“I don’t think you’re ready for how awesome this is going to be,” I was told by a Sony representative as he handed me a pair of bulky, battery-powered 3D glasses.
Last Friday, at a Major League Gaming tournament in D.C., Sony was showing off “Killzone 3,” its next big first-person shooter, set to release in February 2011. It’ll be the latest game in Sony’s initiative to push 3D gaming onto the masses.
Considering all the hype, I didn’t really know what to expect as I put the clunky 3D glasses over my prescription eyeglasses. Sony has been throwing money at trying to make the public care about their new, exponentially more expensive 3DTVs. So the billion-dollar question becomes: Is it worth it?
After playing through their demo a few times, the answer was a resounding “no.” The 3D effect in “Killzone 3” adds depth into the screen rather than having things pop out of the screen toward you. While it definitely looked cool, it just didn’t add anything to the game at all.
I didn’t feel like I had more depth perception or any tangible gameplay advantage. In fact, whenever text would appear on the screen, it was difficult to focus on. Granted, “Killzone 3” is in a pre-alpha state, meaning it’s nowhere close to done and can still be improved before it drops in February, but the experience was disappointing nonetheless.
I gave a polite smile to the Sony rep and agreed with him that 3D was a cool effect, but I was very eager to try out the standard 2D demo. Playing the same sections again without the 3D gimmick lacked the futuristic punch, but was far less strenuous and allowed me to concentrate on what has actually changed since “Killzone 2.”
The levels I played were set in a frozen tundra, where powder kicked up with every stray bullet and thick snowflakes obscured the screen, already a departure from the shadowy, grey corridors of “Killzone 2.”
The most interesting section of the demo was an assault on an oilrig to take out an enemy anti-aircraft gun. About halfway through, enemies in jetpacks flew in, completely mixing things up.
The action became more frantic as they soared over my cover and flanked me, making it all the more satisfying when I’d shoot them enough to cause their jetpacks to malfunction. They’d go careening upward, arms flailing and leaving a trail of smoke, before hurtling back toward the ground and exploding ferociously.
Getting to use a jetpack myself proved exhilarating, allowing the same advantages they had. I flew on top of a room of enemies and took them by surprise as I rained death upon them.
The other meaningful changes came to the game’s multiplayer. While it felt largely the same as it was in “Killzone 2,” with dynamically changing objectives, the addition of jetpacks and giant mechanical suits really shook things up.
Jetpacks could be put on or taken off at will, allowing me to fly up to a vantage point, remove it to snipe other players, then put it back on to fly elsewhere. The armored “mech” suits operated like walking tanks and scored me about a dozen kills as I defended an objective and won the match for our team.
“Killzone 3” looks like it’ll bring some great changes to the franchise in February, so PlayStation 3 owners should keep an eye out. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that 3D is worth shelling out for a new TV.
[image courtesy vg247.com]