I’m a little over halfway through Killzone: Shadow Fall’s (so about 7-8 hours) single-player campaign and it is already looking like a must buy for the fledgling console. These are my first impressions of Killzone: Shadow Fall.
It’s the prettiest game I’ve ever seen
While it’s not pretty in the My Little Pony sense, one of the primary things that stands out with Killzone: Shadow Fall is how frankly breathtaking it is. From temperate forests to Blade Runner-esque slums, Killzone makes the most of the next-gen consoles power. Simply put, the game is beautiful.
A standard in the first person shooter genre seems to be a grey-brown aesthetic. Blue/green if you get into a game like Halo. Killzone eschews this tradition for cyber-punk fluorescents, living and green forests, and vibrant blue cities. A friend came in and watched me play Killzone and said, “That looks like a lovely forest to have a picnic in.” And it is. It makes it all the more believable that this would be land worth fighting for.
I’ve played Killzone on three different televisions today, and it popped on all of them. The PS4 tech is at its highest showmanship with Killzone.
It really utilizes all of the hardware
While I’m sure Killzone takes into account all of the specs of the new console, I’m talking less about the processing power, etc and more about the way the game has made me use all of the features the PS4 has to offer. It feels like Killzone: Shadow Fall was designed to display the Playstation to it’s fullest. Want to remote play? It does that. Did you know that the PS4 controller has speakers in it? You will when you find audio logs that burst to life, crackling in your hands. The colors on the back of your controller change depending on the amount of life you have, and your robot companion (the OWL), is controlled through the touchpad.
Through Killzone, I’ve had the chance to experience every new features the PS4 has to offer, including one that Guerilla Games talked about last month: the “PlayGo” system that allows you to play the game as you download. Much like advertised, I was able to play Shadow Fall within minutes of plugging in the PS4, and only had to sit through one relatively short download.
Are you a fan of shooting people in the face? Good news.
The controls for Killzone are intuitive and smart. They make sense. You shoot with right trigger, aim with left, control with the thumbsticks — if you’ve played a first person shooter, you know the drill.
And the enemy types are as diverse as the terrain. Shielded riot cops and standard foot soldiers, as well as giant mech creatures that are a pain to beat, but totally satisfying when you die. If you’re a huge fan of shooting things, this is definitely going to hit that sweet spot.
That isn’t to say there aren’t problems
The shooting parts are pretty good. Unfortunately, most of the rest is not. The “puzzle” sections are little more than glorified seek and find, and do little else than simply make you backtrack across the map. If they had not been there, it wouldn’t have been a loss. It’s like the developers had never done something non-face shooty before.
Also, this is a launch game (and a relatively big game) so there are still some glitches in it. Some of them hilarious.
There are several places in the game where you press O, and most of them are incredibly jarring. You use the O command to open doors and to climb ladders, and no matter which way you’re facing, the game reorients you so that you have the same view of these activities at all times. It breaks immersion and just takes you out of the game.
The story is also incredibly lacking. The initial premise is so strained and bizarre it barely holds my attention, and characters telegraph their intentions across the whole story. But if you’re coming to a game called Killzone expecting anything else, then you’re barking at the wrong tree.
I also feel that the developers really missed an opportunity by not including couch co-op. There were several moments where I really would’ve enjoyed playing with someone else, and wasn’t able to because I don’t have that many friends with PS4’s, and therefore can’t find anyone online to play with. It was just sort of a bummer.
If you have a PS4, I can honestly think of no better game to buy. The console is clearly demonstrated at it’s highest abilities with this game, and if nothing else, the OWL is a fantastic feature that is hard to ignore.
Check back later for more in depth analysis, and a complete review.