Get in the zone.
Sony hasn't let go of the idea of making the Killzone franchise its Halo for the PlayStation brand. While the games don't nearly have the same level of fandom as Microsoft's illustrious FPS franchise, the games sell well enough to have Sony keep trying. While I haven't really found a lot of the past Killzone games to be much to make note of, I did very much enjoy Killzone: Mercenary on the PlayStation Vita enough to call it one of my favorite FPS games I've ever played.
Thus, after my high on Killzone: Mercenary, I was open to playing the latest game in the series, the PlayStation 4 launch title, Killzone: Shadow Fall. With an engaging single player, a robust online and offline multiplayer offering, and a story that treks into new territory for the series, I ended up enjoying what I played of Guerrilla Games's latest.
In Killzone: Shadow Fall, you take on the role of Lucas Kellan. The first chapter of the game delves into the current situation with the Vektans and the Helghast. As a child, Lucas and his father are forced out of their home, and the two stealthily move through Helghast-occupied territory to escape to somewhere much safer. In the process they meet up with an ISA soldier who assists them along the way. However, in a skirmish, Lucas's father is shot and killed right in front of the young boy's eyes. Thus, the ISA soldier takes Lucas under his wing, all the way to the present where Lucas is now a Shadow Marshall for the ISA, and the soldier is now a commander for the ISA, giving Lucas new missions.
The Vektans and Helghast now occupy the same planet and are in an uneasy cold war of sorts where any volatile jolt could result in full blown war. A gigantic wall splits up the Vektans from the Helghast, and without spoiling too much, instead of the Helghans being labeled as this wholly evil force this time around, the lines between good and bad blur considerably in Shadow Fall.
|All of the plot in Killzone: Shadow Fall plays out through protagonist Lucas Kellan's eyes.|
Killzone: Shadow Fall itself is a traditional shooter where you get a maximum of two guns to hold at once, a handful of grenades, and to keep yourself alive in dangerous situations, some adrenaline packs. The latter not only restores your health quickly instead of needing to hide in a corner hoping your health regenerates before enemies can get an angle on you to shoot you dead, but it also gives a brief period where everything slows down, giving you a great opportunity to pop enemies before they know what hit them.
|Killzone: Shadow Fall delivers intense firefights and visceral melee action.|
OWL's main use is to hack terminals to open doors, shut off security panels, and other electronic systems. It can also be used when Lucas has taken too much damage and give him a shot of adrenaline to bring him back to the world of consciousness or else suffer death. However, of course, Lucas can't just keep using OWL's various abilities over and over with a cool-down period. OWL has to recharge, so players have to use it strategically. This means you probably shouldn't send OWL away from Lucas to shoot down enemies if he's about to lose all of his health. OWL will be too preoccupied to revive Lucas, pending he has a spare adrenaline pack.
|Many levels offer nonlinear design, letting you as the player take on the level as you desire.|
After playing through the approximately 10-hour campaign by your lonesome (that time can greatly increase through going after the various collectibles and playing harder difficulties), you'll probably want to move on to what most longtime Killzone players love most about the series-- its multiplayer. I'm happy to say that despite not being hugest fan of FPS multiplayer games, Killzone: Shadow Fall's offering, both online and off, is pretty darn nice.
|I see I have two attendees to my shotgun party. Welcome. Did you RSVP?|
Not only can you play the Warzones already manufactured by Guerrilla Games themselves, but you can customize and create your own Warzone scenarios yourself. You can select from Shadow Fall's nice selection of ten maps, choose from modes like Search & Destroy and Capture & Hold, and even include bots. Yes! Bots! In a 2014 console game with online! This gave me grand memories of fully customizing every facet of a multiplayer match in Perfect Dark, my favorite FPS game to date, so if Shadow Fall can give me memories of that awesome multiplayer game, then that's high praise coming from me.
|With everyone on the same level playing field, |
Killzone: Shadow Fall is good for both beginners and longtime players.
With a stellar single player campaign and lasting multiplayer goodness, Killzone: Shadow Fall was a pleasant surprise as my first PlayStation 4 game. Although the narrative can interrupt gameplay way too much and certain non-shooting segments feel shoehorned in and rather clumsy, overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall manages to be a stellar first-person shooter that is definitely worth looking into for any PlayStation 4 owner who enjoys the shooter genre. Fall in!
[SPC Says: B-]