Killsquad (PS4) Review – Squad Down

Though not totally without its merits, Killsquad is ultimately a flawed and unremarkable experience.

Posted By | On 21st, Jul. 2023

Killsquad (PS4) Review – Squad Down

Originally launching for PC in 2019, Killsquad hasn’t pulled up any trees with the audience it has built up over the last four years, but now, with a PlayStation launch, it has opened the gates for more people to come in and taste its offerings. But of course, at a time when Diablo 4 is fresh on our minds and Path of Exile 2 is on the horizon, there isn’t much oxygen left for smaller and lesser known loot-driven action RPGs. That said, if what you’re looking for is bite-sized (if unremarkable) fun in the genre, Killsquad is certainly worth a look. It’s not the most well-balanced action RPG you’ll ever play, and it certainly doesn’t have the legs to be engaging over a prolonged period of time, but its moment-to-moment action does tend to be enjoyable in short bursts (even if it can eventually get a bit repetitive).

That moment-to-moment action is, in fact, perhaps one of Killsquad’s biggst strengths, and maybe the only one it has without any major caveats. While it has all the progression and loot systems of an action RPG, when it comes to the actual combat, Killsquad is a twin stick shooter. Thanks to snappy controls and the action feeling immediate and satisfying, the combat is, at least on a fundamental level, always fun. Yes, it does wear a little thin as you progress deeper in the game, but that loop of dodging, using abilities on cooldowns, and shooting at enemies does tend to be an engaging one, especially thanks to the variety of enemies you face.

"While the twin stick shooting remains engaging for the most part, the experience does get dragged down a little bit when you realize how it’s lacking in depth."

That’s not to say combat is flawless. One of the bigger issues it has is with difficulty, which tends to be wildly unbalanced on occasion, and not always in the same fashion. Enemies, bosses, and mobs that should pose a serious threat can often be disappointingly easy to destroy, while at the same time, the game also randomly has difficulty spikes where it can feel like yo’e beating your head against a wall. While the twin stick shooting remains engaging for the most part, the experience does get dragged down a little bit when you realize how it’s lacking in depth.

The progression and loot systems have similar issues. On the surface, they provide a decent amount of options and control over build variety, from being able to unlock and power up abilities to optimizing your build with the gear and equipment that you have equipped. But it’s rare to find a weapon or equipmeant piece that genuinely excites you in any way, which is not something that you want to be saying about a loot-driven action RPG. While there’s enough layers here to keep players engaged on a fundamental level for some time, for those who like to dive into the weeds and tinker with builds to see tangible effects, Killsquad might be a disappointment.

It doesn’t help that the levels that you’re going through in Killsquad are quite bland. Though there’s some variety to be had in terms of the environments and scenery, the actual design of the levels is forgettable at best, and downright atrocious at worst. There’s very little room for exploration, and most levels end up being little more than linear corridors going from one point to the other, with a few minor branches and deviations thrown in here and there. Mission objectives also tend to be uninspired and generic, and often, even downright obtuse, making it difficult for you to understand what you’re even supposed to do in certain situations. On occasion, you’ll be stopping to pick up items, open doors, or collect loot from chests, but on the whole, there’s very little to do other than walking in one direction and shooting at enemies. As you can imagine, that can get repetitive pretty quickly.

killsquad

"Though there’s some variety to be had in terms of the environments and scenery, the actual design of the levels is forgettable at best, and downright atrocious at worst."

Thankfully, Killsquad does have multiple different playable characters, and there is some variety on display here. Characters have different looks and specialize in different forms of combat, from ranged to melee, which, of course, also grants them with their own set of abilities. For those looking to go through Killsquad solo, that means there’s at least one reason to run through every mission multiple times, just so you can experience it as different characters and keep leveling them all up. Meanwhile, for co-op players, having the right party composition and synergizing their abilities and attributes can also be fun on occassion, even if the previously-mentioned unbalanced difficulty dulls the edge on that front a little bit.

