Next Gen? Not yet…
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a prime example of games that either end or start a generation. The gameplay is what we have grown accustomed to in this generation and the overall look is just a step beyond what the current hardware can do.
The Story setting will remind the player of a futuristic version of a divided Berlin, with the Helghast moving into a part of the capital of the Vectan home world. The theme of a futuristic setting for World War 2 has been a part of Killzone from day one, resulting in the Killzone franchise reigning heavy on symbolism. In Shadow Fall the series reaches this climax when you see ‘The Wall’ up close and personal.
The game delivers on many levels, but fails to make the move in to what we call next-gen. The forest level deserves a special mention, as the design is varied and gives the player the chance to play around with the variety of weapons provided. Especially interesting is your new sidekick – a drone – which acts as a constant companion and multi tool. With a flick of the touchpad you can use it to zipline off from higher ground, generate a force field for protection, stun your enemies with a powerful area shock or revive yourself if you have fallen in battle (if you have adrenalin with you). The level designs of later levels are sadly lacking and present as a mere amalgamation of generic FPS tunnel gameplay design. The short space walk sections sadly fail to make an impact.
The missions feel more varied compared to its main competition; Call of Duty and Battlefield. The sub-missions in particular give the player somewhat of an autonomous sensation, through choosing your own path, and also because they are not compulsory. The biggest downer is the lack of interactivity with the environment. Your shots and grenades may discolour the floors, walls and ceilings, but have no other impact on the levels. Chairs, cans and everything that is not you or an NPC seem to have been made from some sort of indestructible and super heavy material, that I’m sure NASA might have an interest in. Killzone delivers for the most part on the graphics side. Stunning vistas with great lighting make you wonder where graphics will go this generation and how particle effects seem to be “the big new thing” at the moment.
The multiplayer takes a step back (or maybe forward) with having all classes and weapons unlocked from the beginning. Gone are the days of exosuits and jetpacks, and instead a more up close and personal gun fight is what it is all about. The offline mode with bots gives the player the chance to explore the weapons, levels and modes, which is a great way for new comers to the franchise to spar a bit before jumping into the fray against other players. The dynamic “Warzone” mode deserves a special mention, as it keeps things fresh with changing objectives. The ability to create your own game modes can prolong the play time, if the community steps up to the plate.
But is that enough to truly be a next-gen title? Not really. With A.I. that does not exceed the intelligence of your common red shirt or storm trooper and missing interactivity with the environment, Killzone Shadowfall is a good FPS and a very good launch title, but not yet next-gen.
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What were your favourite PS4 launch games? How does Killzone Shadow Fall rate for you? Let us know in the comments below.