With its inspired, politically complex story, amazing graphics and new direction, “Killzone: Shadow Fall” has essentially arisen from the ashes of its last major outing and taking a bold new direction. Not to worry though, everything still falls within the familiar boundaries of various first-person shooter tropes, but now we’re being treated to new features and what is perhaps an even more stunning setting.
As far as the single player story is concerned, it’s one of poignancy and intrigue. Quite simply, Helgast survivors are given the go ahead to colonize half of the planet Vekta, much to the chagrin of some of the native inhabitants. In order to prevent conflicts from arising, a massive wall is erected to separate the two civilizations. Needless to say, the battles rage on, and as expected, this directly involves our protagonist (Lucas Kellan). The overall picture painted is one of cold war conspiracy – something that history buffs and WWII aficionados will recognize right away. This isn’t a game that’s seeking to throw you into one massive battle after another, each one existing on war-torn, desolate landscapes. Instead, you’re treated to a diverse number of locales as well as situations, the likes of which will certainly stoke your imagination.
Running the risk of sounding to emphatic, Killzone: Shadow Fall is an absolutely gorgeous game! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it really bears repeating that this isn’t the Killzone you have previously come to know and love. The endless dark, decrepit environments have been replaced with (gasp), colorful counterparts and diverse landscapes. For instance, you’ll encounter tranquil forests, intact cities and even derelict space stations throughout the course of this game. While it’s not a truly open-world title, it does pull off imbuing you with the feel of one, which is pretty awesome, to say the least. Moreover, each environment itself helps to build upon the notion that you’re in a living, breathing territory that’s sizable in scope. Additionally, the character and weapons models are also top-notch (as is the general level of performance with regards to framerates, which are solid).
Of course the area where KZ: Shadow Fall really shines is in its gameplay. For starters, the clunkiness that’s found in previous entries is pretty much gone, now you can more freely and not feel like you’re inside of a mech suit. In truth, the entire formula has been altered here (for the better); developer Guerrilla Games seems to have spent quite a lot of time evaluating an assortment of FPS titles for inspiration. The result of course is a game that incorporates the best, most appealing features of other shooters into one game, to great effect. You’ll also be treated to a wider variety of mission types, some even being more serene than others (the change of pace is certainly most welcome).
In terms of new features and additions, most players will find their drone companion, called OWL, to be more than helpful as it can be used to do everything from deploying ziplines and hacking to taking on enemies directly. It also bears repeating that the levels themselves are much more open, which offers you an opportunity to approach certain missions in more than one way. They’ve even tried to integrate more stealth-based mechanics into this one, albeit in a more limited way than fans of the genre might want.
Of course once you’ve completed the single player campaign you can start with the multiplayer, which is nothing short of spectacular. There are plenty of new loadouts to choose from as well as a number of interesting modes to choose from. Additionally, there are 10 large, really awesome maps to wage online war in, each of which features its own unique theme. Moreover, you can actually create your own custom warzones as well.
Simply put, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a great game for the PS4 and any new owner shouldn’t think twice about picking it up. Aside from its obvious perks, the game also presents an excellent replay value as well. Definitely get this game if you’re into shooters or happen to be a Killzone fan – it’s a must-buy.