Developer: Guerilla Games
Release Date: 11/15/2013
Available Exclusively On
Sony’s little FPS could have become a console seller. Back in 2004 Killzone was deemed a “Halo Killer” by Sony but was met with unexpectedly low fanfare due to pushing the PS2 too far and feeling too heavy and sluggish to play. The fourth installment in the main console franchise has perfected itself in some ways and has taken steps back in others.
The story takes place years after Killzone 3 with Helghan finally destroying itself due to the constant mining of the unstable element Peru site. Vekta formed a peace treaty with Helghan to share their planet. This obviously never worked out because now Vekta wants every last Helghan destroyed so this causes a civil war. You play as a Shadow Marshall who is working for both sides in a way. You must find Stahl and kill him as he is making a massive weapon that will wipe out the entire planet.
The story is fairly decent compared to past Killzone games, but the actual campaign is poorly paced. Not only does it drag on for far too long but the same type of “arena” type bursts of gameplay is repeated. Stealth sections are also compromised due to poor enemy placement and just overall poor stealth mechanics. At least the shooting part is fun and feels like the most balanced of all the Killzone games. The enemy types are still not very varied which is a real shame. There are your usual grunts but some have shields or energy fields surrounding them which gets boring after a while. Every once in a while you will find an automata enemy that will be a pain to take down.
Shadow Fall tries throwing in little things here and there to make it feel different from past games but it doesn’t really work. Things like anti-gravity movement, space battles, large open environments, and “choose your own objective”. These things are just sprinkled in to stretch the already long enough campaign. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable but there are obvious splinters in this hand of a campaign that you can just tell were put there to lengthen it. I really loved the opening as it was cinematic and unlike anything done in a previous Killzone game, but they let the ball drop with only that one segment.
You get a personal drone which is kind of borrowed from the PS Vita game Killzone Mercenary. Using the touchpad you can select a grapple line, attack mode, defense, or an EMP burst. This all really comes in handy and changes the way you play the game. I also like the adrenaline shots you can get to revive yourself after dying. I also loved the open forest environment at the beginning of the game. I felt this was the strongest bit, but after that, you’re stuck in cramped corridors and boring spaceships. I feel this was just to show off the power of the PS4 and then quickly move you along.
The multiplayer suite of Killzone is fun and some of the best on PS4. Upgrading your soldier and weapon layouts is a standard for FPS games these days, but it’s nice to see it again in a Killzone game. The game is greatly balanced and the maps are a lot of fun to play with so you won’t be disappointed.
Let’s talk graphics. Shadow Fall is probably one of the best-looking console games ever made, but it’s still not pushing the PS4 to its limits. There are some ugly textures up close and the closed-off cramped areas of the last half of the game don’t look very impressive. The outdoor areas are beautiful with fantastic lighting effects that would cripple the PS3.
As it is, Shadow Fall is a must-have in any PS4 owners collection, but don’t expect a revolutionary or even memorable campaign or Killzone game.