Sunday, November 17, 2013

Game Review (Killzone Shadow Fall - PS4)

-This review is only focusing on the game's multiplayer. I don't plan on reviewing this game solely on its single player like so many other reviewers seemed to do. How people get paid to review the half of the game that so few people really care about is beyond me. Rant over! Moving on.-

Killzone is a series that has probably been Sony's most popular FPS, at least since Killzone 2 was released on the PS3. While it's suggested that Sony had planned on it being a "Halo-killer", there really aren't all that many elements in the games at all that give it a Halo feel. It seemed many people weren't fans of the "clunky" controls of past Killzones, although some people really enjoyed it. In Shadowfall, Guerilla has tinkered with them to make the game more accessible to PS4 gamers. How does it play though?

Really quite well. First off, the basics of what you should know about Shadow Fall's multiplayer (if you didn't already):

12v12 online gameplay at 60fps and 1080p resolution
Guerilla and user-created "Warzones" make up online play.
10 maps are available at launch, with all future map DLC being FREE to download.
Three classes (Assault, support, recon)
All guns are unlocked at the get-go, with only attachments needing to be unlocked.
Challenges replace experience points as a leveling system.

That's about the gist of it all. As soon as I dove into my first Shadow Fall multiplayer match, I was impressed. The graphics are fantastic and all, but the most impressive thing is probably the fact that the game seems to run a consistent 60fps, no matter what's going on on screen. Having never really played a Killzone before (just a demo of the first one back on PS2), I wasn't sure what to expect. To me, it feels like some sort of Call of Duty and Halo love-child, and that's not meant to be a bad thing. It's like Call of Duty in that the maps tend to be small and without vehicles with few bullets to kill an enemy, but like Halo in some of its stylings and equipment. Really, it takes things I tend to like from both of those franchises, and puts them in one.

The classes in Shadow Fall only make the game more interesting. Assault is what you'd probably expect, with most of the guns and equipment being ideal for close/medium range attack. The assault rifles are definitely your best option in close quarters combat -- normally much more useful than the fairly inconsistent shotguns I've used in the game. Recon is a class for people who want to go rogue and/or snipe. They have the ability to be invisible, and have a certain sniper that appears to always be a one shot kill. Guerilla balanced it perfectly though, as it has plenty of flaws: you can't no scope, ADS is pretty slow, and the reload time is very slow as well. THAT is how a sniper should be in a video game, in my opinion. Incredibly deadly, but requires a smart user to use it effectively. Support is probably my favorite class, as it seems to have the most options and has unique abilities. First, Support is the only class that can revive teammates, and can do so using a drone from a distance. Second, they can also use spawn beacons, which are critical in virtually any game mode in Shadow Fall, as there are designated spawn areas for both teams throughout the match. The LMGs in the class are super effective at medium/long range, but you'll have a tough time beating somebody up close who's using an assault rifle. Again, nicely balanced.

The maps in Killzone are quite varied. From what I've seen and heard, Killzone was notorious for having very gloomy looking maps that lacked color. In Shadow Fall, you'll find plenty of maps with sunlight and vibrant colors. Some of the maps are a bit too large for the 12v12 limit, but the moments of silence are few and far between for the most part.

The main issue I have with the game isn't the game at all -- it's the players. Granted the game has only been out for a few days, but it amazes me just how inept players are. Not just in the fact that they act as though they've never played a first-person shooter in their life, but they very rarely appear to use their equipment to their advantage. Spawn beacons, as I said, are hugely important, and others, like the Support drone, can wreak havoc on opponents. Perhaps the best part about the abilities is that none of them feel overpowered. While the Support drone can certainly be frustrating, the cooldown time is quite long, and it doesn't hover the map for long.

Overall, I am impressed with Killzone Shadow Fall. It borrows some aspects of other popular first-person shooters and makes a fun game that's (mostly) accessible for new players, while still appeasing the hardcore Killzone fanbase. If I had to actually have a knock on the game (not just the players), I'd say that some of the maps just don't do it for me. Whether it's because their layout is mediocre or too large for intense combat, some of them aren't that interesting. On the plus side (and it's a huge plus), like I said, all future maps for Shadow Fall will be free to download. I don't know how many there will be, but quality is always greater than quantity. Whether you're a rookie to the series or have played Killzone cumulatively for a thousand hours, there's a lot of fun to be had in multiplayer -- just be wary of the abundance of clueless players.


+: 60fps, beautiful graphics, near perfect weapon balancing, needing to work as a team, free maps.
-: People who refuse to use abilities, some below average maps, can't button swap (B/knife, RS/crouch).

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