**NOTE: Spoilers present – Yeah, I give it all away baby.**
A friend was telling me recently how he doesn’t understand why so many franchises think they need trilogies. It’s rare that a game will have one sequel and then stop. But every once in a while, a series needs to stop after the sequel.
I’ve just completed Killzone 3, and honestly, I kind of wish they would’ve packed the story into two games. 2 was an exciting and unexpected return to a series that was a fun divergence from standard shooters back on the PS2. Everything was amped up in that sequel, we saw the return of stars from the original, and the climax was a shocker.
But with 3, it sort of feels like Guerrilla had already pulled out all the big guns. They tried to stretch what should have been the conclusion of the second game into a whole other installment, and the thinness of it all was tangible. I couldn’t help but feel that the action and writing was as feeble and tired as the Helghast councilmen at the center of the game’s “political intrigue”.
(Which came off like a bunch 10-year old boys playing war anyway)
I didn’t find any of the cast likeable, which is not a surprise in Rico’s case after he beat a soldier to death for “insubordination” in the last game, but I actually felt for Sev at the end of that one after his hothead partner fucked up their entire mission. They killed off Garza, and Natko was nowhere to be seen (except in the co-op campaign, and even then he doesn’t speak at all).
Narville was a giant pansy, no matter how hard I tried to imagine he was just playing the good mentor. In fact, the entire ISA army in the third game was made up of pansies. Every soldier whose face you could see (besides the ONE random girl) was an overweight bald guy. And they got dropped like mosquitos. I don’t know whether to blame their own incompetence or their commanders’ complete lack of leadership or concern for them.
(I’ll stick with Captain Templar, thanks)
Even the gameplay was a little contrived at times. This is a problem that has plagued the series since the beginning I think. Many a time I found myself starting a section with some random weapon shoved into my hands, only to discover it was essentially useless. It was as if they were just trying to show it off, but I never asked for it! Where did my exploding-bolt gun go??
At one point after a cutscene, I randomly started in a vehicle called an “Icesaw” which at no point was introduced and was only even shown at the end of the run when we bailed out of it (and why I had to steer AND shoot while Rico was driving is beyond me). The tank and mech sections were pretty fun, if a little bit frustrating, but the final fight in space was just a shitshoot.
All of this is compounded by the fact that Guerrilla still doesn’t seem to have fixed their checkpoint system. You fight your way through 65 Helghast assholes across a whole platform – with the only gun they drop ammo for – to get dropped by some surprise motherfucker and have to do it all over again.
Your buddies can revive you, but for some unknown reason they’ll only deign to do it like twice before they let you go and you respawn at the last terrible checkpoint. And half the time while they’re shouting “You think I’d let you die?” they’re sitting behind cover 50 yards away and you bleed out watching the nearest Helghast trooper give you the finger.
(Fuck you, buddy)
Glossing over the inconsistency of the ATAC fights, the invincibility of the heavy troopers, and the sheer number of bullets it takes to kill ANYTHING with the inaccurate weapons provided – let’s discuss the ending.
A nuke? Where the hell did we get a nuke on our crappy little space attack ship, and why the hell did we not use that IMMEDIATELY? The main bad guy is getting away in his GIANT space cruiser, and we wait until we’ve slowly pestered him to pieces and he’s falling into orbit TO DROP OUR NUKE?
And then – oh and THEN – he fucking LIVES! You’re shitting me right Guerrilla? A fourth installment, after this mess? Please just make it a movie. Don’t make us do this again. Have it turn out that the big surprise at the end of 3 is the intro to a movie tie-in. Or a fucking space-time loop. “We nuked all of Helghan and the pissed survivors are coming to invade Vekta!” – boom, first game plot, more or less.
I loved you Killzone. I invested countless hours in you, had faith you truly were “The Halo Killer” like they said. But you let me down. I’m.. I’m not sure I can go on like this. I think I want to see other games. Maybe you should see other players, too. When 4 comes around, I don’t think I’ll be here. I’ll have packed all my stuff and moved to Battlefield 3’s house.