Killzone 3 Beta Impressions
It was just shy of two years ago when Killzone 2 exploded on to the scene and inserted itself as yet another multiplayer juggernaut on the PlayStation 3. As crowded as the genre already is, Killzone has always found a way to set itself apart. Now, we’ve had some hands on time with the Killzone 3 multiplayer beta and we’re ready to bring you our impressions. So how does it hold up?
The Killzone 3 beta has a generous offering of modes, maps and equipment to play with. You’ve got three full size maps to compete on: Corinth Highway, Turbine Concourse and Frozen Dam. The maps look absolutely fantastic and were visually a step up from those in Killzone 2.
The actual design of the maps are good but they have a couple of minor flaws. The majority of the time we had no issues but there were a few instances where we found ourselves being spawn killed by an overpowering opposing team. Aside from those rare occurrences, we absolutely loved the look and feel of the maps, although we’re sure a lot of tweaking will be done between now and launch.
To go along with those maps we had three different game modes to play. The first, Warzone, is a holdover from Killzone 2 where you have multiple objectives that cycle throughout the match. Second, there’s Guerilla Warfare, which is basically just deathmatch but is a fantastic and much requested addition to the Killzone platter. Last is a slightly cinematic objective based game called Operations. In Operations you’re either attacking or defending your way to victory by completing diverse objectives that trigger a cinematic for every one you successfully attack/defend.
The Warzone mode is exactly as it was in Killzone 2 and they made very few changes. Guerilla Warfare seems like such a simple addition but it really was nice having a mode that allowed us to just go in and kill. Operations has the potential to be one of the better modes in multiplayer but it could use some help before the game is finalized. For instance, if the defending team was a lot more dominant than the attackers, then you could be in for a very long game.
The gameplay in the beta was particularly noteworthy. We loved the ‘heavy’ feel that Killzone 2 had because it really made it feel like its own game. In the beta for Killzone 3, that weight is back but the gameplay mechanics feel a lot more responsive. Guerrilla definitely spent some time tightening up the controls without sacrificing the unique Killzone style and it was very noticeable.
Another thing we were very happy with was the introduction of killstreak rewards. They took a small page out of the Call of Duty handbook but put their own signature on it by making the rewards varied and mostly only personally beneficial. For instance, say you gain 5 kills in a row, you may gain a ribbon that allows you to aim down the sights faster. There’s also ribbons for extra health, extra XP and other similar rewards. Some of the ribbons you can earn may last for the entire match or only for a short amount of time and it seemed like they occasionally gave them out even when we didn’t earn any streaks. We loved this addition and hope they add more of these rewards for the final game.
One of the final few things we want to make note of is the A.I. intelligence for the bots. Guerrilla made sure the bots are not only accurate and deadly but that they know how to play the objective based games properly. In some cases the A.I. was actually better than human counterparts.
We’d also like to make a quick comment about the graphical prowess of the beta. It’s actually kind of funny to see the ‘Alpha Code’ text at the top of the screen because it already looks better than about 95% of all other games out there. The bland color pallet is back in full force but you can still tell the game is going to be a visual beast once again.
In retrospect, we absolutely love the changes that have been made so far. The new streak rewards, the deeper ranking/unlock system and the implementation of the highly requested Guerilla Warfare and redesigned lobby system shows that Guerrilla is really listening to the community. If they continue to do so after the beta, there’s no reason to think that Killzone 3 won’t be a multiplayer monster, just like its predecessor.
Assuming you were lucky enough to get in, be sure to let us know in the comments what your experiences were like.