A shooter, with color. Something is wrong here!
Killzone Shadow Fall (PS4), the unofficial graphical showcase for the PlayStation 3, is back with a vengeance. Being touted as the definitive title for the next console cycle, this power house comes by way of Guerrilla Games as the 4th console entry in the Killzone universe. Taking place on Vekta, a beautifully lush Earth-like planet, this first person shooter gives a story of revenge, turmoil and futuristic warfare over its decent 10 or so hour campaign. Packed with an innovative multiplayer mode, this title looks to set itself from the browns and grays of the past console generation and usher in a lush and vast scope for the future of the genre. Did it hit the mark? Read on to find out.Starting off after the events of Killzone 3, the enemy planet of Helghan has essentially been nuked, killing of many people and rendering the planet uninhabitable. The allied group, the ISA, allows refuge of the Helghan on the other half of their own world of Vekta, as those remaining have nowhere else to go. Separated by a heavily fortified wall, the two sides live in an uneasy peace: the Helghan having to put up with the people responsible for their ruin, all the while, both sides hosting covert ops on the other over the wall. After a gripping introduction of you, a small boy escaping the quadrant of New Helghan, you take the role of Lucas Kellan, a Shadow Marshall tasked with finding out the secrets kept behind the walls of Vekta. Surprisingly, the story, although decent, takes a backseat to the game itself. Although it’s nice to finally have an FPS that doesn’t have the archetypal ‘US military grunt against the world’ story arc, it takes a back seat to the ridiculously gorgeous world and the environments within. It is by no means a stretch of the imagination to say that you may find yourself playing the story to see where it takes you next and how it looks on the PS4.I know I have spoken a lot about the graphics, but you really do need to see it to believe it. The vistas in this game are grand in scope, almost limitless in how far out the horizon pans in clean clear 1080p, 60 frames per second glory. Whether running through lush trees, hovering in outer space, or sneaking in dark corridors you will be impressed by the level of visual quality hitting your eyes every single second. What is even better is that the game hardly loads anything. After the initial level loading, there is never another load screen until the next one. Given how you have played games up until this point, one would expect such graphics to be hidden behind a load-time, or a slowly opening door, or a very long cutscene, but that is not the case. It looks so good in fact that the cutscenes themselves barely look better than the game itself. It’s insane.
Aside from its rather interesting story and jaw-dropping graphics, the gameplay is mostly ho-hum. For being a futuristic shooter, many of the weapons/abilities here you have already seen: handguns, shotguns, grenades, etc. There are a few standout weapons, like the default rifle that can extend to a long range rife and the ability to control a personal servbot named OWL. This handy bot can do one of many things: provide cover, stun enemies, attack enemies, create ziplines, and etc. With a simple swipe of the PS4 controller’s touchpad, you can queue him to do any of the mentioned abilities and tell it to go with another press of the L1 button. It’s really intuitive and is a nice addition that allows you multiple ways to complete missions, since you now essentially have cooperative backup at your beck and call.
The multiplayer itself is one of the many shooters that contain RPG elements. You pick one of three classes: assault, support and scout. Each one is a damage dealer, but has a secondary ability unique to each class. For instance, the scout can turn semi-invisible and snipe enemies while the support class can revive any fallen ally. Likewise, as you progress in multiplayer, your level increases, allowing access to new weapons and abilities. A nice feature here is that in the multiplayer menu, you can customize your matches in terms of weapon layout, abilities that can be used, game modes and so on. If your type of match then becomes popular, the game then advertises it to other players in multiplayer.
Bottom Line: This game is a rarity. It’s a technically impressive, gorgeous and innovative game on new hardware that is actually competent without the launch goggles. While the story mode is nothing you will be jumping on message boards about, I had a surprisingly fun time playing online with a bud of mine. That mixed with the little polishes everywhere (you have feet!) ensures that this game will be in your PS4 library for quite some time to come. Buy it; you will not regret this purchase.
by Ayodeji Asagba