As general fans of both killing and zones, the multiplayer beta for Killzone 3 was an exciting prospect for many of us here at the office, and we recently had the opportunity to jump online and attempt to stab, flank and frag some enemy Helghast. The levels included in the beta weren’t anything new to those who’ve seen the game at the various conventions over the last few months, but with the debris-filled killing fields now populated by real-life players, we had a lot more time to live and die in the world of Killzone 3.
Thankfully, few shooters look quite as good as Killzone and this latest installment only continues to improve upon what was already a visual spectacle. The two levels we experienced in the beta offered a nice mixture of interior and exterior settings. The first, Corinth Highway, provided a nuclear-baked sky, a perpetual orange overcast, that hovered above a bombed-out terrain of collapsed highways and decimated buildings. The second, Frozen Damn, took place in a massive industrial complex of rusted, criss-crossing girders, pounded relentlessly on one side by the ocean and flanked on the other by a snowy, ash laden hill. And in between, rubble-filled hallways or metal corridors drove us toward our enemies, guns forward, admiring the scenery.
With regard to the core gameplay, fans of Killzone won’t find a particularly new experience, but there are a handful of new features that help to broaden the multiplayer significantly. Classes have been added to the mix, allowing players to choose from Infiltrator, Marksman, Engineer, Tactician and Field Medic, each of which comes with various skills and load-outs such as boosts to accuracy, offense, turret maintenance, repair and stealth.
While the game plays noticeably faster and more streamlined than Killzone 2, that familiar sense of heaviness persists, a weight to your step and a bob to your head that ultimately eliminates a sense of smoothness to your movement. Subsequently, running and gunning isn’t an easy affair, so lining up shots, communicating with your team and planning out the best, most effective strategies will no doubt be key to surviving for long.
That…and giant mechs. Yes, massive mech-suits can be found throughout select maps that’ll give you a sizeable advantage for as long as you can avoid enemy fire, offering endless ammo and a barrage of missiles with which to wail away on your opponents. The mech proved particularly useful in Cornith Highway where players can traverse to the upper levels and rain down destruction on their opponents in the central courtyard.
At the end of the day, Killzone 3 continues to refine an already successful multiplayer experience without stepping away from the core elements that have made this graphically jaw-dropping actioner a must-own for PS3 fans. Only time and a much higher body count will tell for sure, however.