Published Mar 28, 2011The balance of power in first-person shooters long ago shifted from single-player towards multi, and Killzone 3 is but the latest to apply that deathmatch-inspired intensity to its solo campaign. Not that it feels solo, since the single-player campaign accommodates co-op and even if you're friendless, you still fight alongside computer-controlled comrades making your way off the self-nuked planetscape of Helghan.
But much like the adrenalized Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games, Killzone 3's narrative suffers greatly from the practically on-rails propulsion, even if it arguably fits, since this threequel is mostly a mop-up operation.
There are a variety of environments ― arctic, jungle, outer space and nuclear wasteland ― but the Killzone M.O. is so well established by now that little feels new. Which is a bit of a shame because there's an early game fake-out that ― spoiler alert ― has you seemingly playing as a Helghast soldier, only to pull the signature gasmask off at the last second.
It's a squandered opportunity to dig deeper into the series' back-story and embark on a Starship Troopers-type approach that makes you wonder, who is really the bad guy? While the fascistic Helghast aesthetic certainly makes them look evil, they're also the ones defending their homeland. And should we really feel sorry for Interplanetary Strategic Alliance soldiers as they try to escape the nuked planet, which has suffered utter devastation?
The Helghast look monstrous, but their mutations are a result of having to colonize a harsh planet, their longstanding grievances with the imperialistic ISA seem pretty legitimate and from what I've gathered from the back-story, they began this war in the first game to recapture the planet Vekta, which is essentially occupied territory. As well, their "evilness" in the final chapter seems as much a result of the machinations of an arms manufacturer drumming up business as any inherent warlike nature.
Since both sides are human descendants, it makes perfect sense to switch perspectives and explore the moral ambiguities of war. Ah, but that's what I'm looking for in a shooter ― most folks just want to shoot stuff real good.
For that, Killzone 3 is impeccably put together, with high-end production values (astounding graphics, clever A.I., Malcolm McDowell voicing the Big Bad), motion-sensing and 3D support, a rich multiplayer and an unceasing adrenaline rush.
Do I have a right to complain that it's not more philosophical? Perhaps, but it is called Killzone, for frak's sake, and it delivers as promised. (Guerrilla Games/Sony)