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Why ‘Killzone Shadow Fall’ should be at the top of your Christmas list.

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Killzone Shadow Fall was one of the few exclusive launch titles for the PlayStation 4 back on November 15, but it arguably was the best. With a lengthy campaign and well-designed online play, it certainly contends as a top title on the new consoles this holiday season.

I was very excited to play the online portion of Shadow Fall, but I opted to start with the campaign as I traditionally do. From the opening cinematic, the visual prowess of the PlayStation 4 was on display. Each facial expression moved perfectly when the protagonist’s father would speak to him. Although the colors were dreary at the beginning, they broke the classic Killzone trend in the following chapters. The frame rate per second runs at around 30 which is a typical amount for most campaigns. Overall, the scale and ability for fast-moving scenes to keep up without skipping a beat is unparalleled by any other title thus far.

The campaign has gotten mixed reviews so far, mostly leaning to the negative end of the spectrum; however, it hasn’t received the credit it deserves. Most campaigns have gotten shorter and shorter as the years have gone by because developers believe most people want to play online with friends. Guerilla Games ignored the new trend and decided to stick to their guns. The campaign runs for about ten hours which is significantly longer than most, but it does have its annoying flaws. Chapters 6, 7, and 9 were simply frustrating at times because there was no sense of direction even though clicking up the up button on the D-pad reveals the location of the objective. In terms of actual gameplay, the addition of the touchpad allows for the OWL drone to be even more effective in aiding players. There is a great amount of weapons to use which each have their own special abilities such as one which goes from a submachine gun to a sniper rifle with the push of a button. Gameplay varies which provides a more enjoyable experience. The campaign is gorgeous, lengthy, and well-constructed although flawed but still stands out as one of the best on the PlayStation 4.

Campaigns are typically overlooked now so many people judge a game by its online multiplayer and Killzone Shadow Fall sets the bar high. Killzone 3 had decent multiplayer, but it suffered from lag and a lack of playability. Guerilla Games put a huge focus on the online play this time around and in a totally new way. There are no more experience points or leveling up to unlock new weapons. Players immediately have every weapon in the large arsenal at their disposal from the first minute they step foot in one of the ten maps. Weapon types vary from submachine, assault, and sniper which isn’t surprising. Along with weapons, abilities are extremely important. Abilities range from protective shields to drones to invisibility. Each class type has exclusive abilities. The more you use a weapon or ability, the better it becomes. Going back to experience points, they have been completely erased. Instead of points, challenges are completed but they don’t really serve any purpose except reaching milestones unlock trophies. That and bragging rights.

Guerilla released a few types of game modes such as Classic Warfare, Team Deathmatch, and so on; however, players can create their own game modes to share with their friends and other players. We’re bound to see some very creative modes over the next twelve months. Classic Warfare appears to be the most played mode. It has five phases which include deathmatch, domination, and capture the flag. The action is fast-paced and requires great hand-eye coordination in order to be successful.

Killzone Shadow Fall is one of the top games of the Christmas season. It has a great campaign and a multiplayer like no other. If you need a last-minute gift or stocking stuffer, be sure to pick up Killzone Shadow Fall.

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