Killzone 3

picks up where the last chapter left off - about as far up the proverbial creek as a hardcore galactic grunt can get. Protagonist Tomas 'Sev' Sevchenko and his team are stranded on the hideous planet of Helghan with a relatively small group of other ISA soldiers.

These are the good guys left from when the human race split in two - the nasty ones moved to toxic Helghan and become red-goggled space fascists, and the rest are spread across the galaxy.

The game looks spectacular, despite maxing out at 720p, from mangled remains of mega cities, hundred-foot-high death mechs, giant spacecraft, impressive explosions and, of course, intense battle scenes - these are some of the best graphics on a PS3 shooter yet.

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A big part of the

Killzone

series is pacing that contrasts huge warmongering cut scenes, like regular showings of Helghast leaders addressing massive rallies uber-heavy on Nazi-style imagery, or war room arguments, against relentless and extreme battle scenarios.

The well-voiced cutscenes are left to carry a less compelling storyline than we're used to, and while it misses some big themes, the frantic fight-to-fight progression makes you forget shortfalls pretty quickly.

Gameplay is extremely linear, and this lessens the efforts that see excellent enemy AI (and death animations), widely-varied activities, beefy weapons, including well-armoured sprinting mechs and jetpacks. There is the occasional flow-killing pause or frame-rate tanty when things get busy, but this is more apparent playing online.

Two big new bits of tech for

Killzone

are the addition of 3D - albeit very fussy with HDMI standards and hard work to get running through a receiver - and the option of motion control using the PlayStation Move wand and navigation controller.

This is a bold move in shooters, and while using the Move without a gun attachment was novel, it wasn't fast enough while turning and was too vague to aim quickly - both quite important when there are well-armed space fascists trying to blow your face off.

With the Move gun gadget it may be a huge improvement and would work well with the excellent 3D graphic offering - if you can get it all working. Multiplayer fans get a much-improved experience, with a new operation-based game mode, and the AI-populated Botzone adding a new gunplay dimension.

Verdict:

PlayStation-exclusive

Killzone 3

is a big FPS that redefines intensity - battling to save the human race is nothing new, but the heavy metal effort in such a terrifyingly hardcore environment makes itwell worthwhile.

Rating:

4.5/5

Platform:

PS3

Classification:

R16