Over the top FPS games
September 19, 2011

I'm playing Killzone 3, and man is it ridiculous. I mean, clearly all FPS games have ridiculous plots and ideas, but this game made me laugh openly while playing. Perhaps they're doing it on purpose so as not to take themselves so seriously? That's gotta be it. The main character, Zev, and his loud mouthed buddy Rico are gunners on some sort of high altitude craft and where do they sit to operate the guns? ON TOP OF THE CRAFT. Like, right on top. No oxygen mask. There's no canopy, no nothing. They're not even strapped in. They stay on because they each have one foot hooked around a metal rail.

Just before the sequence with them riding on the open concept craft, Zev is flying a jetpack. It malfunctions and is doomed to crash. He extricates himself, and falls some twenty feet directly onto his left shoulder. Hard. He sits up to recover, and a huge wave caused by an explosion in the water nearly drowns him. His response is priceless: he calmly gets up, LITERALLY BRUSHES HIS SHOULDER OFF, and radios for a pick up from his indestructible hands-free device which is still attached to his ear and still functioning.

Someone is having a lot of fun with this.

Judging from this and the abysmal storytelling in Black Ops, I expect wonderful things from Modern Warfare 3.

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EmP EmP - September 19, 2011 (09:19 AM)
I've been playing Metro, where everything is carefully understated. Though my gaming time has taken a huge hit while I nurse a broken thumb.
Masters Masters - September 19, 2011 (11:01 AM)
I did a famous Masters '5 minute assessment' of that game and never went back to it. Given that you and your worst enemy Suskie both love the game, I should give it another shot.
SamildanachEmrys SamildanachEmrys - September 19, 2011 (11:32 AM)
I assume Killzone 3 isn't taking itself too seriously. I liked Black Ops though. It was a strange choice for the otherwise relatively grounded Call of Duty series (it was more like a Metal Gear game, plot-wise) but I enjoyed it.
Suskie Suskie - September 19, 2011 (11:47 AM)
I haven't played enough of Killzone 3 to really judge it, but Killzone 2 took itself very seriously.

By the way -- and I know this is a predictable thing for me to say in defense of a game I like -- but Metro 2033 is not a game that can be accurately analyzed within its first five minutes. It's a game that constantly surprises you, but as EmP said, always in understated ways. It's never quite the game you expect it to be.
Masters Masters - September 19, 2011 (12:01 PM)
I haven't played enough of Killzone 3 to really judge it, but Killzone 2 took itself very seriously.

Quite right. And Killzone 3 is no different in that department, which is scary. There were some changes though, with the writing staff, and wanting to make the game 'less dark'. But it's still trying to be Call of Duty in the future, and some stuff is just straight up dumb.
Masters Masters - September 20, 2011 (06:36 AM)
I'm going to beat this thing tonight. Whether or not a review comes from doing so is anyone's guess. I'm thinking no.
Suskie Suskie - September 20, 2011 (08:48 AM)
It took me a year to review Killzone 2 because there was absolutely nothing interesting to say about it.
Masters Masters - September 20, 2011 (09:03 AM)
I know what you mean. Same story with 3, but worse, because now the crispy, detailed graphics that were sorta impressive in 2, are no longer impressive. Except maybe the water effects.

Black Ops is in the same boat as far as I'm concerned. And Medal of Honor. All very ho-hum.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - September 20, 2011 (08:44 PM)
Every time I feel like I might be interested in playing Killzone, I always find another game, shooter or otherwise, that I'm far more interested in. I'm just going to have to wait for someone to accidentally gift me one of the games.
fleinn fleinn - September 21, 2011 (05:32 AM)
..if you have a choice, then I'd recommend going for Killzone 2. ...thing about these games is that they have elements that are absolutely brilliant. KZ3 has the cover-mechanic, and slide to cover. The graphics are.. ridiculous. If you play with the move, it's a really fun shooter.. everything makes sense, and so on. About the story... well... Stahl is funny when he swears a lot :D ..that's it, really.

Killzone 2 had something else. Technically speaking, the way they do the lighting treatment in the game is really the highlight. The spus are used to detect which lights cast rays to areas that are visible to the camera. So the renderer only has to deal with the lighting you see. So.. they had some few thousand more light sources than any other game.. The dust in the air that reflects the light, for example - this isn't just a set piece or one-shot effect. It's something that's generated in the scene.. Same with the limited physics and destruction - it's done in real time on displacement of actual objects in the scene, rather than.. what you have in Battlefield, for example, where the destruction happens underneath a dust-plume.

In the same way, the plot in KZ2 -- it's nothing to write home about, but it's not exactly bad either. And it has elements that are memorable. Like the Heavy in the sewers, or the rush down the dry canal with the tank chasing you, where you come down across the bridge, for example.

And this is really the kind of thing that makes the game stand out, because it's a scenario that's not completely scripted. It lets the AI react to what you do, and where you are, and so on. So that gracht level can look completely different depending on how you approach it.

So if you look at the game as a series of scenarios, it's very easy to be impressed with this game, and how the art-direction and the technology came together to create something unique.

But if you like Call of Duty, then the game is of course shit. Something we've been lucky enough to hear more or less all the time since release, and which made Guerrilla Games end up patching the game apart.

As well as what produced Killzone 3. Where the gritty physics from KZ2 was gone. The lighting treatment was more like Halo, instead of the subtleness from KZ2. And the plot had literally been written by a hired-in guy from Hollywood, rather than written by someone in-house.

