Killzone 3 – Multiplayer’s one major flaw.

The Killzone 3 Open Multiplayer Beta was released today, featuring the Frozen Dam level, playable with 3 different game modes.

Predictably, the visuals are crisp and richly detailed and the gameplay builds and improves upon that of its predecessors, but others have gone on about how brilliant the gameplay is so I don’t need to. However, based on the beta as well as footage of the other maps it seems there is one major flaw that’s been seldom mentioned. Putting it bluntly, the maps are too big and open ended.

Now there are generally two different styles of multiplayer first person shooter. There are the arcade frag-fests like Unreal Tournament or Wolfenstein or there’s the tactical team based shooter like Counter Strike, Socom, or the Battlefield series.

Killzone 3 falls into the latter category because of its variety of classes and skills that are unique to each, favouring team play rather than a free for all attempt to get the best score. Also, the small amount of health you have is in line with this tactical style of multiplayer gameplay.

But since the maps are too open ended and sprawling, allowing the enemy to attack you from literally any direction, any hope of playing it strategically is destroyed. The Frozen Dam map on the beta is a perfect example of this problem, one that was also present in Killzone 2. The maps are chaotic with no clear direction. Now this sort of map is fine for a game like Unreal Tournament, but when you’re meant to be acting as a team, laying down defences and working towards an objective a bit of linearity goes a long way.

Take Counter Strike for example. The best maps on this game, like Office, Dust or Aztec always limit the routes you can take and usually there are only really two broad paths you can take in a level and because of this, team are forced to stick together. Killzone 2 and 3’s maps feature winding passages, vertical gameplay and multiple paths meaning the team is broken up pretty quickly. This sort of map but might be a bit better on a PC shooter where, generally, more players can join a server, but for a console game where players are limited to 16 or 32 the maps are pretty huge.

After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than two teams fighting for dominance over one corridor, relying on each other’s skills and tactics to push forward but unfortunately this just isn’t possibly on Killzone’s maps. It’s a shame because Guerrilla Games have nailed everything else. The shooting mechanics are spot on and the classes each add something different to the game. I’m just hoping some of the other maps are a bit more linear.

 

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