Part of that is the fact that Killzone 3 controls much better than its predecessor.
In part one of the Killzone 3 Beta Field Report I looked at the modes, maps, and how the bots stacked up in the multiplayer beta. In the second (and final) installment of the preview, I'm taking a look at each of the multiplayer mode's classes.
When playing the beta online, all classes start with a primary weapon and skill. Gaining levels gives players unlock points, which can be used to obtain new abilities and weapons as well as upgrade items, perks, and general options for specific classes (like more stamina for Infiltrators).
In the beginning, the Engineer is provided a slow repair tool, which can have its speed upgraded. One unlock point can give the Engineer the ability to build a weak turret station (although it doesn't "get built" so much as it just materializes out of nothingness). Later that turret can be upgraded to be faster at scanning and recognizing threats and gain the ability to fire missiles.
The primary ability of the infiltrator--essentially the new version of Killzone 2's Saboteur--allows him to disguise himself as a member of the opposing faction. The first level allows you to change your appearance for a set amount of time without the ability to fool turrets and mechanical drones. Level two fools machinery, as well as puts no time limit on your disguise.
Being able to sneak into an opposing squad as they set up for a large scale attack and dismantle the group never gets old. The third level is where it gets especially devious. In the first two levels of the disguise ability, any use of a weapon or melee attack (including the fantastic new assassination kills) immediately disables your disguise. In level three, using melee won't spoil your secret.
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Tacticians--a holdover from the second game in the Killzone series--will initially seem like the most basic available class. Their primary ability allows them to capture tactical spawn points spread across the map, which in the beta only really factors in during Warzone matches. In Killzone 2, Tacticians could create spawn points by throwing down green smoke. Tacticians can also temporarily mark enemy positions on the mini-map--along with enemy Infiltrators--and can call in a sentry drone. What makes them an essential member of the team is the ability to take stock of the entire battlefield and relay that information to the rest of the team. They are essentially the captains of the squad and are going to be needed for high level play.
At its core, the Marksman is your typical sniper class, however, he also has the ability to become completely invisible with a cloak. Initially the cloak is limited and firing a weapon disables it. Later, the class can keep cloaked at all times and will only disable their cloak if they damage or kill an enemy. This can also be remedied by using a silenced weapon, which allows the Marksman to remain concealed when upgraded to the third level.
This, by far, was the class I despised the most. I like sniping and snipers in multiplayer shooters don't bother me, but it's become a griefer's favorite weapon/class. I have a lot of respect for FPS players who can pick me off with a headshot as I'm racing away on foot, but everyone else who wastes an entire clip shooting at my feet, like they're trying to get me to dance, needs to pick something new. I'm not a fan of the Marksman class--essentially the replacement for Killzone 2's scout--gaining the ability to cloak exclusively.
The Marksman can also scramble the radar of the opposing team within a set radius, allowing allies to slip into zones undetected.
The final and most functional class in Killzone 3 is the Field Medic--another holdover from Killzone 2. The Medic, naturally, revives downed enemies provided they have not elected to respawn and are in a status of being mortally wounded. The higher the level of the medic's revive ability, the more health, ammo, and grenades the teammate will "wake up" with. The medic's second ability allows him to emit an "aura of health" that regenerates himself and allies within the area. Increasing this level will allow the medic to release a medical drone that will accompany him until death and a final level, which allows the medic to revive himself, provided the game's respawn timer has expired.
Classes that aren't represented from Killzone 2 are the heavy-armor wearing, assault class and customizable riflemen. All classes in Killzone 3 have a set of the same, unlockable third tier abilities like extra health and armor.
I found that I was constantly dividing my time between the Engineer and the infiltrator. The Engineer is the more tactical choice, yes; however, the ability to trick players and destroy a team from the inside out is as hilarious as it is gratifying.
If you need a reference point for a modern game, the classes in Guerrilla's latest share a lot of traits as the crew in Team Fortess 2. Considering all the classes and some of the abilities they have, Killzone 3 seems to include a multiplayer mode focused more on unlocking new and very different abilities versus the previous installment.
The primary difference--for me, as I said in part one--is that I actually enjoy playing Killzone 3, whereas I didn't like the second game in the series. Based on the beta, Killzone 3 fixes some of the issues I had with the original. The game controls better than ever, looks and sounds just as good, and (best of all) I haven't heard Rico's stupid voice once. As long as all three hold true for the retail title and the game's campaign shows similar upgrades in quality as the multiplayer has, Killzone 3 could be something special.
Killzone 3 launches on February 22, 2011, exclusively for the PlayStation 3.