Review: Killzone – Shadow Fall / Developer: Guerrilla Games / Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment / Platform: Playstation 4 / Release Date: Out Now
The latest in the Killzone franchise, Shadow Fall takes place years following the events of the previous title. A fragile peace has emerged between Vekta and the Helghan survivors following the destruction of their planet, with the latter colonising one half of the world, separated from the human populace. Aggression has led to a covert war with both sides striking at one another, with emotions over the past decades boiling over.
Unfortunately, for anyone wanting anything slightly nuanced or interesting, it still boils down to mowing down space Nazis en masse. You’re going around like you’re in a Michael Bay action film and the plot itself barely makes sense. Jumping forwards at high speed, the opening cut scene depicts the Helghast gunning down multiple human civilians on the half of the planet they were given! Even as it’s trying to invoke some feelings of an uneasy peace, it’s as if the developers felt they needed to remind people, “Yep, they’re the bad guys!”
For all the talk of the next-gen quality of the game, so much of it feels derivative and uninspired. The campaign has a decent length but recycles many elements continually, with only a handful of set-pieces standing out, and never feels as if it builds towards something. Combined with elements which seem designed to get you killed enough times to stretch out the campaign length and poor checkpointing, it all adds up to a frustrating trial to reach the end. Even when the game offers up a great variety of locations and weapon designs, it doesn’t disguise how bland the campaign feels.
The multiplayer does make up for this to some degree; it’s certainly much more coherent and better designed than the campaign, but it still feels lacking. Just containing the usual mix of Scout, Assault and Support classes, it lacks any kind of experienced-based progression system.
If there is one thing to truly praise, it’s that Shadow Fall is a visual triumph, displaying what the next generation is capable of graphically. Facial animations, lip-synching, draw distances, lighting, all of these feel as if the technology has leapt forwards, even in comparison to the likes of Beyond: Two Souls. That said, combined with the occasionally used touchpad and lack of loading screens, the game feels like a glorified tech demo at the end of the day. Something to show off the technical marvels of the platform rather than offering great gameplay.
Ultimately while Shadow Fall is a step up from Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’s not enough to warrant buying a brand new console over.