Outside of the actual gameplay, however, Killsquad misuses its characters horribly. In fact, it’s not just the characters- it also misuses its setting and story horribly, to the extent that I wonder if there even is a story here. In my time with the game, I’ve vaguely been able to put together that there’s conflict between different factions in the game’s sci-fi setting, and that you’re part of a group of mercenaries who take on different contracts from these factions. Though all of that is presented through small bits of background dialogue at the beginning of a mission… and that’s pretty much it. A good setting can elevate an experience in significant ways and grant it a distinct, unforgettable identity, but unfortunately, Killsquad completely squanders its potential in this area (if it had any, that is).

And really, that encapsulates the whole experience rather well- Killsquad is unremarkable, it doesn’t implement the important elements of an action RPG as well as it does, and it’s an experience that wears thin and gets repetitive too easily. No, it’s not without its merits – the moment-to-moment twin stick action is fun on a very basic level, and I do appreciate the variety on offer in the roster of playable characters – but all of that amounts to an experience that’s only fun in short bursts, and even then, not for a very long time.

killsquad

"Killsquad is not without its merits – the moment-to-moment twin stick action is fun on a very basic level, and I do appreciate the variety on offer in the roster of playable characters – but all of that amounts to an experience that’s only fun in short bursts, and even then, not for a very long time."

Given how crowded the market is, and especially how crowded the action RPG space is, that makes it incredibly hard to recommend Killsquad. When there’s so much else vying for your attention and competing for your time, it’s hard to look at Killsquad and recommend it over other options. Perhaps if it was available on Game Pass it’d be an easier sell, but given the fact that Novarama hasn’t brought Killsquad to Xbox yet, as things stand right now, it’s on a pretty lown rung on the action RPG ladder.

The PlayStation 4 version of this game was reviewed on PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility. 


THE GOOD

Moment-to-moment combat can be enjoyable; Decent variety in playable characters.

THE BAD

Unbalanced dificulty; Dull objectives and level design; Unengaging progression and loot mechanics; Bland, nearly non-existent story and worldbuilding.

Final Verdict:
AVERAGE
Killsquad can be passingly fun in short doses, but it has too many significant issues to be an easy recommendation for even the genre's biggest fans.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.
Tagged With: , , , ,

Amazing Articles You Might Want To Check Out!

Share Your Thoughts Below  (Always follow our comments policy!)



Keep On Reading!

Sea of Thieves – Rare is “Exploring the Return of Six-Ship Servers”

Sea of Thieves – Rare is “Exploring the Return of Six-Ship Servers”

With Sea of Thieves set to launch for PS5 and introduce a wider pool of players, Rare is considering increasin...

Sea of Thieves Will be Playable on PlayStation Portal, “No Plans” for PS VR2 Support

Sea of Thieves Will be Playable on PlayStation Portal, “No Plans” for PS VR2 Support

Rare and Microsoft's multiplayer pirate game is set to launch for the PlayStation 5 later this month, on April...

Sea of Thieves is a “Key Test” for Whether More Xbox Games Release for PS5 or Switch – Rumour

Sea of Thieves is a “Key Test” for Whether More Xbox Games Release for PS5 or Switch – Rumour

Leaks have claimed that Microsoft has larger plans for releasing first-party titles on rival platforms than wh...

Xbox Games Showcase Set for June 9, Gears 6 and Call of Duty to be Announced – Rumour

Xbox Games Showcase Set for June 9, Gears 6 and Call of Duty to be Announced – Rumour

The company will also showcase announced titles like Avowed, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, and Microsoft...

Relic Entertainment Lays off 41 Workers Following Sega Split

Relic Entertainment Lays off 41 Workers Following Sega Split

Company of Heroes and Age of Empires 4 developer Relic Entertainment recently announced that it is splitting f...

Stellar Blade – Tachy Stars in New Vignette Trailer

Stellar Blade – Tachy Stars in New Vignette Trailer

The leader of the 7th Airborne Squad guides Eve through the opening portions of the hack-and-slash title, prov...