Reviews

Game Review – Killzone Shadow Fall

Killzone Shadow Fall has a story-rich background from it’s predecessors.  Sadly, this reviewer hasn’t played any other Killzone games so I went to the Wikipedia.  There is a lot to cover from those games so I recommend giving the games a play or simply go to this Killzone link and find out the short version of the overall story.  We have a lot to cover for this Playstation 4 exclusive title as not only is the story good, but it’s one of the most beautiful games on the Playstation 4 yet.  It’s time to sift through the government propaganda and find out what makes this futuristic military shooter work.

Killzone Shadow Fall
Damn Helghast terrorist!

Let’s start with the story.  It’s good, a little strange but still easy to follow without knowing the backstory.  What allows the player to follow the story is the fact that Killzone Shadow Fall is set 30 years after the end of Killzone 3.  It has a new protagonist from the prior game as well as a whole new planet.  After the Helghast planet is destroyed, what’ remains of the Helghan people live side-by-side with the Vektans.  The situation between both races is mostly peaceful but there is a building tension between them.  The Helghan people are in need of medicine, food and an overall better living situation.  The Vektans control the majority of all civil technology on the planet, but have no real desire to help the Helghans.  To make matters worse, the Vektans distrust the Helghans in such a way, Vekta sends Shadow Marshals to spy on the Helghast.

This brings us into the beginning of Killzone Shadow Fall.  You play as Lucas Kellan, a Shadow Marshall for the Vektan army and one of the best.  Lucas is captured after being found spying behind the Helghast lines and is exchanged for a mysterious girl.  The writers did a phenomenal job of building tension and drama throughout Killzone Shadow Fall.  There are even some twists that M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of.  Killzone Shadow Fall starts with the mystery, builds the drama and intrigue, douses it with kerosene, and lights a match!

Killzone Shadow Fall
Be wary the view, it’s a long ways down.

Once you’re drawn in by the story, you’ll immediately be taken aback by the scenery.  Killzone Shadow Fall is gorgeous.  No, scratch that.  Beautiful.  Wait….dammit!  Words can’t do this game justice!  It’s phenomenal how well the shading is done in specific areas.  The way the light reflects off the metal of your knife.  The draw distance is clear and breath taking.  The flora and fauna stand out and make the outdoor world come to life while you’re gunning down enemies.  The particle effects are so top notch that you can see a detailed spray when shooting into water.  Clear ripples from puddles in the rain.  You can almost feel the oppression just from the design of the living quarters the Helghans have.  You can almost smell the refuse it’s painted so well.   Bleak colors are using in rundown parts of the Helghan city, while a brighter color palette makes the clean comfortable living of the Vektans step right out to you.  At this time, there isn’t a game on the Playstation 4 that looks better than this.  If these are the graphics we have to look forward to in this new console generation, I think there are going to be a lot of happy gamers out there.

Killzone Shadow Fall
OWL unit for all your service needs.

Now that we’ve gotten our A.D.D. out of the way, let’s go over the mechanics of Killzone Shadow Fall.  There are relatively high points but also some lows when it comes to some features within Killzone Shadow Fall.  Let’s start with guns.  Everyone loves a good gun.  Killzone Shadow Fall has a few to offer, but only a few.  There isn’t a lot of variability to the weapons at your disposal for most of Killzone Shadow Fall.  You don’t discover some of the more powerful and truly unique weapons until end-game.  Sadly, by the time you get there, you might be a bit bored with what you have.  If you want to pick up a new weapon, you may do so when you find one lying around; but you’ll have the option to observe the stats of the weapon against your secondary weapon only.  That’s right, you have to hold on to your Vektan rifle through the whole game.  I can’t imagine why the developers chose this mechanic.  You never know the power of the rifle against anything you pick up.  So at least you won’t be frustrated seeing something better, because you’ll never know if another weapon is better.  Assassinations are fun, but only get used in a few scenarios throughout Killzone Shadow Fall.  You also have a droid of sorts that can be used for a variety of different things.  It’s called an OWL and it can shoot enemies, create a shield, stun enemies, hack computers, and create a zip-line.  The machine is useful and makes use of the PS4 touch-pad.  It takes a little getting used to, but is a fun mechanic of Killzone Shadow Fall.  If you’re a lone ranger type of player, you’re not going to have much use for the OWL outside of hacking and zip-lines.  The physics of Killzone Shadow Fall work well overall, but dammit all…I want to change my primary weapon.  Thankfully this is only an enforced feature in the single-player campaign.

Killzone Shadow Fall
Be vewy, vewy quite….

I know what’s on your mind at this point:  Multiplayer.  How good is it?  It’s pretty damn fantastic.  If you play the campaign enough to get the general controls, it makes multiplayer a smooth transition in Killzone Shadow Fall.  If not, there might be a little bit of a curve, but nothing serious.  It follows the same general formula that most shooters do though.  I’m talking load-outs.  It’s hard to come across a shooter nowadays that doesn’t have this feature.  You can customize your load-out however you see fit as long as you’ve unlocked some things.  Overall, the multiplayer experience didn’t bring anything new to the table except for some futuristic weapons and abilities that shake things up a bit.  There are few maps in which you can be a really effective sniper from long range, most sniping happens at close range.  There is a larger stock of close quarters weapons due to the overall size of most arenas.  The multiplayer experience in Killzone Shadow Fall is just as vivid as the experience in the campaign.  The visuals aren’t diminished at all.  It’s solid multiplayer, but really only for fans of the Killzone series.

Let’s break it down:
Story:  8/10
Graphics:  10/10
Mechanics:  7/10
Multiplayer:  8/10

In overall scoring, based on the criteria listed here, I would give this game an 8.5/10.  The story is good, but there are a few holes in the overall plot.  The graphics are the best of the current games available.  The mechanics is what brings the score down due to a lack of weapon swap options and the lack of need for the OWL unit.  The multiplayer is fun, but doesn’t offer any more entertainment than you might get from Halo, Call of Duty, or Battlefield.  So that does it folks.  Don’t think to hard on this one, have a good time and don’t get comfortable picking sides with the Vektans or the Helghast, the truth will bring you to your knees!

 

About the author

Roman On The Rocks

Roman has played and voraciously followed the video game industry his whole life. He enjoys all types of games and always tries to be honest when giving his opinions on them. Always a nerd at heart, Roman also enjoys comics, tech, and historical anachronism. You can always follow Romans personal blog at www.romanontherocks.com.

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