Killzone: Shadow Fall – What the hell just happened?!

The most significant thing about Killzone for me was that it was the only game I received at launch that I had any say in. Knack was bundled with the console and I was required to get Lego Marvel as well. So when the nice lady at the desk asked me what other game I wanted… Well it had to be Killzone, right?

The biggest reason for my decision was the fact that, as well as boasting amazing graphics, it is one of the only retail exclusives to grace the PS4 at launch. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to get stuck into the exclusives before venturing to the third party games and to also get a glimpse of what will await me as a PlayStation gamer this generation.

Having played the original Killzone on the PS2, I was familiar with the universe and mythos behind the conflict. However, coming into Shadow Fall I always felt as if there was something that I was missing. Obviously missing two games meant that I did not have all the answers to the previous plots and normally I would not expect the game to retell the story. But considering that this is a new generation and there will be many, like me, who have made the change from Xbox to PlayStation, I would have liked a quick summery of the whole story so far. They do give us a cheeky look at what I assume was the end of the last game, but alas I do not know.

So what is the story like for this game? Well, you play as a Shadow Marshal, essentially a secret agent tasked with various missions of espionage. The main villains for this story are the Helghast and they have taken refuge on your home world, but being a race of violent beings, they are not too content to just sit there. With two nations on the brink of war, it is up to you to stop them both from escalating the conflict. You will encounter a terrorist organization with the exact opposite ideas as well as other individuals who share your concern. It is hard for me to go into too much detail without spoiling it for anyone, as the plot is a tad predictable. As for then ending … … … OK, sorry, I’m back, I just had to go punch something really hard. The ending is appalling, I mean really, really appalling. You would think that someone would be able to come up with a satisfying conclusion, but regrettably we are treated to a sudden and deflating experience.

But, I fear that I am starting to paint a negative light on Killzone, so let’s get into the gameplay. The controls on this game feel great, the new Duelshock 4 is very easy to use and Killzone makes good use of the new controls and options available. It was great being able to use the touchpad to control the ‘owl’, a drone that you can control to either attack/stun enemies, create a zip line or lay down a shield. Sneaking around felt like an effective tactic and the ability to hack spider drones to take out various electronics makes you think about the best way to proceed. When you do have to go in all guns blazing, the bullets feel like they are having an impact and you will have to make sure you play smart or the AI will outthink you.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 11.18.48

Graphically Killzone is beautiful, but then again it was built to be a showcase for the PS4’s graphics. That being so, it is the best graphics I have seen to date, not only is the fantastic detail, but the huge scale of the world make the conflict feel epic. Looking back, this also made the stealth missions even more intense as you felt a sense of claustrophobia about being in such a small space knowing the scale of the world around you.

Like many games Killzone features collectables in the form of Audio logs. While these are your standard way to find out a little about the backstory, they are delivered through the audio directly out of the Duel shock 4, which pulls you in for greater immersion. Imagine picking up an audio book in real life, surely it would play in your hands right? Well now it does. This twinned with the aforementioned graphics creates one of the most immersive games out at the moment.

Coming away from the campaign, Killzone features a fantastic multiplayer that has taken up many hours of my time since getting my console. Truly frantic gameplay makes sure that no game is boring as you will constantly be fighting to either simply eliminate the other team or achieve the objectives. “Warzone” will see two teams fight over a series of randomly selected objectives in order to get the best out of 5. The best thing about Warzone is that, while it will be the same 4 objectives in every game, the order of their occurrence will vary. This means that you will have to make quick decisions in order to react to a current objective, also making teamwork essential.

So Killzone is a game that certainly has a lot to offer a new PS4 gamer and the multiplayer will make sure that players always have something to play. I hope that this franchise continues long into this generation and continues to right some of the negatives that have been highlighted by Shadow Fall. Overall it is a pretty solid game and well worth a play.

Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS4
Genre: First Person Shooter
Player Modes: Single Player, Multiplayer
Price: £45.99

(For a closer look on how the Owl works, check out this supplement video)