Killzone 2 was an impressive sequel that gave the series new life and helped to redeem Guerilla Games as an AAA developer, but it wasn’t without its issues. What I’ve played of Killzone 3 looks to change that by reworking the controls, increasing gameplay variety and adjusting the class system.
The biggest change for Killzone 3, and the most obvious one when you boot up the beta, is that the control sensitivity has changed from the (what some would call) sluggish movement of the 2nd game. While you still have a feeling of weight to your steps when you move, turning feels much more like every other shooter, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what side of the fence you were on when Killzone 2 came out. Another change is that gun recoil has been greatly decreased, to the point that it’s easy to kill someone with a machine gun from a long range. The developers have mentioned that this will be tweaked for the final release.
Killzone’s class system has also had a major overhaul. Instead of slowly unlocking classes as you level up, you now have access to all of the classes from the get-go and as you level up you get points you can use to unlock more abilities and weapons for the class of your choice. There have also been some changes to how the classes work, so instead of the Tactician being able to toss down a spawn point wherever they need it, they are now the only ones able to capture preset spawn points that are on every map. I really like this idea, since it gives these spawn points more strategic advantage and avoids the common Killzone 2 situation where some Tactician with soup for brains would toss a spawn point in a horrible place and poor unwitting team mates would charge forth to their deaths. These spawn points might be too powerful in the current build, as on two out of the three maps capturing these spawn points is completely essential to having a fighting chance, but if they can be balanced a bit more I think it’ll be a great change for the series.
Snipers have lost the ability to permanently mark everyone in their field of vision, which is probably a good change, although that particular skill allowed me to rack up massive kills in Killzone 2 and was the source of great amusement for me. Classes have been trimmed down slightly, so now your choices are Marksman, Tactician, Field Medic, Engineer, and Infiltrator. The turrets and flying robots, for Engineers and Tacticians respectively, can now be upgraded so that the turrets shoot missiles periodically and the bots might actually kill someone who isn’t afk. One major complaint for the current set up is that there aren’t a massive amount of upgrades and weapons possible for each class. You get three primary weapon choices, three secondary weapon choices and two ability trees with three possible upgrades. I assume this is to make it possible for someone to eventually unlock everything in a reasonable amount of time, but I think it would be beneficial to deepen what’s available to each class so that someone who likes to use one class almost exclusively will have a good amount of upgrades to look forward to.
My other big complaint is that matchmaking in the current build is pretty broken. Why is it that when I join a warzone with horribly mismatched numbers the game actually puts me on the side with the most people? I came into one game where there was one poor sap all on his lonesome on one team and the game had seen fit to put me on the side that already had ten people. Hopefully this is a problem that will be fixed by release.
The last thing that has been upgraded is the variety in gameplay, as well as multiplayer maps. Vehicles have been added in the form of walker mech-type robots that spawn at the base of each faction and can completely change the flow of battle. The auto aim function is a bit too forgiving with the mechs right now, but this is again something that will most likely be adjusted due to input from beta testers. Even with the mechs being as powerful as they are they still aren’t invincible and the map that has them has several stationary missile turrets that can be repaired by engineers to make short work of vehicles. Another new addition that won’t surprise anyone is jetpacks. They don’t allow complete free reign over the skies but instead give you a big jump upward and a slow descent, but they come equipped with a machine gun with unlimited ammo and you can put the jetpack away temporarily if you want to go back to using your normal primary weapon.
While there aren’t any grassy fields or jungles in the maps available in the beta, they still show greater variety than maps from the 2nd game. Completed objectives can now change the look of the map as towers come toppling down after explosives are successfully detonated, which is a nice touch to make the objectives seem real. One map in particular has a large turbine in the middle of the map that periodically turns on and disrupts radar for everyone on the field for 10-20 seconds. The second map is on an icy field and features a new game type where one team is on the invading force that flies in from the coastline and works to achieve set objectives and the other team defends and tries to stop them. These games begin and end in scenes featuring the top players from each side, which give a nice cinematic flare that is absent from your average Warzone match. Lastly there is a map on a broken down highway, with dropships constantly flying in the background to help make you feel like you are a part of a larger war.
It’s important to note that this is a preview based off of alpha code (something you are reminded of often while playing), so everything I’ve written about could be completely changed before release. Nonetheless, based on the beta alone, Killzone 3’s multiplayer seems to be shaping up nicely. Most of the changes I have seen are for the better and hopefully those changes I was less happy about are reworked or reversed for the final version of the game.