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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Uncharted 3 Gameplay Looks Amazing, Gunplay Less So…

So today eurogamer.it posted a new and unseen gameplay demo of the Chateau level, part of which was previously demonstrated on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The footage, seen below, is a lot better quality than any footage seen to date and does a good job of showing the stunning graphics and smooth, flowing animations.

In fact, with another 10 months until release it’s looking pretty darn good, all aside from the shooting aspect.

The gunplay has always been the weakest part of the Uncharted series and that’s not to say it’s bad, just that the guns never seemed to feel like they had the power of the firearms in other games that have mastered this aspect such as Killzone 2 or Counter Strike.

The power of a gun in a video game is conveyed by two things, the sound of the weapon and the reactions of those being shot. Now since the game is still almost a year away from release it seems unfair to nitpick on these aspects but what the hell.

The guns sound just flat-out weak. Maybe they’re placeholder sound effects but when firing a weapon just sounds like someone dropping a baking tray instead of a 140 decibel mini explosion. This isn’t something new to the series either, the previous two games had exactly the same problem but now is the time to sort it out.

Here’s what firing a Colt 45 Defender actually sounds like:

Similarly, judging by the gameplay footage, enemies react as if they were shot with a BB gun until their health runs out and they just drop to the floor. You need spatters of blood and dynamic enemy physics to make their reactions either plausible or just flat-out cinematic, something Killzone 2 perfected, as seen below:

With a tentative release date of November 2011 exclusively for Playstation 3, there’s still plenty of time to iron this stuff out but despite this Uncharted 3 is already looking fantastic.