Killzone Shadow Fall places you on planet Vekta 30 years after the ISA forces have destroyed the habitability of the Helghast planet. This gives Guerrilla another excuse to kick start the series on a clean slate with the power of our next generation consoles.
Strangely, the Vektans have allowed the Helghast to live on their planet on the other side of a huge wall, perhaps from some overwhelming guilt or crazy theory which isn’t actually explained properly in the game. The Helghast are an evil race hell bent on destroying the Vekta, so naturally Guerilla will make them share a planet. The obvious result of this rather contradictory and nonsensical fact is that tensions spill over, terrorism is rife and war is the only answer. It is a pity then that this story seems like a desperate attempt to make a sequel to a title already battling to keep a strong fan base, especially considering the fact that the game has such potential. The same can be said of the characters who, in my opinion, are rather unimaginative and stereotypical to the point of boring. The missions are all over the place and don’t allow you to fully grasp whose side you are on or what you are fighting for. This culminates in a storyline not worth telling and gamers skipping the video cuts so that they can just play the game.
Visually, Vekta is a stunning city and Guerilla has really surprised me with the graphics, particularly while fighting outside. There are occasional reminders of the Crysis series and the lighting really brings out the true power that is next gen. Unfortunately, many of the levels are indoors and even though it is still graphically impressive many of the surroundings are generic and monotonous.
Gameplay is something I have always enjoyed about the Killzone series, specifically the feel of shooting. Many will disagree with this point as aiming is less sensitive than other first person shooters. I enjoy the weight of the movement and the rewarding feeling of that perfect headshot. Running and jumping onto certain objects is as smooth as ever and the ability to slide after a sprint is always a winner. One big improvement is that when crouched behind an object you simply need to aim and punch forward to look over it, still in cover, and shoot. There are a couple of strange weapons in the game but generally they are all the basics and I personally didn’t stray very far from the default weapon which doubles as a machine gun and a sniper rifle. Most weapons have the option of switching between different shooting modes which is always a bonus and it allows for a free flowing experience depending on the environment.
The touch pad on the PS4 controller comes in handy with a new robot that you have in the game. By using the touch pad you can choose between 4 different commands, including the ability to make a shield or shoot and point out where or what the robot must apply such command to. It creates another dimension for you and removes the classic style of hiding behind a barrier taking out an army.
I am a fan of stealth gaming and Killzone allows for this but on a very limited scale as enemies seem to have a sixth sense to identify where you are. I did, however, enjoy the ability to kill using a knife from above and the way you can ‘chain’ kills by throwing a knife at an enemy in your line of vision after taking another one down. Stealth is helped by the ability to use an x-ray type technology that points out enemies around you. While I feel this was not fully utilized to its potential, I also feel that it can make the game slow and perhaps even predictable.
Killzone is a fun game, without a doubt, but there are moments of pure frustration. I didn’t enjoy the missions when you are floating around aimlessly and I certainly didn’t enjoy the trial and error approach sometimes needed to complete a mission. There is often ambiguity as to what to do next and this cause you to press the mission button for a guide as to the next target location. When the game ends, the credits begin to roll only for them to stop and enter into a final mission sequence. This added to my frustration with the storyline as I ended up feeling even more confused as to what was actually happening.
Furthermore, the final mission gives you an ability to go invisible and sadly shows that the game could’ve combined so many more elements to create a more immersive experience.
It was another throwback to Crysis and made me kind of feel like I would be happier doing that. Sad, but true.
Killzone Shadow Fall Rating: 6/10
Check out the Killzone Shadow Fall website: Shadow Fall