Killzone: Shadow Fall Review
Open-ended gameplay. Exciting multiplayer. OWL. Stunning visuals.
Bland story. No replayability.
I am the front-line between the Helghast threat and the Vektan homeland. I am a Shadow Marshal. Killzone: Shadow Fall has to be the best game in the series as of yet, gameplay is ten times improved, the story has a little more meat to it, albeit not much, and the visuals are the best seen on the PlayStation 4 at this time. All in all Killzone: Shadow Fall is the first-person shooter leading the charge into the next-gen on Sony’s new console.
The Helghast and the Vektans are in a precarious situation following the events seen in Killzone 3. The Vektan home planet of Vekta is divided to support the refugees from the war, Helghan refugees, so you can see where that is going. Neither side quite likes the other and yet the planet is shared in a dwindling form of peace.
The campaign puts you into the combat boots of a Shadow Marshal, the men who go behind enemy lines and take care of the sensitive tasks that the public cannot know about. They are something like our modern-day Special Ops soldiers, but with high-tech weaponry and a combat drone to support your every action, the OWL. In the beginning there are soldiers treading on both sides of the lining, causing havoc and killing innocents. Peace or not, soldiers will be soldiers, especially when they hate each other like these two factions do.
Missions in the campaign are much more open-ended than previously seen in the series. The player will have the option to complete objectives how they see fit, usually this means a change in your weaponry and your tactics, but it can also mean your approach entirely. You have the choice to go silently, knifing the Helghast threats from behind or using a silenced SMG when one is provided for you. You can snipe from a distance, allowing your OWL drone to cover you and keep you alive. Or you can rush head on, blasting your assault rifle at everything and anything that moves, expending ammo like you were Rambo on steroids. All play styles are fun and it lends some replayability to the campaign as you go back and try a favorite mission with a different approach.
Missions are varied in their setting, from the thriving skylines to the wooded hills and even up into space for a trek through zero gravity in an abandoned spaceship. You won’t get bored easily with the scenery as it changes enough for things to stay fresh. You will more than likely have a favorite area in the game; it just comes to you. The visuals of a setting appeal to your inner artist.
Unfortunately the story is rather bland, it has been heard before in other forms. The gameplay is what saves the campaign from being ignored completely. You won’t finish the campaign for its award-winning story, you will because the open-ended approach is rather fun to explore the possibilities. Nostalgia will definitely play a role here as well.
If you’re attracted to the aspect of a first-person shooter’s multiplayer mode then you probably will be on the fence about Killzone: Shadow Fall’s. The competitive game modes are a mix of fast and slow-paced shooting, with plenty of teamwork required to complete objectives and hold down points. The mixture may throw some people off as the mode most popular on Shadow Fall, and Killzone in general, changes the objective every few minutes. You can be playing Team Deathmatch one minute and changes to an Attack/Defend structure the next. This keeps things fresh and unique, allowing the multiplayer to stay great for longer periods of time.
If you’d prefer to stick with original FPS game modes then you can. Team Deathmatch is always an option, as is capturing objectives. You will need to work alongside your team in anything you play, each role is best suited for a specific task and you will need all of them to survive for longer periods of time. Assault does what you think it will, this is the frontline in any game mode. Armed with assault rifles things guys will be your main attacking force. Support is the defensive monster, armed with massive two-handed weapons like the minigun, a favorite of mine. The Support class will be best utilized by locking down points and corridors to ensure no enemies slip through. The Scout is the sniper of the group, or the stealthy one. Players can use sniper rifles and SMGs to pick enemies off from afar or sneak in behind them. Getting a team who knows to use all three will lead to some of the best multiplayer matches in the game, following closely by wins.
Visually Killzone is impressive; probably the best looking next-gen game on the PlayStation 4. This is mostly due to it be the first true exclusive to the new system and being developed specifically for the hardware within that beautiful black box. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments, however. Some areas can look, not ugly, but not up the standards you would expect after seeing the rest of Vekta. The massive Vektan city is by far the most beautiful cityscape I’ve seen in a video game in a long time. Guns all look like they were crafted with great respect and love, they look as realistic as futuristic weapons can get. And the glowing orange eyes of the Helghast are as unnerving as always, shining through the dark like those deadly headlights that they are.
It may take a little bit to get used to the new controls of the DualShock 4, especially the firing and aiming setup as they have been moved to the R2 and L2, respectively, by default. Killzone: Shadow Fall handles quite well, however. I never ran into issues where I could not aim my weapon at any enemy, or slipped while trying to knife a Helghast in the back. I did, however, run into some problems while picking items up off the ground using circle. Sometimes the item just did not want to go into my inventory; it loved that bit of ground that it occupied. This can become a deadly hassle when the enemy is firing down upon you with all their might.
Overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a great first-person shooter that lacks incredible substance in its campaign but makes up for it in the competitive sphere of the gaming world. You will end up with countless nights of pure fun and excitement if you can find a good group willing to play their roles correctly. If you plan to stick with the campaign mode, however, you may find yourself lacking for a reason not to trade the game in.