Sony's E3 booth this year was full of games attempting to sell gamers on the idea of 3D as an essential part of their experience. Killzone 3, from Dutch developer Guerrilla Games, was one of the main titles showcasing this technology. We got our hands on an extended version of the demo shown at Sony's press conference, complete with jet packs, mobile turrets, precision rocket launchers, and all kinds of shooting mayhem.
In terms of 3D, Killzone 3 generally uses a more subtle approach than another Sony title, MotorStorm: Apocalypse, which uses high speed, off road racing carnage to throw 3D in your face. Of course, Killzone 3 has those same stand out moments where the effects 3D are plain as day - a rocket coming out of the screen and flying past your head immediately comes to mind. However, it's the less obvious things that can have the biggest impact. Subtle effects such as the almost afterimage 3D creates when you take damage, the feeling of inertia when using the jet pack's boost, or the visceral impact of melee attacks demonstrate some well thought out 3D implementation on Guerrilla's part.
The demo was broken up into three distinct sections - one showcasing the platforming and strategic features of the jet pack, an airborne set piece showing off the mobile turrets, and a ground combat section which included a useful anti-armor gun. The jet packs in Killzone 3 handle really well. The series has always been known for having a realistic weight to everything in the world, and that carries over nicely to the jet packs. Flying feels natural and makes you feel powerful, but at the same time leaves you vulnerable if your reckless. It's always nice to see a Helghast soldier spiral uncontrollably after the power source on his jet pack has been shot.
The second segment was an action packed set piece that presented more visual candy than challenge. An ISA convoy of troop transports, mounted with large turrets, stormed through a Helghast industrial zone in the frozen arctic of the planet. It's definitely an exciting sequence. Finally, the third segment (which was left out of Sony's press conference) featured a small squad of ISA troops battling against heavily armored Helghast vehicles. Fortunately, you're equipped with a precision rocket launcher that can quickly dispose of whatever stands in you're way.
Guerrilla showed off a healthy portion of Killzone 3 at E3 this year, and it looked quite strong. Being able to demonstrate such a wide variety of levels likely means the game's development is progressing smoothly. The game is definitely showing promise, so look out for more on Killzone 3 as its February 2011 release approaches.