Killzone Trilogy (PS3) Review

The Inevitable Collection

The Killzone Trilogy was really just a matter of time. With Sony putting out HD reissues of all their other marquee properties, there was no question their flagship FPS was going to get similar treatment. Unlike most of the HD reissues which consist largely of PS2 games brought back to this generation, the Killzone Trilogy already contains two of the better looking PS3 games, with only the original Killzone needing a new coat of paint. It’s a nice bit of history, and a necessary inclusion in this collection, but as with most games in the FPS genre, it doesn’t age well.

World War II In Space

The Killzone series has always been a thinly disguised World War II shooter set in the future. From the Nazi-esque appearance of the Helghast soldiers to classic war moments like beachhead assaults, it feels a bit like Saving Private Ryan in space. It is a story of an embittered culture, Helghan, which rises from defeat like WWI Germany to war against its neighbors with a vengeance. It’s always been a strong idea, with an uneven execution in the telling of its tale, and though it lacks the overall uniform greatness of the Halo series, Killzone has always provided a unique, substantial FPS experience for the Sony console.

As to be expected, Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 are merely repackages of the games that came out on the PS3 in 2009 and 2011. Both of them still look phenomenal, though some of the shine has been taken off in the wake of Halo 4’s impressive graphics. Killzone 3 still utilizes the Move control system and is 3D capable if you have the TV for it, and that’s still an impressive, demo worthy experience. All of this was included in the original retail release, so there are no surprises here. One nice bonus is the inclusion of all the additional DLC for both games, which would rack up to about $33 CAD if you were to go hunting them down individually on the PSN, so the savings there are significant.

The big thing here is, of course, the HD port of the original Killzone, with the expected addition of trophy support. There’s really not much to say about the port. The FPS, as a genre, has always been the recipient of the latest graphical engines and advancements, which means that it’s also the genre that ages the most visibly in the eyes of the user. Even with the HD treatment, the difference between Killzone and Killzone 2 is night and day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have iconic gameplay to back it up either, in the way that God of War and God of War II can still hold their own against their PS3 successor. The controls lack the same weighty but responsive feel of later installments and just feel a bit clunky. The voice acting is also pretty uneven, lacking the quality control of the later games, something that Halo did right from game one and onwards.

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Killzone 2 is in many ways the most well rounded package of the three with fantastic visuals, a consistent atmosphere, and a grounded story that never goes off the rails. Killzone has to be acknowledged because it started the franchise off, but it’s an uneven effort in its technology, pacing and presentation. Killzone 3 on the other hand, has some brilliant moments of gameplay, but loses some of the strong story thread established earlier as it struggles to shock its audience with twists and turns that don’t feel credible. The plot may meander into questionable places, but if those places also include well designed jet pack combat, some will view that as a fair trade.

In the end, what players get with the Killzone Trilogy is one archaic, last gen FPS, and two gorgeous looking current gen games, one of which is uniformly strong, while the other somewhat less so. The two PS3 games still have active online multiplayer, and you get all the DLC for both games thrown into mix for a grand total of $40.00 CAD. For someone new to the PS3 this is a very good deal. For most hardcore gamers, you’ve probably already got the PS3 Killzone games, so you’re better off buying the HD rerelease individually, unless you’re interested in all that DLC.