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Beta Test: Killzone 3

7:22 AM on 10.26.2010 // Jim Sterling

The Killzone 3 beta officially kicked off this week and you can bet your filthy ISA-sympathizing arse that I've been knee deep in the dead since it did. Of course, the dead were mostly my previous spawns that had been mercilessly killed by much better players, but that's besides the point. 

Obviously, the official point of a beta is to provide feedback to the developers, even if "beta" just means "glorified demo" these days, and I've got plenty of thoughts. Why not read them and see if you agree? Read on for a breakdown of the good and the bad in Killzone 3.

The Killzone 3 beta officially kicked off this week and you can bet your filthy ISA-sympathizing arse that I've been knee deep in the dead since it did. Of course, the dead were mostly my previous spawns that had been mercilessly killed by much better players, but that's besides the point. 

Obviously, the official point of a beta is to provide feedback to the developers, even if "beta" just means "glorified demo" these days, and I've got plenty of thoughts. Why not read them and see if you agree? Read on for a breakdown of the good and the bad in Killzone 3.{{page_break}}

The Good

Mechs and Jetpacks: 

Killzone 2's multiplayer was awesome, but it lacked the vehicular combat seen in the single-player experience. Guerrilla Games has rectified that with Mechs and Jetpacks, and their inclusion has only added to the game in very pleasant ways. 

Not only are they a lot of fun to use, Guerrilla has done a remarkable job of keeping them toned down just enough that they don't overpower the game. Mechs are deadly and will murder anybody stupid enough to take them head-on, but they're a lot more vulnerable than confident pilots may think and they'll drop in no time if opposing players are fast on their feet and keep up the assault. 

Likewise, jetpacks make you feel like Boba Fett, and are surprisingly effective when it comes to raining death down on the enemy. However, players are very vulnerable in the air, and will drop swiftly if exposed for long. Each vehicle has its distinct benefits and uses, but there are very clear downsides that are easily exploited. Balance! Who would have thought it?

Unlock Points:

Character progression has changed significantly since Killzone 2, and the changes are positive. Instead of going along a linear, set path to unlocking equipment and class skills, players are awarded Unlock Points every time they progress in rank. These Points can be saved up and spent on any weapon or skill one desires, for any of the classes. If you want your Medic to rock a shotgun, just save up two points and get it. Each class still has limits on what weapons can be used, but every character has access to wider range of firearms, not to mention new ranks for their special skills that bestow some awesome benefits. 

The extra freedom with character building is very much appreciated, and already feels more compelling than Killzone 2. No more being stuck with SMGs!

The Tactician:

The Tactician was my favorite class in Killzone 2, mostly because it has the coolest Helghast character model, but also because it was the unsung hero of the game. Despite being one of the most crucial classes of any multiplayer match, the Tactician's opportunity to score points was very weak compared to other classes. He couldn't win kills with a Turret like the Engineer, or get bonus points for reviving players like the Medic. Sure, he eventually got an air bot, but we all know those were crap. 

Not only that, but his spawn grenades were pretty broken, with players able to create an invincible swarm in enemy bases. This was eventually patched to remove the temporary spawn invincibility, but this created the problem of spawn grenades now being a team deathtrap. 

Both problems have been rectified with the new Tactician. Spawn points are now in set positions on the map, and the Tactician has to activate them. He gets 50 Points for each activation, providing the crucial incentive for doing his job, and it eliminates the cheapness of the spawn grenades. Plus you can unlock an LMG for him, finally giving him some oomph in combat, too. 

The Bad

Messy objectives:

The game is very cluttered with objective markers at the moment, and none of them are very clear about where to go. This is especially true with the aforementioned Tactician, who has all spawn points highlighted on the screen at once. This becomes a problem during Search & Retrieve, where it becomes almost impossible to find the mission objective amongst all the other marks littering the screen. 

While all these markers can be quite crucial, having them more clearly defined is important. Picking up the Search & Retrieve objective and trying to work out where to go with it isn't needed when you have an entire enemy team breathing down your neck. 

Sterile sound:

The sound that is in the game is great, with impressive gunfire echo and environmental sound effects. However, Killzone 3 still lacks in the sound department. This was a big problem with Killzone 2, where I felt the game's sound didn't exude much character. Player avatars only make the occasional grunt and grimace, mostly fighting very quietly which leads to a rather sterile sounding environment. 

In fairness this is a problem found in many multiplayer games, but I know Killzone is better than that. With so much atmosphere to be found in the visuals, I'd love the sound to catch up. One thing I love about Gears of War is how each character model has its own set of phrases and audio feedback cues. Throwing in some audio feedback and phrases for each class would be awesome and make the game feel more alive, which would seriously tip this game over the edge. 

Too many kill zones in the Killzones:

Even with the Tactician fix, it's still entirely too possible for the course of a match to be decided before the first round's even finished. One map in particular has several spawn points that, once controlled, give a team dominion over the entire map and are almost impossible to relinquish. Trying to capture a spawn point while enemies are, well, spawning is already difficult, and once an important point has been taken, it'll take an entire team to wrest control. 

Again, these choke points were an issue in Killzone 2 and it dampens the spirit of a game once one side has gained the necessary spawn locations required to walk all over the enemy. It's almost entirely a case of map design. The map in question has spawn points that can only be reached with jetpacks, meaning only a limited number of players can get up there at a time and will be flattened by the players camping to snipe down at opponents. That particular map could do with an overhaul and Guerrilla needs to be careful with others, lest they suffer the same problem. 

And that's all the feedback I have after my first day in beta. I will likely discover much more, but if you're not in the beta and have questions, fire away! Beta testers are not embargoed and pretty much say anything they please! Keep reading Destructoid for more Killzone 3 beta coverage, and check out this Giant Bomb video where I make an appearance and get my head completely shot off. I got 'em back, though!

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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