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Killzone 3 Preview

Jesse_Costantino By:
GENRE Shooter 
PLAYERS 1- 24 
DEVELOPER Guerrilla Games 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

Taking the Red-eye… out.

Even though they firmly established their technological testosterone with Killzone 2, Guerrilla Games clearly has no intention of resting on their testicular laurels. (Because that would cause pins and needles there.)

click to enlargeNot content with having the flashiest, grittiest, grimiest, exploding-est FPS on the market, Guerrilla is now determined to produce the 3D-iest, motion controller-est FPS out there, as well. I recently had the chance to play an impressive section from the upcoming Killzone 3, and even if—after three prior titles in the series—I’m still not sure what a “killzone” is exactly, I am sure I want more of it.

In Killzone 3, a freshly coifed Sev once again stares straight down his heavy barrel into the beady red eyes of the Helghast. In this section of the game, Sev and a small team of series stalwarts—including loose-cannon Rico and by-the-book Captain Narville—charge headlong toward an enormous mechanical monstrosity deployed by the Helghast.

Inexplicably, every character seems to have grown a lot more hair since we last saw them. Sev’s military-style mohawk has now become a fuzzy full head of hair with matching mountain-man beard, and Rico’s hair looks like something straight out of Welcome Back, Kotter. I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical plot explanation for why that is; perhaps they were all trying out for the sequel to Survivor: The Game?

click to enlargeA couple of major changes stand out in this sequence. First, it’s clear that Guerrilla is amping up the intensity. More things go “boom” than ever before, and cover isn’t nearly as safe as in the prior games. This keeps things moving at a much brisker pace. While in cover, bullets will hit you from time to time. Grenades, flamethrowers, snipers, and airstrikes keep you on your toes, and destructible structures mean that even the most solid-seeming cover won’t be there for long.

Second, Guerrilla has found a workable compromise between the “heavy” feeling of the shooting controls and the twitchy response that Call of Duty players expect. Guerrilla deserves real respect for sticking to their guns—literally—by keeping the sense of weapon weight; however, they’ve also made some concessions to fans who want a more responsive, faster-paced game. What remains is a solid and unique balance between the series’ more deliberate movement and the speediness of a mainstream FPS. With the addition of Move compatibility, expect even faster response times.

The meat of this sequence is the assault on a gigantic, weapon-toting, metallic robot thing. The attack begins with a ground assault where I had the chance to try out some new heavy weaponry. Having a rapid-fire missile launcher, buckets of endless ammunition, and giant baddie to blow up is every kid’s dream.

click to enlargeAfter some time spent tickling the beast’s underbelly from the ground, I then took to the air with a mounted machine gun. It may play like a conventional on-rails section, but the sounds and sights are pure technological awesomeness.

This was also my first chance to try out Killzone 3’s cooperative play. As far as I can judge, there’s no noticeable performance hit in local co-op. Sure, the field of view is more limited than in single-player, but the visual details all remain intact. There aren’t many FPS titles these days that let you play through the full campaign via couch co-op, so this is a welcome addition that sets Killzone 3 well apart from most of its peers.

Killzone 3 is shaping up to be an awe-inspiring package: Move support, 3D television compatibility, campaign co-op, a full multiplayer suite, jetpacks, and some nasty, nasty melee kills. Whether or not this is the CoD Killer, the Halo Destroyer, or the Gears Decimator is irrelevant. Judging by what I’ve seen so far, Killzone 3 is a powerhouse in its own right. Grease your gun and your fauxhawk; this could get hairy.

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