Developed by Guerrilla Games, Killzone: Shadow Fall will be one of the most anticipated titles this November, but will it be any good? Thankfully, Sony invited PSLS to a private hands-on event to play through a portion of the campaign and a few rounds of multiplayer to find out before it releases on Nov 15th.
The preview that was available covered two levels, one that took place within a skyscraper in the middle of a city and a mission that looked like a military check point in the middle of the slums. Both areas were beyond anything we have seen visually on a home console, which has become expected from the Killzone franchise, but this time around Guerrilla Games doesn’t seem to sacrifice color for atmosphere. The game looks astounding and ran without flaw during this preview, so it looks like things will be boding well for the final build if this was anything to go off of.
Looking around the skyscraper, the mission starts off with the ability to see the whole world around you, futuristic and wonderfully realized, a living world that setts the tone right from the start. Going through the level did feel quite similar to what we have seen in the previous Killzone games, which is both good and bad depending on your previous experiences. Although, on top of the familiar control scheme, the ability to use a sonar styled device to temporarily detect enemy locations and determine the location of the next objective, were great additions that kept the pace up.
Besides the ability to use radar, the biggest addition had to have been the OWL, an airborne drone that you can give commands to by using the DS4’s Touch Pad. Depending on the situation, the OWL can be used to attack, defend or even used a zip-line for difficult to reach areas, making it a valuable addition to the game.
Getting to play through some of the modes on the multi-player portion of Killzone: Shadow Fall, the game felt very familiar, especially since I have had some experience with the franchise online in the past. Running around the rocky forest map we have seen in trailers, it was easy to stop and get distracted by the gorgeous terrain and forget that this was an online match. The controls felt weighty and solid, which matched the booming sound effects from the weapons, but never felt cumbersome. Each class has a unique ability, and sadly only having a chance to check out the Scout I wasn’t able to see how all of them played. But, with the Scout’s ability to turn invisible, it was a blast hunting my pray with a knife instead of just sticking to the sniper rifle.
Whether playing through the campaign or multiplayer, the only portion of the experience that had ever been any bit negative, were the animations that played out during special interaction scenes. Now, the build that was available, was not final, so this could be easily fixed before launch. But, anytime the player had to interact with an object, such as opening a door, the animations felt over drawn and mechanical. This lead to a number of times where a door would be opened as if you were trying to make a grand entrance, and not trying to get the jump on someone – leaving you exposed to how ever many enemies were standing around looking at you.
Killzone: Shadow Fall has been one of my most anticipated titles for next-gen and after having gotten to go hands on with the game, that has not changed. For fans of the Killzone franchise, it looks like the folks at Guerrilla Games have completely outdone themselves this time and you will be in for a treat. But, gamers who have not been sold on the franchise, might need to wait for a full review before deciding on if this will be the game to sway you back to the series.