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Killzone: Shadow Fall Looks Great But Only Plays OK

By Damian Seeto, Wed 11 Dec 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Killzone: Shadow Fall has been advertised as the flagship title for the PS4 so far, but is the game able to stand out in a genre that already has lots of alternatives?

Killzone: Shadow Fall's best feature is its graphics, as they really are step up from the PS3. The first time I saw the human character models in the game, I knew that the next generation of gaming had finally arrived. The amount of detail you can see in people's faces are astonishing and the lightning effects make everything shine with pristine detail.

The graphics are also great when it comes to (some of) Killzone Shadow Fall's levels as well. The outdoor environments are huge and allow you to somewhat roam freely and explore. The second level in the game is the best looking by far because there are trees, a nice waterfall and a cliff-top you can even climb. It's the one level in the game that I played more than once.

Gameplay wise, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a mixed bag because the game introduces nice ideas, but the features I liked most about the game didn't last very long. First of all, the majority of the levels look drab as you are enclosed in narrow areas. This is the main reason why I played the second level more than once because it's one of the few levels in the game that is open and features a beautiful environment. A lot of the time you're running around dark hallways and other not-so exciting places.

Killzone: Shadow Fall Screenshot

Another good feature within Killzone: Shadow Fall is the companion "OWL" that accompanies you during most missions in the game. The OWL can be controlled by the DUALSHOCK 4's new touchpad where you can order it to attack nearby enemies, hack devices and even use it as zipline to ascend to different places. The OWL can even help revive you if you have any adrenaline packs stored in your inventory. As neat as the OWL is, most of the levels won't allow you to use it effectively because of their narrow structure.

The main issue I had with Killzone: Shadow Fall is that the game has useless waypoints. The waypoints are never clear on the exact location that you need to go to and I would walk around for several minutes trying to find out where to head to next. The waypoint usually directs you to a point where you need to go, but it won't tell you how to get there (frustrating). Your location is usually blocked or cutoff which means you will always need to walk around for an alternate route to get by.

Killzone: Shadow Fall Screenshot 2

When it comes to the shooting mechanics, Killzone: Shadow Fall is still fun to play. The melee attacks are arguably better than shooting because you will get to see some brutal stabbing animations up close. The enemy A.I. is also quite smart because they will hide behind cover and try to dodge your bullets whenever they can. It can be quite fun to play, but the moments of brilliance are too few and far between.

Killzone: Shadow Fall looks delightful and is a game worth buying if you want to show off  the graphic capabilities of the PS4 to your friends. Other than the visuals, the gameplay is quite inconsistent because the level design ruins what could have been a more fun game. There are moments when Killzone: Shadow fall shines really well, but the useless waypoints and boring level design kind of ruin what could have been a more fun game.


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