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14 Reviews

Killzone 3

PSM3 reviews the game from their perspective...

One of them's called Pete. One of the Helghast - Pete. Peter The Helghast. Seriously. Nice bloke.

Killzone's always done some things spectacularly and others rather poorly, and increasingly one of the latter things is making the human side more likeable than the Helghast. That's pretty important when your hero is on the human side.

It's hard to escape the feeling that your guys are dicks, and not just because their idiocy created the situation they're now trying to solve by invading somebody else's planet. You appear to be part of the biggest military screw-up since Custer's Last Stand.

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CRASH AND BURN
Killzone 3 struggles to be anything other than one-note, so much of your time is spent crash-landing into botched operations, watching your troops die by the busload and listening to the chaos of horrified screams on the radio.

Oh, and arguing about most of your orders, on account of them being stupid. Has one of those troop carriers - those idiotic armoured things with no protection, harnesses or even seats for the tiny handful of grunts on the roof rack - ever made a proper landing? Do they even have landing gear? They crash endlessly.

If we have to watch another one get shot down seconds after having a lovely chat with us... well, we're not going to the funerals, put it that way.

Killzone's humans are total jerks. You end up feeling like you're backing the wrong side - okay, the Helghast leadership might be right-wing spanners, but at least their troops aren't.

Happily, Killzone's structure prepares the ground by being conservative, confused and somewhat plodding too. Guerrilla Games has clearly recognised the need for increased variety, both in what you see and what you do.

Given that beautiful looks are what the studio's good at, it's no surprise it's been successful at the former. Some of the new environments are spectacular, and none more so than the icebergs and swelling grey seas of Helghan's frozen, snow-drifted coast.

This area, complete with a howling wind snapping at ripped crimson flags and snow sweeping over a colossal iced-in tanker, is incredibly impressive. It's not just a highlight of this game, but gaming in general. It's glorious. It's a shame they couldn't have used it to spice up what you do.

You soon realise it makes no difference to the combat - okay, we're happy it's white instead of brown, but it's still just another gorgeous backdrop.

Soon you're back in intrusively narrow corridors, doing the same thing as always. Guerrilla could have used the visibility problems of falling snow, the softness of the drifts, the hostility of the cold, the sea, the crevasses - all manner of things - to really add a freshness to the shooting. It hasn't.

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STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE
Instead it's given us pretty backdrops, and chosen the old-fashioned way to pep up its essentially old-fashioned shooter: adding awkward vehicle sections where the reality doesn't come close to the cut-scenes, awkward platforming via a jet-pack that's little more than a double jump, and awkward stealth.

The best thing is how they reinforce the quality of the core shooting. You're glad, in the end, just to get your real gun back.

For one last example of graphical prowess wasted, take the fog. After one intense stand against waves of invading Helghast, a mysterious fog rolls over the battlefield, greying everything out. It's spooky. What is it? Why's it here? What's going to come out of it? SPOILERS! The answer is nothing. If it was ever explained, we missed it.

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