Killzone: Shadow Fall is a science fiction first-person shooter. It is the 6th game in the Killzone series, and the fourth to be released for home consoles. As a launch title for the PS4 it has a lot to prove and show off the PS4 hardware. Set in 2390, 30 years after the events of Killzone 3, you play as Lucas Keller, an innocent child escaping The Wall with your dad Michael who is a Shadow Marshal. The start gives you an emotional introduction to what has happened to the world you knew as a child and showing how far the Helghast will go. Here you meet Sinclair whose command you will be working under throughout the game. After another cutscene you learn the games mechanics and how it plays and then land in a graphically beautiful forest.
Once you explore the amazingly done forest you get shot with typical shooter clichés. Finding a team that crashed their helicopter & waiting for your helicopter to arrive while an unlimited supply of enemies come shooting at you and your AI. After you escape epically in the helicopter, you go flying through space in style and finally land in a research station, where the game gives you a horror-type level. The great dark level design and only seeing the enemies’ eyes really gives you a great experience, until you start moving pods for about 10 minutes straight just to get through the level. The ending cutscene for the level reveals two important characters, Agent Echo and Dr. Hillary Massar, who are arguing at the time.
After arriving back at VSA headquarters, a massive explosion rips through the building, killing civilians and soldiers. You end up fighting your way through new type of Helghan enemies and end up fighting through trains and an epic fight when you’re hanging on a rope while flying through the visually stunning world, eventually finding out that Tyran, who planned the attack on the VSA Headquarters, working under Jorhan Stahl, who plans to use Massar’s bio weapon to destroy Vektans, where you then get taken captive. Echo then helps you escape your cell where you play most of the other chapters listening to her orders to find Massar, who she ends up killing even though she was told not to; after flying through an epic world that starts to collapse beautifully in front of you, you meet and battle new enemies while using gravity to your advantage. Later on you eventually find Stahl where he confesses why he did what he did while strapped to life support. A great twist happens which you don’t see much in shooters and after the credits roll, they stop half way and give you a prologue chapter playing as Echo getting even for the actions that happened and preventing another war from happening. The story wasn’t the best and felt too small with typical clichés and an awful “baddie” compared to Killzone 2 or even 3.
Like stated earlier, the graphics are amazingly beautiful and are some of the best to ever been seen in video games. Although that is really where the game shines the best apart from the Multiplayer & level design. A few epic parts throughout the game, but too muany shooting galleries around every corner. The music is nice though and makes killing mindless enemies a bit more fun. The level design though is incredible in most cases; especially the Forest, while flying through the world hanging onto a rope, going through research stations, flying through space, flying through a plane that is collapsing; all amazingly done and makes your jaw drop.
With the DualShock4 controller the game plays amazingly well and smoothly. The new triggers and analog sticks make shooting down baddies with some awesome sci-fi weapons that much easier and enjoyable. The controls don’t take too long to get used to, apart from the Drone Buddy which is only accessible through the touchpad, it helps you heaps throughout the campaign though [being a shield, stunning enemies, shooting enemies and creating zip-lines for you to use]. The guns are great to use and respond very well. When meleeing someone with the knife, there is always a different animation [snapping their necks, slicing their throat, etc.] and can be done when face to face as well, which is a great feature the Killzone series has always had.
This Killzone installment has taken more of a stealth approach, you could basically finish nearly every level without going into a gunfight which is a good feature because it gives the players the choice of either gunning down everyone or stealthily going through the game like a badass.
The Multiplayer, though, is addicting and will keep you playing non-stop night after night. Fast-paced action on small maps requiring a lot of team work to keep on top. It has got the standard 4 class set up, but there are a lot of cool abilities you can use, and even upgrade to make yourself more unstoppable. Some of these abilities include; going invisible, turrets, air drones, reviving people from a distance, using your drone buddy, using a shield and other cool abilities. The maps are well-done, although small, it means for better fast-paced action apart from the map The Remains which is a better design of the classic Killzone 3 map, meant more for an epic sniper battle. The game only has three main game modes [Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch & Warzone – which is basically a battle while completing missions as a team]. But one of the best features of this game is creating game modes or matches for the public to play. Some awesome game modes I’ve come across are; drones only, cloak only, no abilities, 60 minute unlimited kills matches, hardcore, knife only. There are no rankings as well, meaning you have all abilities and weapons unlocked from the start, making it a fair multiplayer for new users, although they have taken Jetpacks and Exos which were awesome to use in Killzone 3s Multiplayer. Guerrilla stated that they took them out due to unfairness… but it would be epic to just include a Jetpacks and Exos mode to at least have the option to use them.
The game doesn’t really give you much replay-ability single player wise; there is not much you can do different apart from trying it stealthily or vice versa. You could also play on the hardest difficulty if you haven’t already from the get go. But the multiplayer is addictive and will keep you playing for weeks. With the promise from the developers that all maps will be free, over 11 abilities to fully upgrade, 1600 challenges to complete, plenty of badass attachments to unlock for your guns, and unique game modes being developed by the community, you will keep coming back for more in the multiplayer.
Although the game is graphically beautiful and some of the level design is amazingly done, the story isn’t engaging and by the end of the game you don’t even remember the protagonist’s name, who feels like a lifeless boring character. The game does shine in smooth gameplay and a very addicting multiplayer, but apart from that there is nothing that will bring you back to playing the game. Killzone Shadow Fall is basically a tech demo for the PS4.