting used to and skills but hey, that's part of the whole point right?

So the player does not get bored because of a lack of variety, Killzone 3 alternates between over the top action sequences and more peaceful ones where you can sneak your way through the area. Like in all First person Shooters, you will also get your share of rail shooting segments where all you have to do is shoot and destroy. I won't say more though, as a big part of the fun comes with the pleasure of discovery. Suffice to say that from beginning to end, it is just impossible to get bored. On a personal note, I just wish the very last playable sequence had been more memorable and a bit less disappointing. Other than that, I had a great time playing Killzone 3.

As you can see on the videos, Killzone 3 is once again another technical marvel on Sony's console. The lighting effects are sublime, the explosions nothing short of spectacular, and so are the weather effects, the character models and the different environments. It is hard to find any complaint, but some will probably see a bit of aliasing at times, a few framerate drops here and there and some very minor pop-up issues. To those people, I want to say you are just a bunch of nitpicky gamers! More than ever, the world you evolve in feels real, devastated as it is by the flames of war and death.

In Killzone 2, players criticized the lack of variety in the environments and it is obvious that it is not the case anymore in the third installment. you will go through the remains of a nuked city, a hostile jungle, a snowy Helghast facility and even a sort of huge scrapyard that looks like it belongs to Enslaved. There will be more, of course, but it would not be fair to tell you so I'll just stop here.

The soundtrack is also very effective, with great symphonic music and realistic sound effects. The ambient cacophony with the screams of men and the deadly bursts of machine guns conveys all the chaos of the battleground in a very troubling manner. Sometimes the brass instruments of the music score have a bit of a Star Wars feel to them, something that you can also notice when hearing some of the Helghast shuttles fly by. The voice acting is top notch too and makes all the characters even more believable as human/Helghan beings.


It is no surprise, Killzone 3 delivers a spectacular and entertaining experience on Playstation 3. Supported by impressive visuals and immersive situations, the game is a hell of a roller-coaster ride. True, sometimes the references to the third Reich could be a little less obvious, but it is soon forgotten thanks to a very good background. It will take you more or less than 7 to 8 hours to complete your first playthrough depending on the difficulty setting you choose and you will not have much time to breathe during that time. With multiplayer to add to the equation and the possibility to play the game with PS Move and in 3D, Killzone 3 is definitely a worthy sequel to its predecessor. And if you are anything like me, completing the game will only leave you with a craving for more, with Killzone 4.

Gameplay #1
Gameplay #2
Release trailer

All comments

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Commented on 2011-02-14 10:22:55
Commented on 2011-02-14 10:57:42
Interesting review and well written!
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:18:37
Since you didn't mention it, how is getting to the other side of cover in addition to the 'slide + cover' mechanic?

Those environments are ridiculously detailed. That nuked city... But also, the colour palette seems very smart, to be able to see the Helghast past all the new colours. Reminds me of that Diablo 3 interview, where he dismissed how those fan darker photoshops made for a bad game.

Overall, would you say your impression was "bigger, better, and more badass" as CliffyB would say?
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:27:36 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
Since you didn't mention it, how is getting to the other side of cover in addition to the 'slide + cover' mechanic?
Would you believe if I said I did not even know you could do that? Either I missed the tutorial message explaining it or they don't say a thing about it at all. Since I didn't watch any of the dev diary videos, I had no clue. :s

As for the "bigger, better more badass" CliffyB side of the game, it is hard to say for sure, as it would probably be a bit subjective. But there are some pretty impressive battles and from what I remember of KZ2, I enjoyed KZ3 more. The only thing that is a bit disappointing is the story really, it feels more like a sort transitional episode story-wise, something preparing for what's to come. And I can tell it is going to be big.
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:30:15
+100000000000 hype!!!!
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:38:13
So nice! Thanks for the review! ;)
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:48:33 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
Would you believe if I said I did not even know you could do that? Either I missed the tutorial message explaining it or they don't say a thing about it at all. Since I didn't watch any of the dev diary videos, I had no clue. :s
Wow, that's dumb on GG's part. Hidden mechanics!
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:55:40 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
Wow, that's dumb on GG's part. Hidden mechanics!
it isnt really a stand alone mechanic tho. it's a combination of smaller ones. i see it as the sort of thing you would experiment yourself with, rather then being told outright. if the game teaches you how to jump over cover and slide then that's all that's needed. it's up to the player to take it further.
Commented on 2011-02-14 13:57:48 In reply to digi_matrix
Maybe it is my fault you know. It's not like you really need it to play the game and have a blast. ;)
Commented on 2011-02-14 15:19:04 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
Maybe it is my fault you know. It's not like you really need it to play the game and have a blast. ;)
But how else would you jump over missiles?
Commented on 2011-02-14 15:38:42
ohhh...that man far to the left at 00:14 in the first clip. Yeah...that's subtle.
Commented on 2011-02-14 15:59:25 In reply to Logion
Posted by Logion
ohhh...that man far to the left at 00:14 in the first clip. Yeah...that's subtle.
Heil Helghast Hitler!
Commented on 2011-02-14 16:05:18
can. not. wait. Multiplayer is amaaaaaazing
Commented on 2011-02-14 18:54:31
Nice review thanks...extra kudos for being the first of several I have read that actually talk about the campaign length.
Commented on 2011-02-15 00:09:40
GG, best devs of making the best atmospheric sci-fi levels!
That landscape video is just breathtaking.
Commented on 2011-02-15 01:05:31
"Sometimes the brass instruments of the music score have a bit of a Star Wars feel to them"

