PS4 Launches Into the “Killzone”
“Killzone: Shadow Fall” was one of the few next-gen only titles available at the PlayStation 4’s launch. While it doesn’t break any new ground for first person shooters, “Killzone: Shadow Fall” is a solid game with an enjoyable campaign and a good multiplayer suite.
“Shadow Fall’s” campaign takes place long after the events of the “Killzone” trilogy, which makes it an easy entry point for anyone to jump in. The story is essentially a Cold War scenario where a giant wall separates the two central opposing forces. As you might expect, growing tensions between the Vektan and the Helghast once again leads to all out war.
While the imagery and undertones are certainly cool, the story itself is never very interesting. It’s hard to care for any of the characters or factions since their actions are always reprehensible, and the dialogue and voice work is so uneven.
The campaign does have personality however thanks to a shift in the entire art direction for the series. While “Killzone” used to be drowned out in every shade of brown, “Shadow Fall” adds a ton of color to the world and the game is the all the better for it. The new color palette combined with the power of the PS4 creates incredible outdoor environments on a massive scale. Even the cramped indoor sections can inspire wonder when you see the impressive next-gen shadow technologies in action.
“Killzone: Shadow Fall” at a surface level does not capture your imagination with its objectives. You’ll seemingly run through the entire gamut of shooter tropes throughout the entirety of the game, while fighting the same handful of enemy types.
“Shadow Fall’s” saving grace is the robot OWL drone you command for most of the game. The OWL drone radically transforms your approach to conquering your objectives and proves to be a very essential ally. Its basic command allows it to pop out of stealth mode and let loose a hail of gunfire on unsuspecting enemies. In this way, you can use the OWL to provide extra firepower or to be a distraction so you can retreat and flank your enemies.
The OWL can also create helpful ziplines that really increase your mobility, hack security systems, and more. The best part is that you can use the OWL liberally since it has a regenerating health system and it can’t be permanently destroyed.
“Killzone: Shadow Fall” plays really well thanks to the new PS4 controller. The improved analog sticks and triggers makes it painless to enjoy playing a shooter on the PlayStation. I was also impressed by the touch pad use that lets you order the OWL. I was expecting the touch pad to be awful, but I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and natural it feels to use.
I played about three hours of “Killzone’s” multiplayer and I largely enjoyed my time. The central mode is once again, Warzones, where objectives switch mid-battle. If you can get a good group, it’s fun working together to outmaneuver the other team. An odd choice is that even when a team already has won a majority of the games, you still have to play the pointless remaining matches. There is a lot of customization possible in the rule sets, which gives the multiplayer longevity.
Good launch games are hard to come by and while “Killzone Shadow Fall” isn’t ambitious, it is still a well-executed and fairly deep game.
RECOMMENDED: Early PS4 adopters looking for a next-gen only game should enjoy “Killzone.”