Amid a pretty lukewarm line-up of launch titles, Killzone: Shadow Fall is an impressive technical showcase of the PlayStation 4’s potential, but once again highlights Guerrilla Games’ limitations as a studio.
In many regards, Killzone was always going to be a tough sell to PlayStation devotees, with the franchise being renowned for its solid, but somewhat unspectacular, FPS combat and story. With Shadow Fall, however, the studio has upped the ante to spectacular levels.
So many tired, old aspects of the series have been left on the cutting room floor. The cover shooting mechanics – which forced you to bunker in behind impressive-looking bits of derelict building before occasionally popping up to mow down waves of Helghast cannon fodder – have been removed almost entirely.
Killzone has finally caught up with the rest of the industry; Shadow Fall is a proper tactical shooter that forces you to think your way through confrontation, assault rifle in hand, of course. Shadow Fall does a wonderful job of immersing you in the world, and you’ll feel like you’re in the boots of a heavily armed soldier of death – movement is sluggish and heavy. If you’re familiar with the speed and slickness of Call Of Duty, expect a learning curve, but the payoff is worth it in the end.
Killzone had tough competition in the launch window from fellow sci-fi shooters Warframe and Blacklight: Retribution, but the franchise’s superiority should never have been called into question. Shadow Fall takes full advantage of the PS4’s power, and never fails to look stunning. If you’re looking for the game to justify the £350 price of entry to the next-gen party then look no further.
Admittedly, the narrative – a Cold War-type scenario where space Nazis deal in subterfuge and deception – fails to light any fires. It’s here where Guerrilla continues to stumble, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is so damn satisfying that it’s tough to care. Killzone: Shadow Fall isn’t going to blow your mind, but it is a ridiculously pretty, solid-as-all-hell and frantic FPS that’s a must-buy for any PS4 early adopters.