Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Guerrilla Games Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 22nd Feb 2011 Platforms:PS3
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Politics is a messy business. Whether here on Earth or the home of interplanetary Nazis - Helghan - the infighting, backstabbing and scheming is remarkable. After action heroes Sev and Rico create an opening for the position of emperor by wasting Scolar Visari at the
conclusion of Killzone 2, they find themselves in quite the predicament.
Barely escaping with their lives, they're stranded on the Helghan home-world, with only a few scattered pockets of ISA troopers as back-up, as an entire planet's worth of snarling Sieg Heiling Helghast want to end their sorry existence. Well, they would, if their leaders could take a break from their pissing contest of who's top dog.
In the blue corner is the people's champion, military leader and commander, the battle scarred Admiral Orlock, brilliantly voiced by Ray Winstone. His opponent, fighting in the red corner, is a biological weapons specialist, the weedy little ferret - voiced exquisitely by Malcolm McDowell - Jorhan Stahl.
As Sev, Rico and their ragtag group of misfits (including the sexy pilot/electronics whiz Jammer) desperately try to make contact with their forces and get off Helghan in one piece, the power struggle to see who will rule Helghan is constantly marinating in the background, producing a nice counter-point to the rough and tumble action that unfolds. The rest of the story is yours to discover, this is a spoiler free zone.
Right off the bat, Killzone 3 is a simply magnificent looking title. It's got that hyper realistic, yet cartoony sort of vibe going on and is almost mesmerising. The harsh world of Helghan is unforgiving and obviously ravaged by war, yet there is a sad beauty to the violent flora that manages to survive. Each smoke and dust filled explosion, bullet ridden wall, downed enemy or sweeping establishing shot looks the absolute business.
Moving from set piece to set piece creates a comfortable balance between frantic firefight and a turreted or vehicle based breather that keeps the pacing tight and your heart racing. Whether you're infiltrating an experimental lab to free your dumb as a doorknob commander, marshaling ground and air troops for a beach assault, sneaking past a cadre of soldiers, speeding through the ice-capped mountains or blasting away mofos zero-G style in space, the skirmishes are excellently put together.
The cover system makes a welcome return, and is essential to survive these encounters. The various types of Helghan you'll fight range from your piss-easy average Joe, to some twin blade wielding Intruders, to jet-packed Gatling gunned psychopaths and then there's the big guns, huge mechanical monstrosities that make an AT-AT look like an matchbox car. The weaponry is pretty sweet, with the usual assault rifles, machine guns and pistols, though a few are worthy of special mention.
Late in the game you'll pick up an SMG that is the sexiest thing around and makes Swiss cheese out of damned near everything. The Bolt Gun is riveting (bazinga!), as it fires detonating ordinance through anything and then attaches your cargo to whatever may be behind them, with a double dose of boom for lining it up with an exploding barrel. The default Helghan shotgun pistol is fantastic for up close and personal, and while I'm on the subject, the brutal melees are the most addictive I've ever experienced.
I can't even count the number of times I rushed headfirst into overwhelming numbers to shove the butt of my weapon into some shrieking Helghan face, flip them around and satisfyingly slit their throat, stab them in the eye (and twist), smash their face into a wall or casually thrust a blade into their throat... again, and again, and again. There's a trophy for knocking out fifty of those bad boys, and I made it my personal mission to do it in record time. Sure, I may have died a couple of dozen times in the process, but it never ever got old, and will be the ultimate middle finger when you dive into the multiplayer.
Fans of PlayStation Move will be extremely pleased to hear that Killzone 3 has Move support, and not only that, but it works spectacularly. If you've got the coin and want a decidedly different first-person shooter experience, shell out for the Move Navigation controller and the certified bad-ass Sharp Shooter peripheral. This glorious death dealer - custom created for Killzone 3 - is a replica machine gun with an optional pump action reload and forward thrust for melee. It's undoubtedly one of the
coolest gaming accessories I've seen in a bloody long time. Not only that, but it handles like a dream, with countless tweakable options to suit any gaming style, presenting a more than compelling argument to give PlayStation Move a whirl. Also, if you're one of the three people in the country that owns a 3D TV, the Helghast will be invading your third dimension as well.
Though a tad short coming in at around 6 hours, Killzone 3 is an exhilarating thrill ride, gloriously presented with a solid control scheme behind it. The minor let downs were a few audio sync issues, the occasional stutter and the incredibly crap afterthought of vertical split-screen local co-op only, which boggles the mind. It could have been the ultimate co-op campaign, but instead feels extremely tacked on at the last minute.
These minuscule gripes aside, Guerrilla Games has done and outstanding job in crafting, what is easily the best FPS exclusive for the PlayStation 3, and a rollicking ride in it's own right. If you're sitting on the fence, wondering whether or not to buy a PS3 bundle pack and have even a passing interest in delving into the robust online multiplayer, Killzone 3 is the nudge you've been waiting for.