As one of two exclusive retail games built specifically to take advantage of the PlayStation 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall has a lot to prove. Not only did it launch against such heavyweights as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4, but the franchise itself hasn't necessarily been associated with the words “quality” and “outstanding series.” With each PlayStation console since the PlayStation 2, Sony has tried to make Killzone a viable franchise. Did they finally succeed on the PlayStation 4?
Setting the Scene
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a departure from past entries in the series; instead of focusing on war, the series dials it back to a cold war. In Vekta City, a giant wall divides the warring races of the Helghast and the Vektans, creating an uneasy truce between the two races. As a Shadow Marshal, your job is to preserve the peace in Vekta City by any means necessary. Where past Killzone games focused on war-torn environments in sprawling expanses, Shadow Fall focuses on tight, urban settings and the game is all the better for it. However, that's not all it focuses on, as Killzone: Shadow Fall constantly changes the scenery to such diverse environments as a lush forest and outer space.
No matter what you're looking at in Killzone: Shadow Fall, the game is beautiful. Rendered at 60 frames-per-second, Killzone: Shadow Fall never fails to impress with its graphics. If you're looking for a game to show off the power of the PlayStation 4, this is it. You will constantly stop to admire the setting and the landscape, just make sure not to get shot while doing it! Occasionally, the game will stutter during moments of extreme duress, such as a multitude of explosions littering the battlefield, but these moments are few and far between. This game truly looks next generation.
The story will present new twists and turns during the over 10 hour long campaign, constantly giving you a reason to push forward. If it's not for the story, it will be for each new locale and gameplay change, as Killzone: Shadow Fall constantly throws new ideas and mechanics at you on a regular basis. Unlike Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall is worth playing for the single player campaign alone.
The DualShock 4 Advantage
Killzone: Shadow Fall does away with the sluggish movement and aiming of past entries, mimicking the controls and speed of a franchise like Halo or Call of Duty. This is a good thing, as the DualShock 4's new analog sticks are perfectly suited to the new speed of the franchise. In fact, the analog sticks work so perfectly with the game that the developers have disabled automatic aiming, a feature that almost every console first-person shooter has needed to implement due to past analog sticks not having the accuracy of the DualShock 4.
Killzone: Shadow Fall uses the DualShock 4 in other inventive ways as well, such as using the light bar on the top of the controller to display your health and having the speaker on the DualShock 4 narrate the audio journals you find. The touch pad on the DualShock 4 is used to control your robotic companion, an OWL drone, by swiping and sliding on the pad. The touch pad is responsive and the drone reacts quickly to your swipes.
Killzone: Shadow Fall uses every aspect of the PlayStation 4 to its advantage, making it the perfect launch title to show off all the new aspects of your new system.
Playing With Others
At first glance, Killzone: Shadow Fall's multiplayer is much like other first-person shooters. Players will select a loadout and customize it with the best weapons and skills for their playstyle, unlocking new items as they complete challenges during a battle. Where Killzone: Shadow Fall comes into its own is with Warzones.
Warzones are divided into two flavors: Classic and Custom. In Classic Warzones, the objectives constantly change in this team-based mode. In one round, you may be playing a classic game of Capture The Flag, while in the next round you may be playing some classic Team Deathmatch. However, in Custom Warzones the rules are completely defined by you, the player, as you set up your own playlist. Want a Capture The Flag variant just using sniper rifles? You can do that. Would you rather set up a shotguns only variant on a small map? You can do that too. When making a Custom Warzone, the only limit is your imagination. It gives the multiplayer mode an amazing longevity.
Couple that with the fact that Guerrilla Games is promising free maps for the game and you've got a long-term success on your hands. At no time during this review did multiplayer fail to work or crash, a far cry from games like Battlefield 4.
Killzone: Shadow Fall's multiplayer won't change the first-person shooter landscape forever, but what it does do, it does almost to perfection. You'll be playing this well into 2014.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a Killzone game in name only: it feels, looks and plays different than any other game in the series, which is absolutely a positive thing. Shadow Fall is the series transformation to one of the top Sony franchises rather than just being one of the pack.
This is the game you can not only use to show off the power of the PlayStation 4, but one you will enjoy playing it to boot. The single player campaign is a decent length for being a first-person shooter and the multiplayer will last you for months thanks to Custom Warzones. This is the total package.
The best part is that PlayStation 4 games can only get better from here, as this is only the beginning. With the reimagining of the Killzone franchise, we can't wait to see what Sony and Guerrilla Games can do now that they have some PlayStation 4 experience under their belts.
Final Score: 9/10
Game Category: First Person Shooter
Sony has released three more free multiplayer maps for Killzone: Shadow Fall. These maps, titled The Statue, The Canal and The ATAC Tower, are free to all players but with one catch: To download and play in The Canal and The ATAC Tower maps, you must have the Intercept DLC. See the youtube previews below.
The ATAC Tower & The Canal: