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Killzone Shadow Fall!

The latest in the Killzone franchise has arrived to much anticipation, but will the newest installment in the series be able to have a breakout debut on next gen consoles?

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Civil Unrest: The story of Shadow Fall revolves once again around the interactions between rival citizens of the former planet Helghan and the people of Vekta. Following the events of Killzone 3, which saw Helghan almost entirely destroyed, the populace of Vekta takes in the refugees of the planet and allows them to inhabit 50% of Vekta, with a massive wall separating the two sides, and dub it New Helghan.

Although small, destructive operations are often carried out from both sides due to the resentment of the past war, things are fairly peaceful on the planet until about 30 years after the events of Killzone 3.

Tensions continue to rise between the rival citizens and over the course of the story you will discover that high ranking officials from New Helghan are attempting to overtake the rest of the planet and start, and finish, another war between the Vekta and Helghan people.

The storyline is comprehensive and fleshed out nicely and there are some interesting twists throughout the title. Nothing truly shocking comes along but the franchise has come a long way in recent years with the evolution of their storytelling ability.

Alien, Indeed: The gameplay of Shadow Fall is in the same vein of previous installments in the franchise, particularly Killzone 3, but Shadow Fall implements some new features to innovate the series a little bit.

While the gunplay is remarkably realistic although mostly unchanged from Killzone 3, the introduction of your OWL drone is a welcome gimmick. With the touchpad on the PS4 controller you will be able to select different commands for your ever-hovering drone, which is capable of attacking, stunning and scanning for enemies as well as dropping protective shields and hacking computer systems.

The drone can be damaged and put out of commission for a while if you send it to do all of your dirty work, so despite as helpful as it may be, it does not act as a crutch or something you can rely on entirely to mow through enemies for you.

However, when all is said and done even the most experienced players in the FPS genre will find themselves intrigued by how uniquely different Killzones gameplay is. The world has a distinct sense of weight about it, an uncommon feel in the world of shooting titles.

Jumping is slow and heavy, movement feels labored while you wear an abundance of combat gear and each weapon is unique in the way it fires, reloads and generally behaves.

Like No Other: That unique gameplay carries over well into the multiplayer, which has chosen to be as simplistic as possible in its approach. The biggest thing to note about the online portion of Shadow Fall is the fact that the typical class system has been simplified to only include three different classes for you to use.

Each class allows you the use of a couple different weapons and abilities (think, dropping a sentry turret or being able to revive downed teammates as swappable abilities), but as a whole your customization options are quite limited. While this is a significant departure from most other games in the genre that f feature a multitude of weapons and perk-like features, it does boil matches down to skill and teamwork rather than "overpowered" weapons or builds.

The variety of modes offered in Shadow Fall are nothing monumental either, with the most popular modes being a 24-person Team Deathmatch and Warzone, which simply combines Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy and a Domination-like mode into one big, fluid match.

The gameplay will feel decidedly alien to heavy players of games like Battlefield and Call of Duty but as you get used to it, Shadow Fall becomes a pretty interesting competitive shooter. It is unlikely to ever reach the popularity of those aforementioned hit titles but Shadow Fall has a lot to offer in its own unique way.

Rent vs. Buy: Throughout the game you will discover that the abilities, drones, turrets and weapons you utilize are all very much different from what you may expect from a title in this genre. Killzone knows that is has to stand in a different way than its competitors to succeed, and it manages to do that very well.

The sounds and visuals in Shadow Fall are stunning and immensely impressive, showcasing what even early titles of the PS4 are capable of doing. Beautifully rendered environments that are meticulously detailed and surprisingly grand in stature only add to the generally impressive experience.

As a whole Shadow Fall has done what a sequel needs to do, which is innovate and refine itself enough to justify a purchase. Killzone may be awkward to some players in the early goings but I anticipate it picking up steam and popularity over the weeks to come, and I do believe that this is an excellent, well rounded title to own in the early life of your PS4.

Report Card

As a whole Shadow Fall has done what a sequel needs to do, which is innovate and refine itself enough to justify a purchase. (Krakrabbit.com)


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