When the first Killzone launched, many people called it the “Halo killer”, but the Killzone series has never quite lived up to that name. With the launch of Killzone Shadow Fall on the Playstation 4, Sony and Guerrilla Games shoot for the moon, but fail to even make it out of Earth’s atmosphere.
Killzone Shadow Fall is an ambitious game. With the launch of the PS4, Killzone has a huge opportunity to show off the true power of Sony’s new baby, and while being a very gorgeous game, everything else in Killzone feels very lackluster. From the very start of the game, Guerrilla Games tries very hard to get you emotionally involved and yet the story is extremely predictable. Not only did I never feel connected to the story, I also rarely knew what the exact point of my mission was and how it tied to the story Killzone was trying to tell. What makes the story so tough to bare, is how hard they try and push it on you by interactive cutscenes where you “play” through them; but they drag on entirely too long. There are Quick Time Events, where someone draws a gun on you, but patiently waits for you to hit X so you can disarm him instead of taking the easy shot that he had. Probably the worst part of how hard they push the story on you is that it actually takes away from the overall experience and slows down the game play.
Speaking of game play, Killzone plays through as a very average shooter with BIG inspirations. Your OWL companion gives you some different options, such as to use a shield you can shoot through, create a zipline to quickly get to lower levels, shock your enemies, or the option you will tell him to do all the time: Shoot everything you see. The AI in the game can only be described as stupid. It appears that sometimes they are plain suicidal, running at you or just plain waiting for you to shoot them. They will shoot at you and then literally start climbing ladders as you are shooting them!! For a game that tries to compete with the best shooters around the AI is inexcusable. Halo on the original Xbox showed what great AI was, and two generations later Killzone is still trying to figure out how to create AI that isn’t bullet sponges.
To add even more fuel to the average game play is the horrible level design. The mission structure will give you an orange point to get to, but good luck trying to figure out what staircase or hallway to use to get to that point. As a gamer who can beat most shooters are the hardest difficulty, the challenge has never been trying to figure out the correct path. I literally spend more time lost in a level than having fun. The train station and space levels clearly come to mind when showing off horrible level design. You literally start a mission on the train station, with a bad guy in front of you, and if you start shooting at him instead of running, you will be killed by an oncoming train within 5 seconds of starting. This is also the same level that I witnessed enemies climbing ladders right in front of me, and even committing suicide by jumping off platforms. In the space level, you have to spend half the level looking for power cores that power EACH INDIVIDUAL DOOR, so you have to remove one and take it to another door to power it, which is very tedious.
Multiplayer does save the completely average single player campaign. Unlike most multiplayer shooters, all weapons and customizations are unlocked from the get go, which creates and even playing field and depends more on player skill than who has the most powerful weapon or spent the most time grinding to unlock a better perk. One of my favorite modes Warzones, where the modes change after each objective is accomplished. One minute you could be trying to detonate a bomb, then the game mode switches to team deathmatch with no pause in gameplay. While multiplayer was a huge focus for Sony, I just couldn’t get the same adrenaline rush from the multiplayer aspect compared to the games that it is trying so hard to be better than.
Killzone Shadow Fall tries to show it is here to hang with the big boys, but plays out more like a game that has taken from the best (Halo, COD, Metroid Prime etc.) and fail at everything those games executed so perfectly. While having excellent graphics, which can only get you so far, Killzone Shadow Fall is a rental at best unless you are a huge fan of the series. Shadow Fall is more of an attempt to do everything as awesome as it’s competitors but ultimately it becomes Shadow Fail.
Killzone Shadow Fall attempts to prove its mark with the big boys with beautiful graphics, but ends up being completely average and failing with level design and AI issues.