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Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) Review

 
Killzone Shadow Fall header
Killzone Shadow Fall header
Killzone Shadow Fall header

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: Playstation 4
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.5
7.5/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We Liked?


  • Looks fantastic - some superb texture and level design work
  • Multiplayer is an overlooked gem that will surprise those not familiar with the franchise

Not So Much?


  • Poor voice work that feels wooden and stilted
  • Later levels feel generic and rushed
  • Free falling and platforming sections incredibly frustrating


Final Fiendish Findings?

That all said Killzone: Shadow Fall is still one of the better launch titles to hit either platform and will stand as a graphical showpiece for the Playstation 4 system. Guerilla have taken some interesting steps in this outing of the series – I look forward to seeing what direction they follow with their new, non-Killzone title.

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Posted February 3, 2014 by

 
Final Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Killzone: Shadow Fall had the unenviable task of being a system launch title. Almost every system launch title since the Mario 64 has pretty much failed to live up to long term scrutiny. Guerilla hope to take on past demons (that infamous PS3 launch trailer for Killzone!) and buck the trend.

Killzone: Shadow Fall’s story is a little more entwined than previous outings. For all intents and purposes we were looking at little more than a reimagined take on the World Wars in the initial games. Helghasts making a more than passable replacement for crazy Nazi stormtroopers. This time out, and with their home planet destroyed, the Helghan people are forced to rely on the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance. The solution to their now homeless problem is to make a new home alongside their former enemies on the resplendent Vekta. An uneasy truce is in place with the Helghan people forced to live mainly in ramshackle building and slums. Unrest grows between the two sides with the Helghan people feeling suppressed and the Vektans feeling their home is being taken from them.

Story wise it’s not exactly War and Peace but it at least forms a relatively engaging backdrop to some of the best visuals on offer in any game at the moment. Guerilla, in a little over 2 1/2 years, really have come to grips with the new Playstation hardware. Wringing an impressively smooth 30fps in glorious 1080p during the campaign and a blistering 60fps in the multiplayer. All without much of a screen tear, hitch or pop-up.

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As well as bucket loads of lens flare (they really DO seem pleased with their lighting model!) the game has some great architectural alterations over previous titles. Killzone: Shadow Fall appears to have discovered the joys of verticality in a game. Some time breathtakingly so! Being strung from the bottom of an evac chopper zipping amongst the rooftops of the main city in Vekta is just mind bogglingly gorgeous – as are the wonderful glass and water effects too! Cloth is another well handled material (although Ryse does it better) but things like tarps draped over things and moving in the breeze look plain weird – almost like you’re looking at them underwater… very unsettling!

The feel of the movement, the way you shoot and traverse a level have all been tweaked to almost perfection. Killzone has always had a more deliberate feel to it and yes it still seems to suffer from a lower than usual point of view – but it does make sense when you reason your character is stood with an open stance rather than upright to attention (something that’s just “the norm” with first person titles these days). Weapons feel nicely tuned and some feel gleefully powerful to unleash. Killzone: Shadow Fall is a more tactical affair than the likes of COD or Battlefield 4. Some might find that not to their liking but for the most part, when the game is being accommodating, things run smoothly.

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To aid the tactical nature this time out you have an OWL. This small hovering robot can be used for several purposes all controlled by the touchpad. You can order your OWL to attack a certain position, to create a force shield for you to hide behind or to issue a stunning zap to foes. Mostly a superfluous article it’s a nice extra that can, at times, really save your life.. literally as it’s the means of reviving your fallen player!

If only the actual voice work had been a little better – a little less stilted. The script doesn’t help in all honesty as it’s not the most meaty of things. Your main character delivers very sparse amounts of dialogue and it falls to others to handle the exposition for each scene. Sinclair, your commander, is particularly lacking which is a shame and a surprise what with the character being voiced by Homeland alumni David Harewood.

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Multiplayer is an area that so many have overlooked Killzone for. Any that have tried its unique blend of rolling game modes will know that the multiplayer aspect is one to be cherished. Far from the balls-out gung-ho action of a Call of Duty and stopping short of the sprawling sniper and vehicle spectacle of a Battlefield. Killzone: Shadow Fall offers a comfortable middle ground that I for one have always appreciated. The traditional Classic Warzone mode is in place. This mode offers a timed traditional mode, like deathmatch, that will then morph into a different mode, like capture the flag or domination. The on-the-fly alterations to a series of encounters really keeps the game moving along and can help turn the tides on a stale conflict. Throw in to this the ability to make your own custom multiplayer events through the Custom Warzones feature and you have a recipe for a long and healthy audience number.

Where Killzone: Shadow Fall starts to come apart is later in the campaign. Moving away from the impressive slums and city settings moves the game more into the realms of a “Generic Space Shooter VII”. This is compounded even more with some of the zero-gravity sections that just offer up cheap death after cheap death – his also occurs with some distinctly dodgy platforming sections too. They end up detracting from what the game does the best leaving a bitter taste that clouds what ever gem might come next.

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Final Thoughts

Killzone: Shadow Fall, as a launch title, does a superb job. It looks like it’s running on new hardware. Everything seems slick and shiny that, unless you’ve been exposed to high-end PC titles, will be like nothing you’ve seen.

The game follows in the path of its predecessors in the ability to straddle that line between a COD or a Halo and offer something that might appeal to a different audience. The story is moderate and the playtime is substantially longer than games of this genre usually offer.

Multiplayer is a real high point and offers up something unique in the it’s rolling game modes and wide-open Custom Warzone mode.

The areas that let Killzone: Shadow Fall down are in its ability to sustain the early part of the games momentum and promise. Later levels feel generic affairs and certain pace breaking breathers do little more than lead to tedium and frustration.

That all said Killzone: Shadow Fall is still one of the better launch titles to hit either platform and will stand as a graphical showpiece for the Playstation 4 system. Guerilla have taken some interesting steps in this outing of the series – I look forward to seeing what direction they follow with their new, non-Killzone title.


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.