Reviews

Killzone: Shadow Fall Review – A PlayStation Blockbuster Takes a Step to a Better Direction

In the future, Square Portal will be streaming and providing reviews of non-SE games to give a deeper and wider look at the game industry. We also feel it’s a great addition for gamers who are interested in other games as well. This allows us to create more content for the site as well, and you to get an image how a fan similar to you enjoys different kinds of games.

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This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Killzone series which was first introduced on PS2 in November 2004. Since the release Guerrilla Games franchise has become one of the most important PlayStation blockbusters, and has received two sequels. Now we are taking a closer look to Killzone: Shadow Fall, which takes place about three decades after the events of the last game.

THE STORY

The planet of Vekta is being shared half by the Helghast and humanity. The conflicts are inevitable and both sides are tirelessly planning to take each other down – Whatever the cost. Terrorism and other “accidents” are threatening citizens. Still, there are people on both sides looking for hope in wanting to live in symbiosis with their enemy. The story of Shadow Fall takes a nice psychological view to the human brains and in general how fear can take the control. Both these civilizations are being ruled by a few men who are too proud and making their people scared about things that don’t really exists in the first place. That propaganda is common in our own world as well.

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Sadly, during the gameplay we don’t get to know much about the Helghast and its people, and how similar they are to us. There were moments during the story, I felt like not shooting the enemy but I had no choice. This is why the story and characters end up feeling a bit flat and I feel the story had far more potential. I would love to see more of the daily life of people and their struggle. Altogether, the game sure had epic moments but the lack of personality in characters leaves me a bit disappointed. Lucas is just another soldier trained to eliminate the objectives.

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THE GAMEPLAY

In Shadow Fall,  the player takes control of Lucas Kellan. The game won’t reinvent the shooter genre but provides a nice traditional experience with AI which doesn’t provide much challenge. It would have been nicer to do more strategic planning before starting to kill the enemies but the simply “charging in and gun blazing” worked just well. But there’s always an exemption with everything: some mechas demand more planning and effort to be taken down.

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Thank god, Shadow Fall has thrown away the dated dude bro action and this time player won’t be getting much help from fabulous yet muscular and stubborn men. But hey, Lucas isn’t alone! The all mighty buddy droid is here to help him by shooting and shocking enemies, hacking computers, being a shield and helping him to move around the area by turning into a robe. Everything is being controlled by the touch pad which feels nicely natural. A true companion who will even help you when struck down by the enemies. (You can even buy a pink skin for your droid!)

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When it comes to the map and chapter designing, it is hit and miss. Some part make you hold your breath when other parts are just another generic dark corridor. I was really happy to see there were bright and colorful areas and mission completed during day time. A very welcome addition!

Sometimes a confusing map design may have caused problems but I made it through them. However, I never was a huge fan of these huge rooms where enemy waves arrive to be killed by the player. It’s boring and isn’t the most diverse or entertaining game designing choice.

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TECH & ART

When it comes to graphics, Killzone: Shadow Fall is absolutely gorgeous. Alongside the look, the FPS is very stable during the campaign and multiplayer. We experienced just a few drops here and there. The subtitles were quite small and in a game like this I would have hoped for a bit bigger font size.

The new approach is very welcome addition to the Killzone series which is always known from its dark and realistic-like art direction. The lighting and color usage make the game feel fresh and look beautiful. There create a surprisingly bright yet realistic touch to the game in general. I never understood why games should look dark and have monotonic colors to be realistic when the nature and everything are so colorful in real life. Killzone truly shows how next-gen games can look and makes me excited to see how much better they will be looking when the hardware is pushed to its limits in the coming years.

SOUNDTRACK

Honestly, after I heard nice comments on Killzone: Shadow Fall soundtrack, I was pretty excited to hear it since I love game soundtracks. But Shadow Fall left me a bit cold. It’s true it has some interesting moody and atmospheric tracks but I would have wanted even more futuristic, melodic and perhaps aggressive tunes. Another thing I experienced during the gameplay was the lack of music. It didn’t play loud enough to be completely hearable and was often covered by shooting sounds and such. When it comes to the music, Killzone plays it safe.

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THE MULTIPLAYER

Multiplayers are the heart of shooter games and key to their success and longevity.  First of all, all future additional map packs will be completely free for Killzone: Shadow Fall players. That’s quite a huge deal! In the future DLC, I hope more maps are based on outside environments because they are truly the ones where this game shines the brightest.

The multiplayer has the most traditional game modes such as team deathmatch and capture the flag. There are actually more game types like Warzone mode which combines different game types such as search and destroy and team deathmatch into one match. Game modes can be created by the community as well and settings are widely editable. A maximum of 24 players can be participating in the match.

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Before stepping into the real battlefield, the game gives players a chance to play on recruit servers which is really nice for the newcomers. Who would like to face an ultimate slayage during the first match in multiplayer? I just hope the game would have allowed me to play a few more match with other recruits because I didn’t get familiar with all maps. When feeling lost, the player has a possibility to train his map knowledge and shooter skills on the botzone.

Once you get into the multiplayer, the gameplay will feel great. Unlike in many other shooter games where you need to unlock stuff by leveling up, in Killzone all weapons are available at the start and you won’t feel like a beginner. Just a few equipments gain levels and attachments are being unlocked for the weapons of your choice.

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Besides the customization, the multiplayer feels like a unique Killzone experience you won’t be experiencing in other shooters. The futuristic feeling is something that makes the game stand out from the mainstream shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Using turrets, buddy and huge flying droids makes the gameplay really feel diverse. Each class has its own abilities such as teleporting, invisibility, healing and many others. This gives the game a nice unique touch. The best part of it is that any of the abilities nor weapons feel overpowered. It’s all about the way how you play.

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IN CONCLUSION

Overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a good launch title for PlayStation 4 since it showcases well the graphical potential the console is hiding under its plastic cover. It may lack contents if you are not fond of the (flat) campaign or multiplayer since there are no coop (DLC) or other game modes. But for people who are tired with shooters set in the present and looking for a new fresh experience, it’s a good choice. Not to mention all the upcoming map packs are completely free.
The new colorful and brighter approach is a step to a better direction for the series and I would like to see another Killzone like this in the future as well.

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1 reply »

  1. Great job with the review! Really happy to see that the site is going to push more content out in the future as well – been looking forward to that for a while! I really appreciate this!

    Talking more about the review itself I really liked the way you explained things, highlighted the things that bothered you and which did not. No too much explaining about the gameplay mechanics etc. which is just good because they can be read in the previews and other info posts. :)

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