Holy Shit! As my knife sunk into the eye of a Helghan soldier I momentarily forgot where I was. Over a year I’ve waited to play Killzone 3; with Killzone 2 ending on a cliff-hanger I’ve been left to ask too many questions without receiving the answers. What did Visari mean when he muttered the words “The Madness…Begins” on his death-bed? Did Rico get reprimanded for his execution of the Helghast general? And most importantly what was the aftermath after those Helghast battleships turned up at the end of Killzone 2?
Well I’m still asking those questions because the hands-on didn’t focus on the story. With Guerrilla wanting the story to unfold at launch rather than give away a major plot twist pre-launch, I was just thrown into the battlefield to fend for myself. PlayStation 3 fans who are wanting their next piece of Killzone action will not be disappointed.
The level we played out was the same as the one shown at E3. You start off on a hover ship and with a mounted mini gun you must lay waste to the bases in the middle of the sea that are laden with Helghast soldiers. You have unlimited ammo and it’s really a matter of mowing everything down as explosions and debris rain down across the bases. However, it’s not as easy as that as you will have the likes of Rocket launcher equipped enemies, anti-AA guns and much more to impede your route and it’s up to you to stop them.
After a rocky reception from the Helghast your ship is shot down and this initiates the traditional foot-based gameplay that we have come to love from Killzone. Helping the returning Rico out from underneath the wreckage of your ship you are immediately welcomed by the Helghast forces. Equipped with your traditional assault rifle with green-dot sight, grenades and pistol you’re free to engage the enemy, but I soon found myself picking up the now portable mini-gun. As you can guess like any other game that features a mini-gun the destruction and fire-rate is incredible.
I’ve still to replicate the destruction that I caused in my first playthrough with the mini-gun and despite it having a limited supply of ammo you soon rip through the pathetic armour that the Helghast trust their lives with. If anything at the current time the mini-gun felt a little too overpowered but you have to realise this is pre-alpha code so everything could change dramatically before the release next year.
But when a mini-gun won’t cut it and you’ve ran out of ammo for your assault rifle there is always the new brutal melee attacks. As I mentioned you can use a knife to stab your foe in the eye, the heart and the back, as well as snapping their neck using your bare hands. A quick click of R3 when prompted and you are shown a slow motion attack which is not for the faint hearted, it’s an easy transition between taking cover, shooting and then running in and finishing the job close combat style.
Not all enemies are able to be killed using the close combat mechanic. The new Helghast jet pack troopers make an impressive debut to the series and looking like some futuristic flying mechanical spider they are a true spectacle to behold, not to mention a pain in the arse to take down. Taking control of a jet pack yourself is a sketchy affair, the term jet pack can be used lightly as it felt more like a jump pack giving you around five to ten seconds of air time before the boosters cut off and you came crashing back down to earth. It’s still fun to use especially with the added weaponry on the jet pack; nothing is more satisfying than taking cover from incoming fire only to surprise your enemy by boosting into the sky and laying waste to them before landing safely back to the floor.
And all of that is possible using the tweaked controls. One of the main niggles for Killzone 2 was the clunky feeling control system but it seems like Guerrilla Games has listened to the community and slightly changed the controls to feel much more solid than its predecessors. Everything feels like it flows a lot more than last year’s helping and it really does assist you as you traverse the levels.
So with the single player action shaping up well and with a few plot lines to be concluded you can be assured that when it launches it won’t be a disappointment. It looks like the announcement for the multiplayer beta is imminent and if it is anything like Killzone 2’s multiplayer then it’s going to captivate the PlayStation community. With the sharper controls, added melee combat and the inclusion of jet packs, Killzone 3 is already shaping up to be a tasty treat for all the shooting game fanatics out there.