Killzone: Shadow Fall is the PlayStation 4’s debut first person shooter. As much pressure as there might be for Killzone to show gamers what the next generation of gaming holds, Shadow Fall has proved itself to not only be a competent launch title, but ultimately a game that makes the necessary improvements in order to call it a successful sequel. Killzone 3 gave gamers a hardcore first person shooter that didn’t have the stereotypical twitchiness of Call of Duty or Battlefield. It made players rely on the specific strengths of their weapons and the unique abilities of each character class. Killzone: Shadow Fall doesn’t redefine the multiplayer experience, but it improves on a number of aspects that made the previous entries feel fresh and unique.
Shadow Fall has several familiar modes (called warzones) that players can chose from. As far as the first week goes, the two modes most played by the community appear to be Killzone’s classic Warzone mode and the 24 player team deathmatch. Warzone is a mode that pits 2 teams against one another, competing in several random objective based missions. Once the objective is complete or the time expires the round ends and one of the teams claims the point. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins. Warzone continues to be an entertaining mode that switches it up for players who get tired of the same types of gameplay. It always feels fresh and the varying objectives gives the game the forward momentum it needs to remain fun. The traditional team deathmatch is exactly what you’d expect, allowing players to focus on honing their abilities and mastering their aim. Custom warzones are also an addition, letting players craft their own modes to share with others online.
The progression system for competitive multiplayer is what makes Shadow Fall stand out from its competitors. Rather than gaining XP for every kill, assist, and objective, there are over 1500 challenges that the player can complete. These range from straightforward kill count based objectives to very specific objective based ones that require much time and planning in order to conquer. Each challenge rewards the player with enhancements, whether that be a weapon attachment or a cosmetic alteration. No matter what your play style or loadout might be, there are sure to be quite a few challenges to satisfy your needs. It’s also a fun way to ensure that players experiment with weapons and classes that they might not otherwise engage in.
The maps of Shadow Fall seem decent enough so far, some reminiscent of Killzone 2 and 3. They all look gorgeous, showcasing the same impressive lighting and texturing as in the single player campaign. One of my only cosmetic complaints so far is that it’s hard to distinguish friend from foe on certain maps where the character models blend in with the landscape. The green or red player name appears overhead only if your target is dead in your sights. There are also no jetpacks or additional ways of traversal around the maps. These updates might come later but might make things tricky when attempting to keep the game balanced and fun.
Time will only tell how Shadow Fall’s multiplayer will evolve over the coming months, but my hopes are high for having hundreds of more teammates come this holiday season. If you’re curious as to whether or not Killzone’s multiplayer merits the purchase of a PS4 I would say this: If you’re new to the Killzone multiplayer experience then it’s definitely worth a bit of your time; if you’re a seasoned warzone veteran who’s contemplating the leap to the next generation, Shadow Fall would be a welcome addition to your collection but not the sole reason to hop ship from your PlayStation 3.