The Helghast Are Back
The battle with Helghan has been raging for quite some time now. The Killzone series has seen six games unleashed since the original was released in late 2004 for the Playstation 2. Killzone: Shadow Fall is what most would note as the 4th “big” installment in the series. It’s a launch game for Sony’s new bad-boy, the Playstation 4, and is the only first party exclusive-FPS to come on launch day from either of the next-generation consoles. With only Knack and Killzone as Sony’s first-party exclusives coming out on day one for the PS4, is it worth it?
Shadow Fall takes place 30 years after the events of Killzone 3. Helghan has been forced to relocate due to the decimation of their home planet and now they reside on Vekta. There has been a wall built to separate both Vekta and Helghan and as you’d imagine, tension begins to creep in as time goes by. The game begins in 2370 for a short period of time and introduces a couple of characters that will play significant roles throughout the eight-hour campaign. After the quick introduction it’s 2390 and you’re a Shadow Marshall by the name of Lucas Kellan. Tensions are running high between New Vekta and New Helghan and your priority is to stop the escalation of a new war. Like previous games of the franchise, the settings are good. There is always a question present in your mind of what will happen between the two factions and how every mission you go on will effect the outcome.
Graphically, Killzone: Shadow Fall is incredible. Running at a wonderful 1080p at 30fps throughout the single player and 60fps on multiplayer, it’s clear to see that Guerrilla have put a lot of effort into making the game look and feel great on the PS4. The colour scheme throughout Shadow Fall is different to what previous Killzone iterations have had. The use of colours such as blue and green are very apparent here, while the greys and browns of old are more sporadic. The cityscape of New Vekta is astonishing and showcases these colours to a tee. However, New Helghan is the opposite, going back to the aforementioned color palette of grey and brown. It’s a stark contrast that adds to the overall feel of the game and it’s one that showcases the despair and unforgiving nature that New Helghan possesses. It’s through this contrast that makes Shadow Falls chapters so intriguing to participate in.
“…showcases the despair and unforgiving nature that New Helghan possesses.”
While the technical components of Killzone: Shadow Fall are all very well done, the story as a whole is not. It’s in fact a bit of a shambles, which is sad given the potential that the game had. It started off well, and I became involved in the games characters and setting from the beginning but over the course of the eight-hour campaign I lost interest due to poor voice performances and the overall story arc.
Another let down is the anti-gravity sections throughout the campaign. There are only three but each are the low-points of Shadow Fall. They feel flimsy and tacked on and took away from the overall experience. Throughout these sections you use X and O to control whether you go up or down and navigate the way you go with the left and right stick. You can also click the left stick to boost to get around the area quicker. These sections solely rely on your dodging/shooting skills as you’ll likely find yourself flurrying left and right attempting to dodge enemy fire while firing off your own rockets with the R1 button. One particular section involved escorting one of the characters I had been sent to retrieve from one area to another whilst groups of drones came at me from different angles. While this sounds fine, the clunky controls did not help and keeping track of two to three things at once seemed too difficult. I’d constantly have to check for their spawn points (I did this section about five or six times) so I could take them out before too many had gathered and killed me. These sections felt dragged out and unnecessary to the progression of the story. Guerrilla could have worked out a better way to work in the small story elements these levels contained into the more traditional style Killzone is known for instead of trying something different. It slows down the pace of the game and takes away from the overall immersion the game is trying so hard to create.
The strong point of Killzone: Shadow Fall is the multiplayer. The Warzones system is great and works very well. The direct connection between community and developers is an admiral feat and something that other games within the FPS genre should seriously consider. All weapons are unlocked from the beginning and you rank up through challenges you complete. You can also unlock attachments such as scopes for your weapons as you use them throughout and each challenge is fun and not extremely difficult to get into. While the multiplayer will be a grind for some if they were looking at getting a platinum trophy, they should at least have a good time with the first 10 or so hours as it is an incredibly enjoyable experience. However, there is a significant problem with spawn killing at the moment that needs to be addressed. While I wasn’t on the receiving end of it that much, it still falters the experience for the team that are having it done to them and will eventually push them away from the game. Another problem I have is just that, there are next to no players online. Hopefully players will start jumping into Shadow Fall’s multiplayer, as it is a wonderful, unique experience?
Overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a great game. There’s nothing special about it, but it’s much better than the Average Joe launch game. It has a slightly cluttered, yet beautiful campaign and the multiplayer is a load of fun. It’s a great launch title that should get quite a bit of attention from me over the holiday period. If you’re looking for an FPS that’s more challenging and visually stunning than most FPS’s available right now, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a good choice.
Developer: Guerilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4