|Dev: Guerrilla Games|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment America|
|Release: February 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Andrew Groen
Through the most recent set of console wars, Killzone has played an important role. Thus far, it hasn't done much to sway gamers from investing in Halo, but it has been a significant morale booster. A banner around which the Sony fanboys can rally. The series has its problems, but it fulfills everything a console exclusive should. It's gorgeous, it's epic, and it's got a lot to offer.
However, throughout the series life span, one lingering truth has hovered over Sony like a bad cough: Killzone just isn't as good as Halo. There are people in this world who would kill a man for uttering those words, but it's just true. The gap has narrowed over the last few years, but Killzone hasn't quite caught up yet. Like Lex Luthor, Killzone gets better and stronger every time, but can never quite defeat Superman.
This year, Guerrilla Games finally has an opening. The Halo series is still great, but it's beginning to stagnate a bit. Killzone on the other hand, has plenty of room for improvement. While Halo had to backtrack to find new story lines to use, the Killzone series is just ramping up. Given the choice between a retread of a story all fans already know, and a thrilling finale, I'll take the finale every single time.
Killzone also has the distinct advantage of being one of the very best looking pieces of code I've ever seen. The game looks unambiguously spectacular, and beyond that, it's also being offered in 3D. Unfortunately, I've not yet seen the game in full 3D myself (and honestly I probably never will), but trusted sources have told me that it looks almost sinfully good running smoothly in 3D. But that isn't the only dimension being added to the Killzone universe. Sony has also seen fit to add PlayStation Move controls. So, not only will players be seeing the game in a new dimension, they'll be able to control it in a new dimension as well.
Many other games have benefited immensely from PlayStation Move control, and there's no reason to believe Killzone 3 won't get the same treatment. For example, Resident Evil 5, despite being one of the best games of the current generation (played and replayed by fans), still found extra life with the new control system. It's just so radically different from a regular dualshock controller that the entire experience is practically reborn. It's like driving a car for ten years and then getting a whole new motor put in. The entire driving experience is changed. We similarly expect the Move controller to add extra depth to the Killzone 3 experience. Though, of course, if you just have your trusty dualshock controller, you'll still be able to enjoy the game normally.
Killzone 3 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting experiences of the young decade, though you might not realize it if you're only paying attention to Sony. Sure, they're excited about it, but their advertising campaign has been extremely quiet thus far. Maybe I'm just watching the wrong channels, but it seems odd that one of Sony's biggest blockbuster hits would receive so little advertising attention. Maybe this says something about the Killzone 3 audience. If I had to take a shot in the dark, I would guess that perhaps Sony thinks the Killzone 3 audience is mostly hardcore gamers who are already well aware of Killzone and needn't be courted with a TV ad. Though, as I said, that's only a guess.
Many of my personal questions about Killzone 3 remain unanswered. One complaint that I'm desperately hoping is addressed is the lack of open environments. Killzone 2 locked players in small corridors and essentially forced them to march forward spraying bullets until the credits roll. I like the Killzone universe, but in order to personally enjoy myself, I need more open space to roam. I think many gamers would appreciate the chance to have more freedom in the game world.
Also, the aesthetic design of the series could use a boost. Judging from the screens of Killzone 3, Guerrilla Games understood that and has made some new improvements. The last game was probably the most amazing-looking game ever made (as of release) for a console, but it was also drab. The environments were gray and bleak. It got so bad that it was often hard to tell the Helghast from the background. It became painfully obvious that the trademark glowing eyes of the Helghast weren't there because they were cool, but rather because it was too difficult to distinguish between friend, foe, and rock.
Killzone 3 has a lot going for it so far. The series has been steadily ramping up over the last five years, and Guerrilla Games has steadily become a more and more capable game developer. At this point, we're excited to see what they're capable of. If the environments open up a bit, and the color palette offers a break from brown, then I think I'll personally be laying my money down come February 22.
CCC Freelance Writer