Guerrila Games is one of Sony’s first party studios that has had their game released alongside with the launch of the Playstation 4, but how far does the game push the console’s hardware? And more importantly does the game stays true to it’s predecessors within the Killzone franchise? What does the multiplayer bring in terms of innovation? These are few of the questions that will be addressed in the review.
I’ll be honest with you ever since the game was announced, I wasn’t expecting much I thought the game would be made only to show off the Playstation 4 hardware in terms of eye candy and nothing else, I didn’t even think about the story.
But now that I’ve finally had my chance to go for a full hands on with the game I see that after all I was only half wrong.
Let me begin with the game’s story that till the moment of this review is yet to make any sense to me, the story is set two to three decades after the events of Killzone 3 and this is where my complaining starts. As soon as you fire up the campaign a cinematic explains you that after the Second Extrasolar War, Helghan became a lifeless planet and with this the Helghast people are moved out to Vekta a human colony, in this planet humans share half of the planet with the Helghasts.
Alright, so why in the first place would you take your enemy to one of your colonies? It just doesn’t make any sense, if you would took them to a empty planet or moon would make more sense but you bring them to a planet where there’s other humans living there? And you divide half of the planet with them?
It’s basically inviting your enemy to become your neighbor and this game perfectly shows how bringing Helghasts to a human colony is a bad BAD idea from the start to the end of the game and after some time there’s tensions climbing up between these two races that eventually might lead onto a war, so what’s separating this two from fighting? A wall that acts like a sort of border.
But let’s continue, we play as Lucas Kellen a sort of special ops soldier that spends most of the game completing highly important missions like assassinating high value targets, infiltrating the Helghast border and sometimes even retrieving sensitive data.
It took me 15 hours to finish the campaign on the highest difficulty, and I can’t deny that it was one of the most boring games that I’ve ever played in my life. First the plot was uninteresting and predicable most of the times, there was an attempt to create a emotional attachment between these three important characters that I won’t name for the sake of spoilers.
It didn’t work, the plot was horrible , I wasn’t even half done with the game done yet I was already bored, of course it wasn’t only story elements that made me bored but also game play issues.
In terms of gameplay Killzone : Shadow Fall does some things right but gets most of them wrong. The positive aspects of the gameplay are quite simple, this time around Guerrila allows to the players to explore the map instead of just running from A to B to complete the mission there’s a little sense of open world where you can attempt to finish secondary missions and collect some well hidden collectibles like audio logs and comic books.
There’s a another positive aspect in terms of gameplay it’s a little drone called OWL, these flying drones allow the player to use “character abilities” like creating shields, reviving a character through the use of adrenaline packages, act as a decoy, create zip lines and hack consoles. This drone creates interesting new tactical opportunities for the player to engage enemies, and also uses the Dualshock 4 touch pad functionality to use the abilities.
Now the downside of the gameplay, it’s boring and repetitive this for the single player however. After doing a few levels players will eventually get bored of the gameplay, there’s not really much to talk about, even though you have exploration the repetitive gameplay just bores you really.
For example use drone to activate shield, kill all enemies, use zip line, hack console, explore a bit and continue it’s pretty much this over and over. Then there’s some levels that feature zero gravity moments which I will say that I hated and they felt completely out of place in it’s gameplay and that it’s only there to wake up the player from the boring routine.
Something I got to praise for Killzone: Shadow Fall for doing good, it’s the settings and environments.
From forests, to space stations, to destroyed cities there’s always that special feeling attached to it. One of the first few missions is set in a space station and I really felt for some moments a horror feeling to it, there was almost no light and no sound during those brief moments, that was in fact an amazing experience something that reminded me of what I wanted to see in an Alien Colonial Marines game done right.
The AI in the game is horrible even playing on the hardest difficulty, the AI gets stuck on Walls and doors too often. Sometimes in the middle of a fight the AI decides to run to the console and click instead of shooting the player and the AI doesn’t also search for cover.
