By Cameron M. Bray ’16
8.5 out of 10.
Make no mistake when I say I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by “Killzone Shadow Fall.”
It was just like finding a $5 bill on the sidewalk—completely unexpected, but pleasant nonetheless.
Developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, “Killzone Shadow Fall” is a first-person shooter for the PlayStation 4.
It recounts the events following the previous game, “Killzone 3.”
The year is 2390.
The war between the Vektans and the Helghast—two diametrically opposed races of humans—ended around 30 years ago when global armageddon known as “The Terracide” devastated the planet Helghan, rendering it uninhabitable.
The Vektans had won the war at a great price. An uneasy peace was arranged.
The Helghast survivors were given refuge on the planet Vekta and were allowed to colonize half the planet—New Helghan.
Soon after, a massive security structure known as “The Wall” was constructed to separate the two civilizations due to continual resentment towards one another.
Tensions between the Vektans and the Helghast, however, are at an all-time high now.
A small branch of the ISA’s special forces, the Shadow Marshal maintain the tenuous peace between the two civilizations.
You are one of them.
You play Lucas Kellan, an orphaned Shadow Marshal serving under the command of Thomas Sinclair, a Shadow Marshal and a father figure to Kellan.
Throughout his exploits, Kellan repeatedly encounters a mysterious half-breed named Echo.
Together, they share the mutual desire to prevent imminent war and form a lasting peace between the Vektans and the Helghast.
Overall, the story is palatable, though a bit muddled and occasionally nonsensical.
The game’s aesthetics vary quite profoundly from its predecessors.
Before, “Killzone” was a bleak, “war-is-hell” kind of game, painted with a mélange of grays and browns.
Now, “Killzone Shadow Fall” has turned colorful with variegated environments and textures, and explores a setting that heavily reminiscences the Cold War.
Vekta and New Helghan symbolize the United States and the Soviet Union while “The Wall” clearly represents the Berlin Wall.
It is an interesting twist on the entire series that works well.
In terms of gameplay, “Killzone Shadow Fall” is also sound.
Guns fire, grenades explode, and the bad guys fall down. It is all very familiar until your personal robot companion, the OWL, is introduced.
The OWL performs a variety of functions.
Upon command, it hacks alarms and computers, stuns and shoots enemies, blocks gunfire as a shield, provides healing adrenaline and functions as a zip line, which is awesome by the way.
The OWL is an interesting feature and it’s zip line ability really makes the levels feel more sprawling and ripe for exploration.
Despite all these exaltations, I do have a few complaints about the single player mode.
Throughout the campaign, there are several sections that involve quasi-puzzle-solving and platforming.
They all share one thing in common: they are absolutely terrible.
Moreover, the enemy AI occasionally stutters and glitches.
On more than one occasion, gormless enemies would just stare at me as if they had forgotten who I was and how guns work.
These are only minor quibbles though.
Besides the campaign, the multiplayer also works great.
The multiplayer boasts a healthy variety of game modes and maps, all of which are exceptional.
Warzone is my favorite game mode, and I actually kind of enjoyed making my own levels.
Overall, “Killzone Shadow Fall” is the best kind of sequel.
“Killzone Shadow Fall” takes the already-successful “Killzone” formula and experiments with it, ultimately crafting an excellent campaign and a stellar multiplayer, and for that it receives a 8.5 out of 10.