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What Killzone 3 needs to be

Killzone 3 Screenshot - 410162

You'd be pressed to find ways to call Killzone 2 anything but a good game. The visuals were and still are phenomenal. The multiplayer was layered and addictive. The single player campaign, albeit short and loaded with annoying cussing, was solid.. Overall, Killzone 2 was a really good game and a great exclusive title for Sony to kick off 2009. So, with a slew of critical accolades, a sturdy fan base and some respectable sales behind it, it should serve as little surprise that Sony and Guerrilla games are already working on a sequel. The real question is what direction are will they take the game in, and will it correct some of its predecessors genuine mistakes?

The writing in Killzone 2 was generally horrendous. Well, perhaps that's a bit strong. Most of Visari's -aka, space Hitler's- were fairly stirring. That said, as has already been mentioned, the game had a tendency to overdo it in the expletive department. The game's vision of military men seemed to have been pieced together mainly from macho 80s movies, which like most everything else in the 1980s save for The Terminator and Pour Some Sugar on Me, are outmoded. It robbed from a number of scenes that were clearly supposed to have meaning to the player. Why should I care that so-and-so was just killed, when all he's done the past four hours is tell me to “move my f**** ass?” Other games, Uncharted 2 for instance, have demonstrated very well that you can have good, endearing writing in an action game, and it would be a huge step in the right direction for Killzone 3 to pay attention to that example. It doesn't mean every exchange is a tirade of witty banter, but it can inject a little heart into its characters so people actually care when terrible things befall them.

There are, of course, things that don't really need to change that much. There probably wouldn't be too many complaints if the graphics weren't kicked up another thousand notches. Guerrilla has already proven they can produce a state-of-the-art graphics engine, and while a few tweaks here and there are always nice, fans could probably live without vast, release-date-delaying leaps in quality. Also, while it would be foolish to not change anything, I wouldn't mind the if the multiplayer closely resembled that from Killzone 2 in at least some respects. I really enjoy that the online game is mainly an infantry-only affair, and I would discourage changing that. Meanwhile, it would be great if destructible environments could be integrated. The firefights in Killzone 2 get really intense. The spray of bullets, the shock of explosions; these have a lot impact. That said, titles like Bad Company 2 have demonstrated just how much this can be augmented when you're literally tearing up the world around you. There's no good reason Killzone shouldn't follow suit.

If Killzone 3 makes only one change though, it should be to integrate PlayStation Move. Now when used poorly, motion controls suck. That said, if the Wii has done anything even remotely well, it has shown in games like The Conduit, Red Steel 2, or even Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, that motion controls can work with shooters. Pulling off a motion controlled Killzone 3 would be a victory on several fronts. For Sony it would help demonstrate that the Move isn't doomed to become another casual crowd gimmick, and can actually be a boon to hardcore gamers. On a larger scale, quality motion-based controls put to use in an established and popular franchise, would help push the industry forward in one way that the Wii has failed to do.

Honestly, Killzone 3 doesn't need to do much to be a great game. Simply following in the footsteps of Killzone 2 would be more then enough to guarantee at least some quality gaming. I'd be happy just know what happens to all those poor ISA saps after the credits started rolling at the end of the last game. But as we all know, in this industry, more of the same is rarely an equation for success. Something always has to give and whether it's better writing, graphics, action or controls, new games need to bring something better to the table in order to ascend past the icy plains of “been there, done that.”

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Stewart Shearer
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