In terms of graphics Killzone: Shadow Fall is a great beginning of a new generation without a doubt, from it’s close ups to the backgrounds the game is beautiful there isn’t anything that I can be complaining about in that aspect besides the huge amount of Lens Flare and Motion Blur. The game is well detailed on every aspect in guns, characters, you name it.
Running at 1080p, there’s some frame rate jumps from time to time, but below 30 never drops that’s something I can guarantee you. Although it’s multiplayer part is indeed 60 frames per second, but I’ll get into more detail on the multiplayer review part.
In terms of sound design everything is set on stone and right besides the game soundtrack during fire fights which also quickly becomes very repetitive there isn’t a great number of tracks playing in the background during the fights.
The game uses Dualschock 4 functionality at it’s best, for example to use the OWL you have to use the touch pad as I’ve mentioned above but once you pick up your first audio log collectible you’ll notice that the sound comes directly from the controller itself instead of the sound system you have, great job from Guerrila Games for using the controller at it’s best.
That’s everything I have to say regarding it’s single player part, took me 15 hours to complete it on the hardest difficulty but is easily forgettable even for the more die hard Killzone fans, there’s content for great hours of gameplay for sure but it’s boring and repetitive.
Ah now to talk about the multiplayer, my favorite part of Killzone: Shadow Fall it has it’s ups and downs though.
Shadow Fall’s multiplayer is well balanced when it comes to gun to gun firefights, there’s 3 unique classes available in the game this time around it’s the Scout, (Sniper if you want to call it) the Assault and the Support. Each one has their unique character abilities which used in the right moment can make you have a tactical advantage over you enemy.
One of my favorite things about the multiplayer is that it promotes teamwork, even if you’re playing Scout you can turn the tide of the battle by providing either cover fire or killing important enemies that are stopping you from completing the objective, each class can contribute towards the team effort to win which is a positive aspect. If you’re playing alongside a friend you’ll find that by combining classes and working together is the best way to win a match either a Team Deathmatch or a objective based game, teamwork is the key to the success in this game multiplayer.
Of course some players might want to go in Lone Wolf mode either in guns blazing mode or stealth way but they’ll eventually understand that moving alone in area will make you an easy target to get down especially if you’re in open areas.
I had some great multiplayer fun playing this game and I can tell you it could easily become a competitive game if it wasn’t for the unbalance of the drones. The drones in the multiplayer are Overpowered, either it’s the OWL for the assault class, the Sentry or the Air Support drone they are overpowered to the extreme they can quickly kill an entire team if it wants too I’ve seen it happen and this is where the game loses it’s fun, of course this is promoting team work to destroy the drones but once a team is winning without the use of drones once they are able to use them it makes almost impossible for the other team to turn the table.
This is currently one of the biggest issues in the multiplayer and Guerrila Games has already addressed the community that they are investigating the issue, but at the time of this review the drones are still overpowered.
In terms of content the game is rich, there’s 22 weapons available to use without the need of unlocking it since all of them come by default although they’re attachments must be unlocked via challenges, there’s 10 maps available at launch and each few months more maps will be released for free (That’s right Maps are free DLC, but expansions must be paid), and 3 classes like I’ve mentioned above.
The multiplayer uses a system a called Warzones where you choose to play from different Warzones, created by the developers or even the community itself. The default ones created by Guerrilla are always available with different types of classic team deathmach or objective based games. but anyone can create their own with custom rules, putting the Warzone up for anyone to view and join.
There’s matches up to 24 players online, so feel free to join in and help the mayhem.
In technical aspects, the game runs at 60 frames per second although due to smoke and other effects the frame rate might fall a bit but it’s very rare for this to happen. I haven’t had any issues in terms of latency in any game so far, there’s some times I might have felt a few lag spikes but I can’t confirm if they were from the game server or not.
With that all being said besides the current state of the drones I recommend buying Killzone Shadow Fall for it’s multiplayer portion, you might take some time to get used since it’s a new controller but once you’re used to the style of gameplay and have changed your sensitive levels you’re ready to have a blast.