The next-gen is finally upon us, and the PS4 is no longer a fragment of our imagination. Sony’s technological marvel has finally released and although our hardware review is yet to be complete, we’re happy to bring you the review of one of the launch titles for the PS4.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is the poster boy as far as PS4 launch titles are concerned and it’s only fair that we review it first. The game undoubtedly has a lot of prove, considering the pedigree of Guerilla Games and since it’s the most exciting PS4 launch title, the challenge gets even harder. But does it manage to impress or leave you craving for more? Let’s find out.
Shadow Fall serves as a direct sequel to Killzone 3 and takes place around 10 years after the events of its predecessor. The once powerful planet of Helghan is now a wasteland and uninhabitable by any race. In order to ensure Helghast doesn’t go extinct, a treaty is signed between the two races which allows the residents of Helghan to stay in one half of the planet Vekta. In order to ensure a peaceful co-existence, a large fortified wall is built separating both halves of the planet as both the races still aren’t exactly on friendly terms after all that transpired between them in the past.
You’re put into the shoes of a Shadow Marshall in the Vektan armed forces, and your role is to undertake missions which are highly secretive and often times doesn’t exist in official records. The story isn’t really innovative or new by any means but works nonetheless.
Gameplay wise, the game offers you more of the what was present in the earlier iterations of the game, while adding in a few new tricks to the mix. You start off with two weapon slots, primary and secondary. Your default weapon presents you with two firing options, one serves as a short-range sniper rifle while the other acts as an silenced sub-machine gun. The secondary slot has a pistol as the default firearm but you can pretty much pick up anything from fallen enemies including machine guns, shotguns and even rocket launchers to use as your secondary.
However, the game offers you with another new weapon which is crucial to the gameplay, known as the OWL. It’s basically a drone that you can carry on your back and which serves as a vital piece to aid in your offensive against enemies in the game. It comes with four attack modes and you can control them by swiping your DS4 touch pad in a certain direction. It’s quiet a fun thing to use and gives you a good sample of how the touch pad can be integrated into gameplay. It also comes with several other gameplay specific abilities which you will need to use during certain parts of the game in order to progress.
Shadow Fall also gives you more freedom in regards to how you want to carry out missions, putting you in situations where you need to decide how you want to complete them. This kind of interaction and control over gameplay certainly gives the game more life and prevents its from becoming just a point A to point B shooter as these decisions does affect the consequences to an extent. All this can also make the game confusing at times but overall it adds to the experience.
There are also certain missions which puts you in situations where there is no gravity and those are particularly fun to complete. The shooting mechanics of the game are as robust as before and any shooter fan will feel right at home with the controls. Moving on to the visuals of the game, the Killzone series continues to impress as launch titles for new Sony platforms. The graphics are simply gorgeous and manages to give you a glimpse of what Sony’s new console stands capable of producing.
The animations are also top-notch and you’ll be witness to a new breed of tech that you haven’t seen in a console game before in the form of Shadow Fall. The first time you walk through the lush-green forests of Vetka is a sight to behold and Shadow Fall truly excels in the visuals department and is worthy of being a launch title for a next-gen console. The framerate remained steady for me throughout the campaign, something which was amazing, especially for a launch title. The audio is also top-notch with attention to detail noticeable in almost every sound in-game. The voice-acting also feels realistic and is in complete sync with the animations. Shadow Fall definitely a marvellous looking game with great audio effects to boot.
Coming to the online modes, I wasn’t really able to put in a good few hours into it but it seems as robust as the previous Killzone games. The first thing that hits you about the MP is that it no longer features an XP system, but instead uses something called as the challenge system. Pretty much everything ranging from promotions, unlocks to other aspects are channelled through this new feature.
Shadow Fall also allows you to completely customize Warzone which gives you all the more freedom to setup matches exactly as you want to play them. This is a great feature and ensures that even if you don’t spend extra money purchasing DLCs, you can still have plenty of fun. Overall, the MP isn’t really revolutionary but manages to offer you with a component which is both fun to play and refreshing.
All in all, Killzone: Shadow Fall offers you with a great looking launch title which also comes packed with a more than average single-player campaign and a fun multi-player component. However, there is nothing here which can truly make you realize the potential of the PS4 and at best it manages to serve as a excellent example of great things to come later in the cycle.