Guerrilla Games under delivers with Shadow Fall by playing it safe.
Guerrilla Games are known for pushing the technical limits of the hardware they work on. Right from the original Killzone to the more recent Killzone: Mercenary they have proven to be the masters of working around a system’s bottlenecks which results into stellar looking titles. So it’s no surprise that with the power of the PlayStation 4, Guerrilla Games have completely wiped the floor with Killzone Shadow Fall. Featuring high production values, Shadow Fall is arguably the best looking launch title on Sony’s next gen console.
Fans of the series expected another gritty looking first-person shooter, but instead Guerrilla Games decided to change the setting of the game completely. Killzone: Shadow Fall takes place in a planet called Vekta, a futuristic looking city with beautiful vibrant colors and fancy looking skyscrapers. The art style is completely different from previous games in the series, whilst mainlining the same old solid gameplay mechanics.
"Shadow Fall's gameplay is quite standard and doesn’t offer anything that defines “next-generation”. Instead of taking risks and the series ahead, Guerrilla Games have stuck to 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' formula and for the most part it works."
Shadow Fall puts you in the shoes of Lucas Kellan who’s fighting to avenge his father’s death and also stop the Helghast from completely taking over Vekta. Taking notes from the Cold War, half of the planet is colonized by the Helghans, with only a massive wall keeping the ISA safe. Due to certain events both the factions end up blaming each other for starting a war and Lucas finds himself in the middle of this. Lucas will meet several characters during the course of the single player experience which will shift the tides of the war resulting into jaw dropping cinematic events.
Shadow Fall’s gameplay is quite standard and doesn’t offer anything that defines “next-generation”. Instead of taking risks and the series ahead, Guerrilla Games have stuck to ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ formula and for the most part it works. However, there is one interesting and well designed addition to the game and that is your friendly bot called OWL. It is a drone who is capable of using different abilities during combat such as stunning a group of enemies, hacking alert stations, and fighting against enemies in battle. The OWL will also revive you should you run out of health provided you have enough adrenaline packets.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is less linear than its predecessors, coupling corridor shooting along with vast areas which are perfect for exploration. For example the Forest level is pretty expansive and encourages the player to explore and find collectibles. Overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall doesn’t offer much gameplay changes but it does manages to fix a number of complaints from the previous games such as the slow pacing.
"Other weapons like shotguns pack a punch and with the inclusion of Guerrilla Games' Material Dependent Early Reflections tech, the sound of bullets whizzing pass the protagonist's ears adds to the overall experience."
Each chapter in Shadow Fall provides a different type of environment that’s atmospheric and unique in their own way. One level puts you in space where you float your way through and try to avoid obstacles, while in others you’re covering your team’s back with a sniper. It’s worth mentioning that certain levels seem to have inspired from other first person shooter games like Crysis. Every single level doesn’t feel left or rushed and manages to give the player plenty of gorgeous eye candy moments.
The weapons in Killzone: Shadow Fall sound and feel great and none them feel weak or unnecessary in any shape or form. The default assault rifle is a ton of fun to use and the alternate fire mode is bad ass, especially after you hit the enemy with a charged shot from far away. Other weapons like shotguns pack a punch and with the inclusion of Guerrilla Games’ Material Dependent Early Reflections tech, the sound of bullets whizzing pass the protagonist’s ears adds to the overall experience.
Killzone: Shadow Fall truly shines when it comes to the multiplayer aspect of the game. Obviously this is where most of my time with Shadow Fall was spent and it was completely worth it. There are three classes in the multiplayer, divided into Scout, Assault and Support. Each class has different abilities which can be upgraded over time. The Support class can put up turrets, call air drones that defend/attack a specified area and revive players. The Scout on the other hand is able to cloak and melee with a knife from behind and use devastating snipers to their advantage. And finally, the Assault class can spawn AI drone buddies that follow them for a certain period of time to aid them in battle. I found the Support class to be a bit unbalanced due to the amount of abilities they have and also the fact that sometimes they can over power other classes.
"Overall, there is a good amount of variety to be found in multiplayer. There’s a lot of stuff to unlock, including over 1000 challenges, weapon attachments for every single gun and upgrading class abilities to their highest level."
One of the modes, Warzones, consist of 5 rounds with different objectives. For example the first round could simply be a Team Deathmatch where both parties fight for most kills before the five minute timer runs out. The next round could be Search and Destroy where the teams are forced to defend/attack specified points on the maps. Another objective is where you have to locate a beacon on the map and carry it to the enemy base in order to score points.
You can also create your own custom Warzone with your own rules, objectives, and even include what weapons or class abilities are allowed. Overall, there is a good amount of variety to be found in multiplayer. There’s a lot of stuff to unlock, including over 1000 challenges, weapon attachments for every single gun and upgrading class abilities to their highest level.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a decent entry into the long running franchise. The game has gorgeous visuals that show off the PlayStation 4’s power, a fun and interesting single player story mode with great voice acting and high quality production values. However, the multiplayer is the real star of the show and can be extremely addictive thanks to the well designed maps and unlockables. In the end Shadow Fall plays it safe and successfully manages to keep the core gameplay elements intact. If you are expecting Shadow Fall to take the first person shooter genre to the next level then you will be sorely disappointed.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Multiplayer is addictive, stunning visuals, solid single player campaign with great voice acting.
Lack of balance among classes, doesn’t do anything new for the first person genre as a whole.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is not only a technical showcase for the PlayStation 4, but it also manages to provide a intriguing single player campaign backed up by a strong multiplayer component. However by playing it safe, Guerrilla Games have taken the franchise a few steps back.