Killzone: Shadow Fall
As Killzone 2 was developed with several ideas in mind, in the previous generation, one of them was to showcase the processing capabilities of the PlayStation 3. Killzone: Shadow Fall follows that same idea while it tries to deliver a glimpse into the future of the PS4. Shadow Fall can be considered both a technical achievement and a new direction for the series, which is evident from the start, when you boot up the game and you get to the main menu in just a few seconds.
The plot is set 30 years after the events of Killzone 3 and follows the story of Lucas Kellan, a boy that sees his father killed by the Helghast, and later becomes a Shadow Marshal, following orders from Sinclair. With the tension building up in the planet Vekta between the Helghast and the ISA, the massive wall that separates the two from a full-scale war gives rise to a cold war riddled with political and social conflict. So what this means that its time for a more personal and off the grid approach. Missions will be more about stealth than the full-out war of previous games, despite the number of enemies around and a choice for more open areas.
The new DualShock 4 gives you the full set of options available, so every button will have a purpose. You will be equipped with a OWL drone, that uses the touchpad to perform several of the actions he has available like giving you cover fire, hack mainframes, create a shield, send out a zip line for you to travel to other locations, and then he can even revive you, if you have adrenaline packs with you. The D-Pad allows you to highlight objectives at any given moment, use adrenaline packs to slow down the action, and even scan areas for enemy positions. With so many options available you might get confused during fire fights, trying to select drone to attack instead of the zip line, or trying to do another temporary area scan instead of checking for waypoints. The is a wide range of weapons, and some will come with a secondary fire.
There are platform elements in Shadow Fall but the game doesn’t do a good job at it unfortunately. The A.I. is questionable and the difficulty of the game seems to be set by the number of enemies and ammo in your guns. There may be some occasional situations where you just don’t quite get what to do because they just keep on coming wave after wave, and you’ll end up dead frequently, just to start over again. We even got to rough start, on the forest level, where we died in the middle of a fire fight, and when we respawned we just got back in the middle of the action, surrounded by enemies, and of course the inevitable and constantly frustrating death, only solved by restarting the level all over again. You will frequently run into a scripted scene where NPC’s will talk to the walls instead of you, just because you are not where the game needs you to be, and their brains can’t process the visual information they need to look in your direction.
Killzone is a much more colourful game this time around, capable of showing a vibrant and full of life city and lush forest areas. Graphics and sound got a great deal of attention from the development team, despite the questionable overall quality of character faces, as well as their facial animation, that seems to be on part with last generation models. Aside from that, the game looks great and the light engine create scenes with amazing depth.
On the multiplayer side of the game you will encounter a surprising amount of options to tweak as you please. You will need however a PlayStation Plus account to access multiplayer as this feature is now behind a paid subscription on the PlayStation 4, unlike in the previous generation. You will get 10 maps, 24 player matches, and several modes like the Classic Warzone, Team Deathmatch or Capture King.
Killzone: Shadow Fall has a predictable story line which ends abruptly when you reach the end of the game, that may leave you wondering if that really how the game ends, and then the credits start to role out. There are some rough edges that need to be taken care of in order to get the best experience out of it, but if you’re a fan of the series, you will encounter a more versatile Killzone game with some welcome changes to the formula.