The signature launch title for the Playstation 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall has arrived. The game continues the popular Killzone franchise with next-generation graphics and features that are made possible by the new system. Although it picks up following the events of Killzone 3, it is not necessary to have played or completed any of the previous games thanks to an introduction sequence that establishes the plot and setting for the game. Following the defeat of the Helghast, the ISA allows them sanctuary on a colonized planet. The two sides are divided by a massive fortification known as “The Wall” which keeps the two former enemies divided. Shortly after the construction of the Wall, the Helghast begin a forced relocation of the local populace and use their usual brutal tactics to accomplish this. Playing as a young boy named Lucas, players must work with her father as they attempt to reach the safety of the Wall during the brutal relocation.
Shortly before reaching their objective, tragedy strikes in Lucas witnesses his father brutally murdered at the hands of the Helghast. Lucas is saved by a soldier who cares for Lucas as his own, and recruits him into the military.
The game flashes 30 years forward when relations between the two sides are very strained and Lucas has recently returned by a prisoner exchange after being caught and detained on the Helghast side of the Wall. Tasked with doing missions on the enemy side, Lucas must infiltrate enemy territory to prepare his side for what is to come. What follows is an adventure filled with treachery, action, and suspense and some amazingly fast and smooth gameplay.
The game also features solid multi-play experiences had a very good variety of weapons for players to select from. The matchmaking is very quick and the responsiveness of the Dualshock 4 controller complemented the game well.
My biggest issue with the game was getting used to the navigation system as the game employs a sonar type system to scan an area and I was used to a key point on a map indicating which direction I needed to go. There is an assistant known as an Owl which players can command which allows them to do everything from former protective shield, attack enemies, hack computers, and unleash a zip line to allow travel between distant points.
Early in the game I found myself struggling to locate and disarm an enemy alarm in order to prevent reinforcements from continuing to arrive. I was eventually able to accomplish this through trial and error but required a very large pile of enemy bodies littering the map before I was able to do so. The game does employee larger maps that allow for a less linear style of gameplay as I had options as to how and if I chose to encounter various enemies and locales or simply avoid them altogether.
While the game was certainly enjoyable, it was not as engaging as I had hoped as well graphically it was very impressive the gameplay and story didn’t grab me the way that some contemporary First Person Shooters do. Part of this is the fact that I tend to play games of this type with the mouse and keyboard and find a console controller a bit cumbersome and awkward at times. While I’m able to get the control systems down easily enough to play the game, the online portion tends to suffer from a as I struggle against flesh and blood opponents due to my comfort level with a PC configuration.
That being said, I did enjoy the game and look for to seeing what the future holds for the franchise as well as for the planned DLC that will be coming for the game.
4 stars out of 5