Glad you picked up on it because there is very obvious cues from Star Wars and also other movies such as Batman Begins or Black Hawk Down. But what makes the soundtrack special is that even though it takes inspiration from many movies it wraps it all up in traditional Killzone fare keeping very original.

Probably the reason why Killzone 2 Soundtrack was an award winner.
Commented on 2011-02-15 01:30:52
Evey nice attention to detail in this game
Commented on 2011-02-15 02:05:35 In reply to Sath
This message is in "Boulet Time" (TM), If you still *really* want to see it, click here

Commented on 2011-02-15 06:50:49
Wow, they really upped texture resolution on characters. That was one of the weak links of Killzone 2's stellar presentation (the other was choice voice acting for characters and some weird modeling of arms) and it's good to see that it was fixed.
Commented on 2011-02-15 08:39:49 In reply to IRAIPT0IR
Posted by IRAIPT0IR
Ummhhh I don't know about that.
You should know, its infront you.
Commented on 2011-02-15 13:53:38
With out a doubt my hard earned cash will be used buying this beauty!
Commented on 2011-02-15 16:00:40 In reply to Sath
This message is in "Boulet Time" (TM), If you still *really* want to see it, click here

Commented on 2011-02-15 19:20:29 In reply to IRAIPT0IR
lol ok? What looks better than this?
Commented on 2011-02-15 19:30:32 In reply to scoobs0688
Posted by scoobs0688
lol ok? What looks better than this?
Don't go down that path thank you. It is bound to get ugly if you do.
Commented on 2011-02-15 21:56:29
I loved the demo and this review sold me even more! If I had the $ I'd buy this without a doubt

but damn why are games retailing for $60 these days? damn
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About the game

What's up?
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX I had trouble getting into the new Deus Ex games because of their terrible cover mechanics. (1 Hour ago)
  • nostradamus
    nostradamus when the actual gaming exploration/missions began, they are so arcaic mechanically. (3 Hours ago)
  • nostradamus
    nostradamus Prey if freaking amazing, the whole lot of it. Just shows how much I hate and battle to like something like human revo/mankind devided. Pedios games are awful in comparison. Just can't get into them (3 Hours ago)
  • droezelke
    droezelke @MrWhite: No, simulation sickness (6 Hours ago)
  • Loakum
    Loakum @GriftGFX: trends. 2D fighters was all the rage, then 3D fighters took over, now it switched back to 2D fighters. It'll switch again. (8 Hours ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX There are too few 3D fighters anymore but I guess the genre shifted hard to 2D a while ago. (9 Hours ago)
  • Loakum
    Loakum @GriftGFX: heehee, actually because my team of Kilik & Sophitia are feared through the lands for their unbeatable combos. It is known. ^_^ (9 Hours ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood GSY is getting some nice content at 3 pm CEST with our July podcast and some videos of the Deus Ex Mankind Divided preview build. :) (> 3 Months ago)
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    Driftwood For once we'll be live at 4:30 pm CEST. Blim should not even be tired! (> 3 Months ago)
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    Driftwood More Quantum Break coverage coming in a few hours, 9:00 a.m CEST. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood We'll have a full review up for Firewatch at 7 pm CET. Videos will only be tomorrow though. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood Tonight's livestream will be at 9:15 GMT+1, not GMT+2 as first stated. (> 3 Months ago)
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    Driftwood New GSY Live dedicated this time to Just Cause 3 on Tuesday 9:30 GMT+2 (> 3 Months ago)
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    Driftwood Join us tomorrow at 10 pm GMT+2 for a new livestream. We'll be playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. (> 3 Months ago)
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