Naturally the real fun starts in the second demo, when I get to try out one of these packs for myself. As it turns out the Helghan jetpacks don't really allow for complete, infinite flight; instead they offer a sort of extended, rocket-fuelled leap. Holding L2 launches you skyward with a fierce tearing noise, then you can hit X to get short boost forward. At this point you better have some kind of perch under your feet, because the pack won't work again till it's had a moment to cool off (again accompanied by a very more-ish sound effect). It's quite tricky to use this system at first, and my first two attempts result in comic suicide as Sev runs out of juice and drops like a stone into the sea. Before long, however, I find myself leaping about with aplomb, though there's still something quite funny about the clumsiness of my leaps. There's a bit of skill required for the smart use of the pack, but this makes it all the more rewarding when you finally get the hang of the mechanics.
The centrepiece of the second demo is a return to one of the rigs we saw earlier, on an impromptu mission to blow up a large gun emplacement. The first part of this task involves a bit of exploration (and in my case, a few stupid deaths) as Sev flits about the metal legs and underside of the rig. As soon as I reach the main deck, however, all hell breaks loose, with dozens of angry Helghast appearing to defend the base. You can't use the cover system while wearing the jetpack, so the only option is to use grenades, to keep moving, and to lay down massive swathes of fire with the in-built machine guns. The open design of the rig grants plenty of scope for hopping about between levels, and ultimately I'm left feeling like a termite with a Rambo fixation.
Moments later, I'm planting a demolition charge underneath the AA gun. As in Killzone 2, the arming system requires you to twist the controller about - a needless touch, perhaps, but one that's still rather fun. The emplacement goes boom, and shortly after the jetpack demo draws to a close. I'm slightly disappointed to say goodbye to my new toy, but at least the next section offers the opportunity to blow lots of stuff up.
The final interlude is really just here to showcase the WASP - a new rocket launcher that launches projectiles in clumps of three. You're not limited to firing three at a time, of course: if you spam the trigger you'll spew out a rain of explosive death, with slender white missiles leaving a wispy trail in their wake. In truth, this final slice of gameplay seems a bit straightforward compared to everything that's come before, since the WASP completely decimates everything the Helghast can throw the player's way. Sev can only carry 30 rockets at a time, but that's more than enough to wipe out legions of troops and even a couple of tanks - especially since there's a handy little ammo stash to use every 15 feet or so. Still, this third demo does a grand job on one front: it demonstrates Guerrilla's revised approach to destructible terrain. In short, there's a lot more of it: blast away at a stone column and cracks will form across its surface. Blast again, and hefty chunks of concrete will slip out and fall to the ground. It looks great; if you tend to get excited over this kind of detail, this game will send blood rushing to the places Teacher told you not to touch.
So yes indeed, Killzone 3 looks awfully pretty - and the E3 code isn't even at the beta stage yet. The early signs are that the whole 3D aspect will work rather well, but I'm still not convinced that they'll be worth buying a new TV for. On the other hand, I have little doubt that Killzone 3 could help to sell a shedload of new PS3s, because as far as console exclusives go, this will probably be the hottest girl in the club. More importantly, the game's action is already seriously tasty, offering some of the best thrills of anything I played at this year's E3. February 2011 can't come soon enough.
Killzone 3 will be released in February 2011, exclusively on the PS3.