Gamescom: Killzone 3 Multiplayer and PlayStation Move Preview
Shooting people in the head and aiming with our hands.
Killzone 3 is the culmination of not only everything Guerrilla's learned throughout the many years the developers have been working on the franchise, but also a showcase for Sony's Move and 3D technology. To see this first hand, I tried out both the new additions Killzone 3 is bringing to multiplayer as well as the game's Move controls.
The multiplayer of Killzone 3 is similar to that of the previous game (it's still a competitive first-person shooter, after all), but two new modes called Guerilla Warfare and Operations are thrown in to help keep things fresh. Guerilla Warfare is a team deathmatch game that features dynamic spawning (where you spawn all over the map but always close to your team), while Operations is an objective-based game whose major feature is the inclusion of story elements. An Operations match includes several cutscenes that play out as objectives are completed, telling the story of what's going on or occurring as a result of the objective and featuring the best-rated players in the scene. It may not sound all that exciting when you read it, but the hope is that players will really get into competing for the objective so that they can have their few seconds of fame among their peers.
If you're a passionate Killzone 2 player, and are especially into the idea of clans, then Killzone 3 is trying to build up what you love too. Clan support returns, but now there will be regional clan leaderboards (with matches that put you against clans in your area to maximize the quality of your connections), as well as unranked practice matches for clans. Playing with clans will also have added benefits, with clans getting experience bumps for completing certain tasks like saving clanmates during a match. The hope is that this will encourage more people to participate in clans, extending the life of the online play considerably and helping to make this part of the game more accessible.
Careers also return in Killzone 3's multiplayer, but how you advance them has been changed to give the player more options. Each time you earn enough experience to level up, you're given points you can spend, allowing you to pick what unlocks you want. This means that with the game's five careers having six weapons, as well as six unique abilities to unlock, players will have a huge amount of combinations to unlock as they see fit.
Not everything in Killzone 3's multiplayer is simply building upon what's come before, though, with vehicles being the biggest addition. Just like the single player game, multiplayer will now include exo-suits and jet packs. The levels have been completely reworked to be balanced for the vehicles, and during my hands-on time, players had little difficulty in taking out the random exo-suit that tried to push too far into enemy territory. That being said, vehicles did seem highly effective at helping your team push forward and flank enemies if you have a player who's skilled with the jet pack.
Another option that will be in Killzone 3's multiplayer will be support for the PlayStation Move. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try this out in multiplayer matches, but I did get to play through the E3 single-player demo with the Move in-hand. It controls a lot like a Wii FPS, with the pointer acting both as your cursor and as the means by which you turn the camera. Additional Move specific controls include the ability to twist the Move controller to reload, and the ability to do melee attacks by holding down L2 and pushing forward with the controller. It's a little jarring to learn the control scheme, especially if you're used to playing the game with a DualShock, but the hope is that this additional option will open up the game to a wider audience who's intimidated by using dual analog controls.
Rain fire on your friends.
In practice, I thought the Move controls functioned well, but I don't think I'll be using them over the DualShock. The biggest question in my mind is how they'll balance out Move vs. DualShock controls in online play? The DualShock controls will have to have just the right amount of aim assist to give them the edge they need to compete with the precision of the Move, and I don't envy the balancing that this is going to take. Still, it's not like they're forcing anyone to use them, and I'm sure a wide audience will appreciate the option to have them there. More options never hurt anyone, right?
Overall Killzone 3's multiplayer is looking even better than the last, and the last was damn good. Sure, getting Killzone 3 will force you to "start over" and rank up all over again, but with the additions and tweaks they're including, as well as the option to play with the Move, it seems like a pretty easy leap to justify.