Killzone: Shadow Fall review (PS4)

ChipChipperson | 208d ago | User review
Reviewing: Killzone: Shadow Fall
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Potential Spoilers

Well, Guerilla Games has started off strong on the PS4 with their newest installment within the Killzone franchise, Killzone Shadow Fall.

Set several years after the events of Killzone 3 with the destruction of planet Helghan known as the "Terracide" due to nuclear weapons developed by Jorhan Stahl backfiring on him and his people, due to remaining ISA troop intervention(specifically Sev & Rico) left back on Helghan in their attempt to leave the planet, the VSA have granted the surviving Helghast population to take refuge on planet Vekta. Vekta is now split between two territories with Vekta City on one side, and New Helghan on the other. This is where the story and lore of Shadow Fall takes inspiration from the Cold War with the Berlin Wall, referred to as "The Wall" in Shadow Fall, and espionage as you play as the new protagonist, Lucas Kellan, a Shadow Marshal within the VSA tasked with black ops type missions such as spying, sabotage, assassinations, recon, search and rescue, etc.

If you're like me, who has been a long time fan of the series since its PS2 & PSP days(Killzone 1 and Killzone Liberation), the story is only getting better. You once again get to fight back on planet Vekta, reliving the days you got to play as Luger, a female Shadow Marshall. Shadow Fall delves more into the culture and mindset of New Helghan's civilian population and culture, whereas in Killzone 3, it concentrated more on the power struggle between 2nd in commands racing to take Autarch Visari's place after his demise in Killzone 2.

Throughout Shadow Fall you will of course, fight the Helghast, but not just the New Helghan military, but a new faction called, The Black Hand. They are a terrorist group within the Helghan population who still hold onto their past extremist values and seek the destruction of the Vektans. They are also a bit at odds with the New Helghan government as they are not pleased with how they have handled the Vektans since moving back to the planet. You'll be fighting in both Vekta City and New Helghan, where both have a very different look and mood to them, witnessing how the population lives. You are also introduced to Echo, a half breed Helghast, daughter to Hera Visari(yes, the same daughter of Scolar Visari from Killzone 3's opening intro), who seeks peace between the Vektans and Helghast, so it's your job to work with her to help stop a 3rd Extrosolar War from starting. I'm pleased with Guerialla's approach to the story with this. Many fans have been craving a Helghast campaign because they think they're the "good guys", but this is better. It's not black and white as to who is the good guy. You are essentially, a third faction to help even the playing field. The comradery that existed between Lucas and Echo, Vektan and Helghast, will hopefully forward the Killzone universe towards peace between the factions as they are both guilty of wrong doing to one another.

Now, onto the gameplay. What can I say? It plays fantastic, it's smooth, and it's fun. The weighted controls from Killzone 2 and 3 are gone, which is good and bad depending if you liked 2's controls. Me, I can adapt to either one, but I also enjoyed 2's controls. It handles more like Dice's more recent Battlfield games. Controls are responsive and tight, but also new to the series, thanks to the PS4's new DS4 controller, is the touchpad controls which are used to control an AI controlled robot buddy called, the OWL. This little drone is a very helpful little tool, used to hack into enemy alarm towers and computers, but also as a offensive and defensive gadget. Don't think of the OWL as an overpowered weapon available anytime, but more of a diversionary tool used to open your enemies up to attack. This drone can stun enemies(which will be VERY USEFUL in the later part of the game for shielded enemies and attack drones), it will fire upon enemies to divert enemy fire away from you and an energy shield that, well, shields you from incoming fire. Another handy ability of the OWL is its zip line function, which I highly recommend to those who plan on playing through the game using stealth tactics, as it helps get you down to levels that can help you gain a tactical advantage over enemies for recon or sniping.

Gunplay is satisfying. The sounds of the weapons firing, the way they feel, they feel powerful. However, that also means the Helghast troopers you fight are powerful. They'll do anything to flank you as most them are well equipped with miniguns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, shotguns, spider mines, the Armadillo Troopers have automatic energy shielding. Yeah, the Helghast are very well equipped. Although, the AI does make some pretty dumb moves such as running out into the open or climbing a ladder that you're looking down towards.

Coming back to Killzone's gameplay is the choice in how you play. Levels are more open, which presents you some opportunities on how you wish to go about. Like Killzone 1, Templar, Rico, Luger and Hakha are essentially molded into one character with Lucas Kellan. You can choose to use heavy weapons, hack into enemy computers to stop enemy alarms and weapons, or use stealth tactics. Shadow Fall offers more compared to recent FPS games. Also back is secondary fire attachments for your weapons. Turn your rail sub-machine gun into a rail gun sniper rifle, use grenade launchers that fire spider mines, or use grenade launchers that fires EMP missiles. The choice is yours.

