REVIEW: Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)

  • Sony PlayStation 4 / Rated M / $59.99 / released November 2013
  • OFFICIAL SITE: killzone.com
  • PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
  • FINAL: You should TRY this game. 3 out of 5 stars

Sony prepared some literal big guns for the launch of the PlayStation 4 with “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” the sixth game in PlayStation’s go-to sci-fi shooter franchise. As an early PS4 title – and a console exclusive – you would expect “Shadow Fall” to demonstrate the potential of the new device. The game certainly looks fantastic, but it offers little else new beyond that surface flash.

If you’ve never played a “Killzone” game before, the single-player campaign will set you up nicely. In reparation for years of brutal war, the Vektans (usually presented as “good” humans) have given half of their planet to the displaced Helghast (they wear scary masks and have British accents, so they’re coded as the “bad” humans). Both sides hate each other, so the reasons for this ludicrous diplomatic outreach are probably too stupid for the game to detail. The end result is a new escalation of conflict between the two peoples, to no one’s surprise. As a soldier literally adopted by the Vektan war machine, you are thrown into the battle where you see both halves of the coin. The Vektans aren’t as sympathetic as you thought, and the Helghast perhaps not as evil.

The most interesting development is the impersonal robot drone that accompanies you throughout the missions. The drone can attack enemies, hack computer consoles or just act as a distraction while you sneak around to flank a knot of soldiers. It says something about the plot that the bit you will remember most is essentially a flying machine gun.

The story jumps from action movie bombast to quiet “we need to find a better way” cliches, but it is entertaining enough when viewed as a scenery slideshow for the PlayStation 4′s power. You will explore abandoned spaceships, grimy Helghan slums, and fluorescent shopping malls of the privileged Vektans. With multiple difficulty options, any gamer should have a reasonably fun time shooting through the rubber-stamped storyline. A flying squirrel suit sequence near the end almost ruins the entire single-player experience, but you’ll manage.

Of course, it’s the online multiplayer that will keep you coming back to “Shadow Fall.” While it rarely disappoints, it also rarely amazes. The bullet points of modern shooters are all hit: plenty of game modes, lots of maps/weapons, and a complicated system of challenges and unlocks. Aside from some fun special abilities which are earned over time, “Shadow Fall” simply does not do much new. You shoot, you score.

In other words, while this is not the game that should make you run out and buy a brand new PlayStation 4, if you already have a PS4, you can pick this up and be readily welcomed into the eye-popping world of the latest in first-person shooters.

“Killzone: Shadow Fall” is a Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive release. This review is based on product supplied by the publisher. Image courtesy Sony Computer Entertainment America.

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