Killzone 3 campaign preview – big, loud, predictable

Size matters… but interesting gunplay matters more. VGD goes hands-on with a Killzone 3 campaign build.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, December 16, 2010

The MAWLR is a five hundred feet high cluster of heaving pistons, roaring engine belts, Tesla coils and antennae, looming over the battlefield on four reverse-jointed legs, each as thick as a bridge support. Like most mechanisms of Helghan origin, it’s a technological feat of quite ostentatious crudeness – potent, but clumsy as hell.

Staring up at the wedge-shaped “head”, collared by smoke and lightning, we’re put bizarrely in mind of Disney’s The Lion King. Remember the bit when Simba has a vision of his dear old dad, Mufasa, glaring down at him from the stars? This is kind of like that, except rather than paternal advice and sonorous little homilies on the nature of Being, the MAWLR is dispensing mortar rounds, tangerine gouts of cannonfire, and searing purple blasts from its main gun.

The bunker we’re crouching in shudders and crumples under another bombardment, rockets perforating the roof. Our surroundings begin to bleach, red damage spatter creeping in at the corners. “Hakuna Matata” be damned. A change of scene is called for.

Clicking left stick, we sprint across to the next building in the row, relishing the newfound responsiveness of Killzone 3′s controls. Locked into a firing pattern, the MAWLR is unable to track its target. We rearm at a handy (and handily indestructible) ammo cache and cling to cover by the door frame, peeping round it at the beast as it vomits raw energy onto our erstwhile hideaway, reduced to load-bearing walls but still upright in the face of the odds.

As you may have deduced, life in the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance is no easier than it was at the beginning of last year, when jowly leading man Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko and his fellow bastions of humanity first plunged through the stratosphere of planet Helghan. Killzone 2 ended on a quietly hopeless note, with a dictator lying dead in his own throne room, his followers massing in the middle distance, and the ISA at large a fair few starships short of an exit strategy.

Now, the bloodshed has recommenced in earnest. Red-eyes seethe in their millions around the exhausted invaders, a resurgent imperial fleet patrols the airways. Cut off from their commanders, obliged to scavenge for ammo and equipment, the taskforce is fighting what increasingly resembles a doomed rearguard action, trying to thwart or, at the very least, stall a revenge attack on Mother Earth. The stakes have never been higher.

The same can’t be said of Killzone 3 as a product. 2009′s instalment had everything to prove: it was the sequel to one of history’s most infamous exercises in over-hype, hobbled by tactical marketing errors right out the gate. The game we’re playing now has no such legacy of bad blood to worry about: those heavy-handed pop-and-drop mechanics, raucous macho characterisations and chiselled, layered aesthetics have been proven under fire.

It may not outsell the likes of Black Ops on release – hard-boiled sci-fi lacks the commercial punch of contemporary war heroics – but it will doubtless sell enough to earn its keep, and shift another few million 3D TVs and Move controllers in the bargain. A dream scenario for many developers, this. Except…

Except when the tide turns in your favour it’s far too easy to lie back, creatively speaking, and let yourself be swept along. Killzone 3 is a technological terror indeed, a riotous, bubbling pool of unpronounceable coding techniques. What it isn’t, right now, is terribly involving or surprising.

There are too many old devices, too many returning conceits. Take that MAWLR, for instance. It may be big, it may be noisy, it may alter the very climate whenever it opens fire, but at the end of the day, it’s just another boss mech – and we all know what to do with boss mechs.

Sure enough, there are heat vents tucked away in the thicket of autogun emplacements, baleful white through the scope of a WASP cluster-missile launcher. We lock and unload with a tap of X, the homer leaving the barrel with a faint bump.

A blast cloud rips across the MAWLR’s temple, and its nose swings round irritably to disgorge a return salvo. We let it zero in, then scurry up some stairs to the third of the area’s bunkers and squat by the window, waiting for another vent to blossom on the machine’s side. We’ve got its number now. We’ve got it sussed.

Posted in Previews, Top 5, and tagged with , , , , , .

6 Responses to “Killzone 3 campaign preview – big, loud, predictable”

  1. DUMBASS says:

    typical arrogant loser trying to use big words that are out redundant and judging an entire game based on a few minutes that you should never have had the privlage of playing!
    there is nothing generic about the gameplay!
    If you find killzone predictable, then every fps must be predictable…its a fps not shakespear asshole!
    im in the kz3 beta and its better than any other fps… deal with it fanboy!

  2. gadget says:

    no, just typical denial xbot shitock.

  3. SO... says:

    What would it take to surprise and “innovate” (god that word is as useless this gen as the journalists and bloggers). You played a few levels and it sounds like you already got your score for next year. That sounds pretty ignorant to me. I’m curious of what you thought of all the CODs Halos and gears this gen. They were revolutionary right?…

  4. Carvega says:

    This article is old, loud, and predictable. Based on your criticisms, ALL fps games are predictable and uninspiring. Neither Halo or COD have done anything new with the campaign mode since Half Life came out YEARS ago. And this boss footage looked a hell of a lot cooler than anything I played in the Black Ops campaign!!!

    As far as the actual gameplay, Killzone 2 already succeeded in feeling uniquely different than other arcade fps titles. And I have never persnoally played one that offered the type of spectacle that I’ve seen in the newly released vids!

    KZ3 will own 2011 in the FPS category, plain and simple!!!

  5. Dark-SilV says:

    I will take all the negativism and apply it on every FPS came this Gen , some of the things don’t make sense at all

    guys don’t use double standards ,but who am I kidding

  6. zarbor says:

    I’m no Killzone fan and highly critical of the series. The first game as this reviewer explained was an over-hyped mess of a game that was on a underpowered system. Nevertheless, this guy totally trashing Killzone 3 is ridiculous.

    Killzone 2 was better than the first but that’s because the bar was so low. I personally thought the game was average. I really don’t like the Hellgast as an enemy since its their glowing eyes only that separates them. Not to mention, some more variations in enemies is desperately needed. Here’s hoping Killzone 3 will get it. (Highly unlikely)

    I don’t have any expectations for Killzone 3 but there is no way I would let this guy deter me from playing it for myself. Great graphics don’t make a great game but Killzone series not as bad as this guy makes it out to be.

    Killzone 2 felt like you were going from set piece to set p


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