Single player is very enjoyable. I highly recommend listening to the audio logs and read the newspaper headlines to fully enjoy the story and explore the environments. A big plus for single player is the length. One of the few games that I didn't beat in 5 hours. Although, some downsides to the single player is the difficulty. I'm sorry, but I don't understand how some people had a hard time with this game. Even on the hard difficulty, it's still pretty easy. Just some advice, play tactically. Don't spray and pray and don't rush objectives and enemies head on. The OWL will be the tool to use in the later chapters. However, I know I won't be alone on this though, but admittedly, the only times you will get frustrated with is the free fall section. Not because it's hard to navigate the terrain, but because of the weird controls used to control yourself as you fly through a ruined Helghan city. You'll see what I mean.

Sound has its good and bad. Music is beautiful, the gun effects are awesome, the voice acting is... eh. Well, no, not really eh, but some voice actors' performances are better than otheres. It's not the voices themselves, but the delivery of their lines that's not so great at times. Lucas Kellan is an example. His voice sounds fine, but his delivery is monotone and dry most of the time. Echo's voice actress though, is very well done. You can feel the passion in her character as she persuades your character to help her.

Multiplayer is a blast. If you're looking for a multiplayer game that involves teamwork and skill. Shadow Fall is one of the next gen FPS games you need to play. This is by far one of the most balanced games I've played, but also one of the smoothest ones. Almost no lag, no drop outs, and no glitches on launch when I played this. Weapon and class balance is nearly perfect with this Killzone's multiplayer. Remember the mess that Killzone 3 became with the Marksman class? And I love the sniper class. Weapons do the right amount of damage and have the right amount of recoil. Each class ability serves its purpose to help your team. No aim assist in this game. It's all skill. You need to play the objective, use teamwork, and not worry about your K/D ratio. Team play comes first. A big plus is the level progression in this game. It's not based on the amount of xp you accumulate, but the number of challenges you complete. All weapons and abilities are available from the start(you still have to unlock attachments for weapons though) and this really takes out the hassle of grinding to such and such level. It only leaves the core gameplay, which helps in being able to concentrate on the objective and how to effectively play.

You're free to customize your weapons with various attachments such as combat scopes, laser sights and flashlights, etc. Each class, of course, is limited to certain weapons, so sniper rifles for the Scout, assault, sub-machine guns and shotguns for Assault, and the big guns for Support. Each class has a primary ability that cannot be changed, but can equip different abilities in their secondary ability slot. Something that may upset fans though is the lack of classes. What I mean is, the 5-6 classes that we got in Killzone 2 and 3 are not in this game. They have all been integrated into 3 different classes.

Warzone is still back from 2 and 3, with the objective changing every so and so minutes or until it's completed. The standard team death match is always available, but a big plus for the multiplayer is being able to create your own games. The amount of control to what weapons you want, what modes to put into it, how much health players have, how much damage is dealt, what abilities are available, the amount of lives, you have complete control over it. This makes for some very competitive and fun game modes such as a knife only cloak on game. Unfortunately though, Operations is gone. So, no more awesome cutscenes throughout the match. One thing you need to give Guerilla Games credit for is their support for the multiplayer. Soon, they'll be releasing most DLC for free such as maps later on.

The graphics... do I really need to comment. It looks amazing. Lighting is beautiful. As you look out towards the deep blue of Vekta City and the red lights of New Helghan, it really is just amazing to look at.

I highly recommend Killzone Shadow Fall to anyone who has been a long time fan and to anyone looking for a team based FPS experience.
Ups
Smooth Gameplay
Beautiful Graphics
Tactical Team Based Multiplayer
Downs
Certain Changes To Multiplayer Classes
A Bit On The Easy Side
Score
10.0
Graphics
8.0
Sound
10.0
Gameplay
9.0
Fun factor
10.0
Online
10.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
theChickGamer  +   206d ago
I only read the part regarding the multiplayer, because I haven't played the single player campaign and I don't want any spoilers (I am that romantic :)) but couldn't agree more.
In KZ teamplay is always at the core of it, even if you don't want to be a team player and the classes are all extremely cool and well balanced. Some abilities are more versatile than others (no problem about that) and I also like very much how you can update/change your loadouts on the fly.

Excellents menus as well, slick and super-stylish and the "new", more sci-fi style is absolutely awesome!

Also thumbs up for the party-system, warzone-join experience.
With Battlefiend having no party system (eh) and Assassin's Creed: Black Flag being still a pita for multiplayer (these are the other MP I'm playing), Shadow Fall delivers a totally smooth experience, which is something that should be a no-brainer at this point in gaming history, but that is not yet so (especially with Ubisoft games it seems)!
#1 (Edited 206d ago ) | Agree(11) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
ChipChipperson  +   203d ago
It's no problem and thanks for the comment. I did the same when this game was coming out by avoiding single player videos and stuff to not spoil the series' plot. I definitely agree on you on the multiplayer experience.
MastaMold  +   205d ago
@ ChipChipperson, I see someone understands the Killzone universe great review looks like you enjoy the game very much as i do.

Sent from my PS Vita
#2 (Edited 205d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(9) | Report | Reply
ChipChipperson  +   203d ago
Thank you MastaMold.
Evil_Abed  +   204d ago
Lol. No
SlapHappyJesus  +   203d ago
Someone had to say it.
I am all about personal opinion, not to mention I have not played the game myself.
That said, I have read enough reviews and have seen enough gameplay to know that this game has its fair share of lazy design and shouldn't warrant a perfect score from anyone.

