February 22, 2011
First Person Shooter
Like its predecessor, k!llzone 3 is immediately striking for its gorgeous landscapes and glowing lighting, which provide a hostile, not-quite-familiar backdrop to the heart-pounding first-person firef!ghts that often occur on the planet of Helghan. But to dismiss this sequel as a mere visual showcase would be a disservice to the core action, which maintains the excellence that distinguished k!llzone 2. There's a heft as you move, jump, and shoot that you rarely feel in shooters, but it works for k!llzone 3, giving every shot that finds its mark a satisfying sense of impact and keeping you mindful of where you step before you wade into a sea of gunfire. Set-piece battles energize this foundation, mixing up the pace by putting you in a jetpack or inside a lumbering armored suit. It's unfortunate that not every aspect of the game maintains the same high standard of quality. The storytelling is so awful as to be embarrassing, yet there's so much more story than before, and its frequent interruptions injure the flow of the single-player campaign. And the tacked-on local cooperative mode is a missed opportunity, and problematic in its own right. Yet for these few steps back, there are steps forward too, making k!llzone 3 an exciting follow-up to one of 2009's best shooters--and one of the most beautiful-looking games to grace consoles yet.