Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Demo Round-Up 2: Killzone 3 (PS3) and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS)

In May of last year, I did my first Demo Round-Up with ModNation Racers and Rocket Knight, both PS3 games (Rocket Knight is also on XBLA). Nonetheless, with Killzone 2 being a disappointment to me unfortunately, I felt I should give the sequel a chance through the demo. To give more back story, I played LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on the Xbox 360 when mine was working. I got 980/1000 achievement points, and enjoyed the game for its humor and simplicity. Now I will be giving my thoughts on both the demos for Killzone 3 (PS3) and LEGO Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS).

Killzone 3 (PS3)

The character of Rico in the second Killzone game, the first for the PlayStation 3, was one of the most unlikable characters I had ever come across in a video game. He was foul-mouthed and an utter moron most of the time. In Killzone 3, he's cleaned up his act. When he or you lose all your health in combat, you can use some sort of zapper to heal one another and gain your lost health back. This makes otherwise severely difficult sections of the demo more reasonable to complete.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The demo begins with your character, Sev, riding on a craft, armed with a turret, taking down the Helghasts' oil platforms in an arctic wasteland. After this, a rocket blasts your craft down from the sky, and it's all on-foot from here. Sev and Rico saunter past enemy fire, using cover which players can slide out from, shoot the enemy or get up close and personal using one of many tactics to take out a Helghast soldier including but not limited to slitting their throat with a knife.

After Sev and Rico split up, Sev decides to take out the enemy himself using a newly-acquired jetpack. This is the coolest part of the demo. With the L1 button, you thrust yourself into the air, having only a limited amount of airtime to reach adjacent platforms. You then reach a platform where many Helghast soldiers await to ambush you. You can fly and shoot at the same time, so taking down these enemies isn't too much of a problem. The objective on this tanker is to disable the enemy's anti-air turret. After succeeding, your jetpack malfunctions, leaving Sev to slam his body against a platform, nearly drowning by a giant wave, and being picked back up by Rico.

After being carried to the next portion of the mission, you soon get bombarded with enemy fire by a whole row of Helghast (or is it Helghasts?), and the only thing left to do is to run to the side of them, use a turret, and bring down devastation and destruction down upon them. Then, a tank rolls out which sets its sights on you and Rico. By using said turrets, you bring it down, allowing you access to the opposite side of the battlefield. After taking down more Helghast standing in your way, you reach the opposite side, taking solace behind more turrets, taking down enemy mini-cannons, troops, and yet another tank.

After destroying the last of the Helghast, you run into a corridor that the tank came out of, finishing the mission. Overall, the controls feel much less heavy than in the previous game, and the overall structure of the aforementioned mission was exhilarating. From riding air transport to running and gunning with Rico to maneuvering around the area in a jetpack, taking down tanks and unwary Helghast soldiers, there was a lot of fun to be had. Prompts come up frequently for new objectives and weapon pick-ups or quick QTEs like slicing a soldier's throat with the L1 button. All-in-all, the Killzone 3 demo was enjoyable, but it wasn't without graphical hiccups. At the point where Sev's jetpack malfunctions, the framerate was extremely choppy.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS)

As stated in the preface, I really liked the fun simplicity of the second LEGO Star Wars game. It was a blast reliving my favorite scenes of the original trilogy. Now we go from that to something I'm less familiar with-- the Clone Wars. The same tried-and-true gameplay is here. You destroy enemies and objects to obtain studs, the in-game currency of the title, solve simple puzzles, and defeat bosses in battle. For this demo, I played the PlayStation 3 version as the Wii does not have demos for retail games and my 360 is dead (thanks for the awesome hardware, Microsoft).

There are two missions to choose from in the demo. One is a standard run and gun/slice, and the other is a flight battle. The first has you running through General Grievous' ship, destroying robots of all kinds. You use your force powers to reconnect pieces of equipment together to advance. There's even some puzzles thrown in for good measure such as a Simon Says-esque puzzle for C3PO where you must use the d-pad to repeat the pattern shown on the screen. There was also a puzzle where R2D2 had to use two panels to rotate two circular patterns to match.

To play, you use the square button to deflect shots from the rebel soldiers as well as slice and dice or shoot your way to victory. You have four hearts to work with but unlimited lives. Each time you die, you lose a portion of your stud collection. At the end of the level your stud total gives you various bonuses. By holding down the circle button, you use the force to move objects into their proper place to open up new areas. By returning to levels, you can obtain secret power units of which there are several in every level. You can be sure a trophy or achievement will pop up when all of these are obtained much like past games.

The flying level has you collecting pink energy balls and throwing them back at pink targets to take down Grievous' ship. This is actually Chapter 2, and the mission before was Chapter 3. I did them in reverse order. Not much to say about the flight controls. Double-tapping in a direction meant you'd do a barrel roll as Peppy Hare is so fond to mention. I'm crossing game references now. Better wind this down.

All-in-all, LEGO Star Wars III seems to be more of the same which isn't really a good thing when Traveler's Tales has been making the same game with different levels for years now. If you're a fan of the simple battle controls and puzzles and don't mind this, then you're sure to love the game. As for everyone else, there are far better titles to look forward to in March.

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