So note that Killzone 3 was meant to be Call of Duty from the beginning. KZ2 wasn't. Killzone 3 also sold less than Killzone 2, by the way, even though Killzone 3 was promoted to high heaven by any amount of advertising partners Sony had. (It was for example mentioned together with the VGChartz "advertorial" "scandal" a week ago).

Didn't help, though, did it, Guerrilla. When Killzone 2 sells more with no advertisement - thanks to the way the server setup had strict matching requirements, kicks. And a control-scheme that actually was immersive and took skill to use.

It's not like they didn't have a warning either.. the KZ2 servers were desolate after they patched that game into Call of Duty as well..

..anyway. So that's the story about Sony and shooters. Funny thing is that we have exactly the same thing with MAG and Socom 4. MAG sells a lot more than Socom 4. But Sony promotes Socom4, and makes it into a "fun shooter". But it still doesn't actually sell more than MAG.

I mean, I don't really have a very high opinion about "gamers" in general. But when MAG and Killzone 2 is preferred over Socom4 and Killzone 3, it's kind of neat. That gamers in this case demonstrably prefer quality over advertisement bullshit.
Masters Masters - September 21, 2011 (06:29 AM)
I haven't tried the game with the Move, and I don't doubt it would be more fun played that way.

However, I don't really like the cover system. When you're in cover, it often looks like you should actually be getting hit while you're safe. Other times, you're in cover, and you ARE getting hit, while it appears as if you should be safe. Worse yet, pressing the cover button away from cover allows you to crouch, but you can't go prone (why not?).

As far as everything making sense... well, it was difficult to get past the unbelievable rapport between the captain and his two subordinates.
fleinn fleinn - September 21, 2011 (07:58 AM)
..you mean the entire "Neither Raiden's voice-actor or his script-writer had been briefed on the kind of character Narville is, and now everything looks 100% crazy" thing? :D No, you're right, makes no sense.

Or.. maybe they were briefed, but just didn't like the half-sarcastic depiction and accent.


Agree with the annoying shots that drop you even though you're in cover, while you're sometimes invincible, and so on. That wasn't done perfectly (even if you do have a very small part of the model visible when behind cover, a slightly larger part when blindfiring, and then more again when aiming out. It makes sense mechanically, but it's not "perfect"... :/).

I still think the cover thing makes sense, though. Specially with the move, because the gun follows the wand around. You slide to cover, and stay low, then aim behind cover.. then the gun follows the wand to the point you're aiming at along the cover you're attached to. So when you pop up, blindfire, or move while in cover, etc, it doesn't look completely mechanical. The recoil, graphics, and everything else looks like halo, though.. Which probably was what "the fans" wanted.

..KZ2 on the other hand, did something interesting. Nothing of that left in the sequel..

Not really sure where the "no prone == problem" comes from either. Bad Company doesn't have prone. Mirror's Edge doesn't have prone. Lots of games don't have prone.. game just wasn't made that way, and none of the maps are big enough to really need prone to be used... So why would you, anyway... Killzone 2 also works great without it, specially since you have a more dynamic height on the prone depending on the cover-height, etc..

Honestly, the kinds of things people complain about with this series is amazing. "The shotgun doesn't have a reflex sight". I mean.. that was literally one of the more serious complaints on the forums. And.. that turned up in KZ3. Shotgun with reflex sight. "The recoil forces me to aim and control my shots!". So they patched it to have no recoil. Yay.

You really should take a look at their blog, by the way. The director went on about their "top and bottom approach". Pretty hilarious. Taking the things the fans loved the most on to the next game, while changing what "people" liked least. "People" in this case referring to trolls on Gaf and psychos on the official playstation forums. The "Shotgun has no reflex site[sic], game fails" thing is a quote from the forum, for example. "The character turns too slowly, so it must be patched". Same thing. I'm not making this up.

Same with the "I live in a trailer-park, and share internet on wifi with 20 other people - and the game kicks me and tells me that my connection has a problem. If you don't "fix" this I'm going to be incredibly unhappy, and so will all my other COD friends in the trailer-park, so be warned". I'm paraphrasing, but this is what motivated them to break Killzone 2 in half with the patching, as well as apparently make KZ3 the way it is.

So.. I guess someone got the game they wanted. :/
Masters Masters - September 21, 2011 (01:15 PM)
Not really sure where the "no prone == problem" comes from either. Bad Company doesn't have prone. Mirror's Edge doesn't have prone. Lots of games don't have prone.. game just wasn't made that way, and none of the maps are big enough to really need prone to be used... So why would you, anyway... Killzone 2 also works great without it, specially since you have a more dynamic height on the prone depending on the cover-height, etc...

I don't understand this. It comes from me thinking the game should have prone. I'd prefer stand-crouch-prone to a dodgy cover system. And I like cover systems, when well implemented (as in Gears and Uncharted--both 3rd person games, hmm). Just not so here.
fleinn fleinn - September 21, 2011 (02:29 PM)
No, I agree that the Killzone 3 cover system is a bit difficult to make look nice. ..but when you pull off the slides into cover, and scoot out to the edge, and have a sense of actually hugging the corner, and that kind of thing. That's well done, imo. And when the weapon shifts to the controller (not just the pointer, but the relative position of the wand).. and you see your arms and feet, etc, then you kind of have that sense of holding the weapon to the edge of the cover... :D

And asking for prone is a bit like suggesting the maps and mechanics of the game should be made into something completely different, right..? I mean, it could work just fine with the mechanic that was there. So.. how useful would prone be in KZ3 anyway..

I'm just saying it's kind of a... different way of saying that you fundamentally don't think the game-design works. :)

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