BADGP Reviews: Killzone Shadow Fall
Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerrilla, Sony)
Released: November 15, 2013
December 13, 2013
Sony’s PS4 has finally arrived bringing new experiences for players to enjoy. Among these new games Killzone: Shadow Fall steps out into the spotlight. This series was first introduced on the PS2, and since then has had few games on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita. The series of Killzone has come a long way from its origins, but always remained to be just another shooter to a lot of players. Hopefully, with this new installment being a release title for Sony’s new system, it will create more fans and bring a fresh air to this, at times, bland series.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is easily the most impressive looking game I have seen on a gaming console to date. Everything that this game showcases looks and sounds amazing. Shadow Fall does an impressive job at flexing the PS4’s capabilities and gives us a taste at what this system can do. At times my jaw dropped from some of the impressive scenery and the prodigious amounts of detail this game displays. From the sleek and bright design of Vekton to the dark mechanical world of Helgan 2 the environmental designs are impressive and unique to say the least. The HUD system is lightly cluttered with information and never really distracts you from the world. The main issue that I had with this game’s display was that there was no mini map. Instead of a map the game gives the player a sound wave that they can produce to see enemies and items around the character. This sound wave item can be held down to see a larger distance, but if the player holds it too long the character will emit a signal to all enemies near you. To help the player find objectives in the game all they have to do is press up on the d-pad and a marker will be shown on the screen. This marker is really hard to find most of the time because it can blend into the background very easily. Since there is no map to follow I found myself getting lost in the game from time to time.
Besides its beauty, Killzone: Shadow Fall’s story is very standard. The game is set after Killzone 3 and this time around both Vektons and Helghast are living on the same planet. They each live one side of the planet and a massive wall divides them. Instead of a huge war being the center of attention the story is focused on espionage and politics. The main character you play as is raised by Vekton military as a spy to take out Helghast soldiers and operations secretively. As the story progresses you will meet new forgettable characters and see what the other side of the planet deals with on a daily basis. This story tries to be great but it is littered with too many shooting galleries to fully enjoy the moments.
With just a few additions and adjustments to the game play, Shadow Fall brings a fresh feel to this standard shooter franchise. The main character’s movements are now lighter making this game feel different from other installments. This new quickness your character possess allows for the stealth missions to become plausible rather than having a man stumbling around in bulky armor. Another minor addition to your weaponry is the OWL. This piece of equipment is a welcomed addition to the arsenal. Using the motion sensor on the controller you can have the OWL perform a variety of actions. From creating a shield or helping you hack a security system this gadget always came in handy. The first few levels had you using the OWL as a zip line to help you cross huge areas in the map. The gadget became a nice change of pace in these areas allowing the player to have different points of engagement. As the game progressed, it felt like the game phased out some of these features and the game slowly turned back into the same cliché shooter it once was.
Another difference this game brings to the Killzone franchise is the enemy’s durability to bullets. No longer will you be wasting clip after clip of ammo just to bring down a few soldiers. I felt that this change in enemies took a piece of Killzone’s personality away from the series, but it was for the greater good. The series now has quicker pace to it making this game more enjoyable for a broader audience. With enemy soldiers having less health, the player would think that they would be smarter, but instead they can be simple minded at times. Enemies will gladly shoot at your OWL system like it is a magnet to their bullets. While they are shooting at your mechanical friend you are able to easily flank the enemy and wipe them all out. Even though the enemy might not be the smartest they make up for their accuracy. At some points in the game I found myself frustrated, behind cover and at a large distance still taking damage from an enemy.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is such a beautiful game that some players might overlook some of its flaws. With great level designs and a spectacular physics engine you and your friends will be awestruck at some of the scenes in this game. The game is however burdened with a weak story plot, forgettable characters and questionable AI. This game may not be perfect but it is still shows off a fraction of what the PS4 can pull off.
Score: 6 out of 10