First Impressions: Killzone 3 (in 3D)

3D is what movie execs and TV manufacturers the world over are hoping to be the next big thing but I really can’t see it catching on anytime soon. If you’ve been travelling round the Congo for the last year or so, you might have missed the “entertainment event of the decade” or _Avatar_ to everyone else who doesn’t work for James Cameron. This film really solidified 3Ds presence in the cinema, resulting in all future movie blockbusters implementing 3D in some way or another (such as the upcoming _Tron Legacy_).

_Avatar_ also caused all the major TV manufacturers, such as Sony and Samsung, to think that everyone who watched Avatar in the cinemas would love to replicate the experience in their own homes. There’s a distinct difference between donning some sexy polarising glasses in the cinema as a special treat and having to wear glasses all the time at home, simply to enjoy the newest releases. Who really wants to wear glasses, which are active shutter and therefore expensive, at home? I definitely don’t.

Sony Computer Entertainment have also jumped on the bandwagon, presumably under pressure from their Television division brothers (who actually want some content for their £1000+ televisions), and have updated the PS3 to support 3D games. One such title is _Killzone 3_ which continues the story of the previous two games; mankind’s desperate fight against the Helghast oppressors. The gameplay felt very similar to the second instalment of the franchise, when playing what was on offer at the Eurogamer Expo; basic cover mechanics are still present, the weapons appeared to be the same and level progression is still built around impressive set piece after impressive set piece. The combat still had it’s distinct _Killzone_ feel, which is either a good or bad thing depending on preference, and it very much felt like a well built title that will surely dominate the charts once it’s released.

What was worrying however, was how much emphasis the developers are putting on the 3D aspect of the game’s presentation. The effect was definitely apparent, the visuals had the depth you’d expect from a blockbuster movie and the HUD floated above the combat. Unfortunately the fidelity of what was happening onscreen seemed like it had been significantly toned down from that in _Killzone 2_; it looked like it was running at a lower resolution with jagged edges all over the place and low-res textures making the overall experience very murky.

The PS3 is a powerful machine but if it can’t handle 1080p 3D yet then I’m really not interested. _Killzone 2_ looked absolutely fantastic and if this is going to be compromised by adding an effect that usually gives me eye strain, has an extremely high barrier to entry (who really wants to buy a 3DTV after just getting a HDTV?) and still occasionally results in double images then we’ve definitely got a problem Sony. The _Killzone_ franchise isn’t exactly innovative, relying instead on it’s extremely good presentation to deliver the thrills; if this has been messed up by 3D then what has _Killzone 3_ really got going for it?

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