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Killzone: Shadow Fall Review

Once billed as the Playstation’s Halo-killer, the Killzone series has been through it’s fair share of trials and tribulations since it’s inception over nine years ago. Now promoted to the exclusive and elusive level of console launch title can Killzone: Shadow Fall, the fourth full title in the series, reach the heights of the opposition's first person shooter that it has long been compared to?

This time round, set thirty years on from the end of Killzone 3, players take on the role of Lucas Kellan, A Shadow Marshal operative who is part of the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance). The ISA are basically your friendly, neighbourhood future, space police tasked with protecting certain colonies. Kellen is nurtured and mentored from an extremely early age due to unfortunate circumstances, by ISA Shadow Marshals director Thomas Sinclair, who is played by the wonderfully brash David Harewood, best known for playing David Estes in the american television drama Homeland. Kellan and Sinclair begin to battle an incoming Helgan threat behind a veil of secrecy doing anything can to stamp it out before innocent civilians are hurt.

For Killzone’s shiny next generation outing, the title has undergone some cosmetic surgery. The endless feeling that’s nothing more than a corridor shooter has been toned down and a more open feeling aesthetic has been ushered in. Within five minutes of the opening mission you’re let loose upon an expansive, seemingly-natural mountainside where light beams through the branches of the numerous trees surrounding you. It really showcases the powerhouse that the Playstation 4 can be. The beautiful 1080p graphics are sleek and always smooth, the frame rate appears to stay at a nice solid 30fps and the art design is frankly, stunning. Those futuristic cities you grew up drawing, the Blade Runner-esque buildings from films you’ve always wanted to explore; Guerrilla Games have created a completely believable world that’s a joy to explore or just even take time to just stop and look around.

Gameplay wise, the new open style brings the option of stealth into the mix, but more often than not any stealth tactic will result in a Helgast bloodbath, but not to worry, players are now equipped with a hovering, robotic friend by the name of OWL. The OWL can be used as a portable attack droid, shield deployer, can provide an electric shock charge for the surrounding area and even hosts an extremely handy zip line. 

As you progress throughout the campaign of reasonable length, you’ll need to depend on your little flying drone more and more, since the game ramps up the difficulty and the number of foes on screen. But don’t worry, the OWL’s features recharge quickly and can be used an infinite amount. You’ll soon be mowing through squads of Helgan assault soldiers with ease side by side. There are some really nice touches to be found, such as how it makes use of the DualShock 4's unique features in a number of ways, e.g, audio logs that are played from the controller's speaker. 

Sadly, while the levels have been expanded, Killzone: Shadow Fall’s falls back onto a more straight forward restrictive and scripted scenarios. While this shouldn't always be considered a bad move, its more that the main storyline jumps around and loses a little focus overtime. Each level is quite jarringly different, from beautiful forests to grimy Helgast prisons, it can take a few moments to re-adjust. The series regular adversary, the Helgast can once again be surprisingly difficult foes, sure they’re still not the most intelligent but the firepower they wield fairly packs a punch.

Shadow Fall’s multiplayer experience is also a blast. While it’s not the dizzying heights that Battlefield 4 is with it’s 64 player mayhem, the 24 player matches are fast paced and explosive affairs with Classic Warzone the cream of the crop to me, offering all plenty of multiplayer game styles in one long team battle. You’ll play through capture the flag, map domination and an assault mode in all but name, and all in the one streamlined battle. You also have the option of creating Custom Warzone, which allows for a more customised multiplayer experience by limiting player options or setting modes and maps. And the cherry on the multiplayer cake? The multiplayer segment of Killzone Shadow Fall runs at a glorious 60fps. It’s a little less stable than the single player, but 60fps dropping to anything above 30fps is still welcomed.

Killzone: Shadow Fall isn’t quite the game we expected it to be after it’s outing at the Playstation Meeting back in February, but it’s certainly not far off. It’s a good addition to the Killzone series and Guerrilla Games have done an incredible job of showing off the technical capabilities of Sony’s new console by really making it look the part. Console launch titles nearly always disappoint and while Shadow Fall does in places, it certainly has a more positive items going for it than negatives. Killzone: Shadow Fall isn’t quite the game to topple Halo from it’s dude bro sci-fi FPS mantle just yet, but it’s certainly taking a promising step in the right direction.

Words by Colin Gallagher.
@ColinCGallacher | PSN:  Cgalla2008

(Version Tested: PS4)


Graphically incredible
+ Engaging Multiplayer
+ Nifty Dualshock 4 Features


- Largely Linear Experience
- Cliched and Tedious Story as game progresses

Edited On 04 Dec, 2013

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