N4G is one of the few places where such a score would be congratulated and not questioned.
thereapersson  +   195d ago
Don't mind Evil_Abed. You'll find his personal opinions slant negatively against anything Sony related.
360ICE  +   198d ago
Yup. Love the Killzone universe, but this is maybe the weakest entry in my book. That includes KZ: Liberation.
LightofDarkness  +   203d ago
Look, I enjoy the game quite a lot, but it is so far from a 10/10 that I could never take another opinion of yours seriously, following this review.

It's a solid 7-7.5, and everyone I know who owns a PS4 agrees and the majority of the gaming press agrees. The multiplayer is very good and keeps you entertained, but the singleplayer is very mediocre and mired in poor design choices which plagued many standard FPS games last gen. It is clear that the game was hurried along as it got further into development, with the first few missions feeling quite good and well-paced while the latter 60% of the game felt slapped together hurriedly and without consideration.

Personal opinion is one thing, but reviews are about CRITICAL opinion more so than personal opinion.
ChipChipperson  +   203d ago
Notice how I don't have comments next to my review scores. If I was you, stop taking the scores and final score seriously because for my reviews, it's not about the numbers, it's about the content that I've written out and whether I recommend a game or not. The numbers are there just because I thought N4G required them. If you wanna keep using the "but ME and the majority and big gaming news outlets think this" argument go ahead, but you will respect the effort and honesty(something a majority of the gaming press lacks) that I put into this review for gamers who want a different FPS experience on a next-gen system, people who enjoy games for what they are, and most importantly long-time, Killzone fans.

"Have your opinion, but don't let your opinion have you"- Patrice O'Neal
SlapHappyJesus  +   203d ago
That's the thing though, you still have the scores, yet not the words to justify them.
You obviously thought about what you wanted to score each separate element of the game, therefor you yourself are taking the scores seriously. If not, you would do what a lot of people do and set each part of the game to either .1 or 10, and then just rate the game, overall, to what you feel is most accurate. You decided to write a review on a site with this system, and in doing so you are abiding by the rules of the scoring system. You still decided to give the game a ten based on the site's metric, and you are then allowing yourself critique of your critique.
I wish there was a way to write a review without scoring the separate elements or the game itself, but there isn't. I would have done so for my Outlast review but, considering that's not the case, I used the system in the best way I could and reviewed the game based on the system.

I don't recall anything stated in the review where you ask people to not take the scores you assigned seriously, so I can only assume you yourself took them seriously.
jaseo  +   203d ago
As someone who just finished singleplayer and started playing some MP, it was good to get someone else's opinion (regardless of what score they gave). I enjoyed the content. There are first impressions, and there are lasting impressions. The latter more valuable.

It's a game that has got some mediocre reviews. I can understand the reasons given (especially around the SP portion), but it also lowered my expectations. I think this actually increased my enjoyment and appreciation of the game.

I also like reading review of reviews on N4G. I just wish N4G implemented a scoring system for these reviews :)
Ridiick  +   202d ago
Great article, I have enjoyed a lot Killzone SF, the story is the best one that I have ever played, I'm a little tired about the CoD and Battlefield wow moments with no soul in the characters, the ending is really brilliant but probably so much European for US taste.

The graph, sound and everything related to techncial is the best in the market now.

The multiplayer is really great with match that can be done in 15 minutes even less (similar to CoD) but with the usual weight of the KZ (I loved but I understand some people prefer fighting in skates like in CoD). The only point is that the multiplayer should have better short term/long term rewards for casual people

But for me is a clear 10/10, good review
#5 (Edited 202d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(12) | Report | Reply
CrossingEden  +   198d ago
Killzone shadow fall is the best story that you've ever played? Um, sorry but you REALLY need to play more video games if something as poorly done as this game's story is your idea of the best story you've played.
edgeofsins  +   198d ago
And you think 343 changing art style in Halo is because of a firmware upgrade and think that nano technology can sprout thrusters out of a suit and provide fuel. They don't explain any of it for a reason. It wasn't changed because of a firmware upgrade it was changed because they felt like it and they like it that way.

Master Chiefs suit has nano bots for automatic repair of both the suit and the user. That is it. A few cosmetic differences can be okay.

You have 1 bubble. Next time you PM someone and try to argue don't block them after leaving a very loose regurgitated argument.
Benchm4rk  +   195d ago
@edgeofsins

Master chiefs armor is the Mjolnir mark VI varient. Only the Mark VII had the nano bots for repair to the suit and user
R00bot  +   198d ago
It's a good game. But not 10/10 good. Something tells me you were incredibly wowed by its graphics, because they're the only part of this game worth a ten.
theChickGamer  +   194d ago
Apart from the graphics, the multiplayer may also be worth a ten :).
Perhaps   192d ago | Spam
deathsarm  +   187d ago
i love killzone shadow fall but its not a 10 more like 8 top it has a lot of room for improvement...GG can make a lot better than this

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Killzone: Shadow Fall

Average Score 7.5 Reviews(201)
Release Dates