Developer(s) – Guerrilla Games
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Steven ter Heide
Producer – Qiong L.
PEGI – 18
Prior to Shadow Fall, none of the Killzone games ever appealed to me. They just seemed like another clone of Call of Duty or Battlefield; just with a more futuristic setting with no outstanding gameplay features or any means of leaving any kind of lasting impression on me. After playing Shadow Fall, I discovered that I was more or less proven right. Despite how great the game looks, it does just play out relatively like any generic first-person shooter, but with an element of stealth added in. To me, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a pretty typical launch title; made simply to showcase the capabilities of it’s console in terms of both graphics and controls.
Graphics – 9.5/10
When I first aid eyes on this game, I’d never seen anything like it before. There was clearly an unfathomable amount of detail put into making this game look as stunning as possible in both graphical design and conceptual design. But I think the standout feature for me was how level in the middle of the game were set out. A lot of them are set in slums were the effects of the game’s events become most apparent. People being exiled and left to fend for themselves as a result of events such as war and political decline; things like that have happened throughout the course of human history. And it’s portrayed in a very realistic manner.
Gameplay – 5/10
Unfortunately, the game’s visuals are indeed the only aspect that I can wax poetic about. To me, the gameplay is generic at best. For the most part, it is just a typical linear, run-and-gun first-person shooter, similar to Medal of Honour and Call of Duty. There are a few stealth mechanics that stand out somewhat, but it’s all been done already. In fact, the only part of the game that truly stood out for me was the epilogue; whereby the player takes control of an entirely different character to perform an additional assassination mission. But in my opinion, I certainly don’t think it’s worth having to play through the rest of the game to unlock the epilogue and play through it.
Controls – 10/10
A good thing I can say about this game, however, is that there are no problems with the controls. In fact, fairly decent use is made of the new control features that come with playing a game on the PlayStation 4, such as the touchpad.
Lifespan – 4/10
With side quests merely involving collecting things such as abandoned newspaper supplements and audio tapes, there didn’t seem to be enough to warrant even seven hours of gameplay in all. Games like this are more tailored for playing online, but I personally grew bored of playing online first-person shooters about as quickly as I started.
Storyline – 5/10
The story of Killzone: Shadow Fall follows a soldier called Lucas Kellen, who is tasked with helping to keep the peace between two factions fighting against each other. But soon after the game begins, tensions between the two factions reach boiling point and war soon breaks out. The lines between right and wrong begin to bur from Kellen’s point of view and events soon unfold into something much more complicated. While the story is interesting at times, I found that it’s much too exclusive to fans of the series than to truly appeal to any newcomers to the series. Playing through Shadow Fall certainly didn’t leave me with any desire to go back and play through the original Killzone trilogy, as Mass Effect 2 compelled me to go back and play through the first.
Originality – 3/10
The only remotely unique feature of Shadow Fall to me was the use of the OWL device in combat that can be used to gain a tactical advantage over enemies. But other than that, there seems to be too many familiar first-person shooting elements in the game for me to be able to call it original.
To summarize, Killzone: Shadow Fall to me is a lot like a reality television show; it may look glamorous and extravagant on the surface, but it has little substance and only moderate instances of legitimate entertainment value.