Killzone 3

Killzone 3 review: The story of a PS3 exclusive that tries hard, but can’t stand out.

Sony Computer Entertainment Killzone 3
  • Sony Computer Entertainment Killzone 3
  • Sony Computer Entertainment Killzone 3
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Technically superb, good multiplayer options, great use of the Move peripheral

Cons

  • It's a great FPS in a genre filled with even better FPSes

Bottom Line

Killzone 3 approaches greatness, but in a genre packed full of blockbuster titles it has a hard time standing out.

Would you buy this?

The first-person shooter genre is oversaturated, and, moreover, virtually every publisher out there has dedicated big money to coming up with a blockbuster FPS, so it's oversaturated with quality.

Last year there was Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and even Goldeneye on the Wii. This year already has seen the quite excellent and original Bulletstorm, and on the horizon we've got the return of Duke Nukem, the chance to take down North Korea in Homefront, and id Software's this-will-blow-your-mind Rage to look forward to.

So where does Killzone 3, a PlayStation 3 exclusive and blockbuster in its own right, fit in? Unfortunately, nowhere.

That's not to say the game is bad — far from it. Though the single player mode is overly linear (a complaint that can be levelled at just about every FPS), the carefully scripted set pieces are intense and exciting. Although the multiplayer is a little light on quantity, the maps are interesting and varied, and the game features a class-based system that gives you a slightly different way to approach each battle royale.

It's the kind of game that rewards team play, and any game that finds a genuine role for the sniper in the modern environment of ultra-fast killfests deserves props. It all seems stable enough at this stage too, so those Call of Duty players distressed by the abundance of online problems that game is facing should find Killzone 3's siren song quite compelling.

Killzone 3 also looks gorgeous — insofar as a warzone can be pretty. Veterans of the series will find a few new tricks to play with — such as some pretty cool jetpacks. The weapons feel meaty, and the game controls are smooth, even with the Move motion controller. In fact, Killzone 3 is quite possibly the first genuinely compelling game to make Move support a core feature (unless you got into RUSE's niche brand of strategising).

But the game still struggles to stand out when compared to the competition. The story itself is reasonable, but delivered with such ham-fisted voice work that Uwe Boll would have to cut it from his films (and it breaks my heart to say that — I'm a fan of both Ray Winstone and Malcolm McDowell). It's not so much the delivery, but the actors seem to be striving for dramatic weight in Every. Single. Word. It is very much like high school acting: overdramatic and often unintentionally funny.

So Halo gains the point for compelling sci-fi narrative over Killzone 3. For raw content, Call of Duty still reins supreme with more options and more variety. And for stepping out of the shadow of those two giants, Bulletstorm is the wild, entertaining ride.

Killzone 3 straddles the middle. It still approaches greatness, but it's like watching Tottenham soccer. There's undeniable talent in there, but it's still going to get slaughtered by the big guys.

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