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Eurogamer Expo 2013: Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer hands-on

Eurogamer Expo 2013Killzone

Sony’s popularity and market dominance in Europe may have taken a knock of confidence during this generation but the overwhelming queues at Eurogamer Expo 2013 showed this could be back on track (as well as UK pre-order figures being “a big chunk” of PS4’s demand). It was now time to get some hands-on with the exclusive first-person shooter flagship launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall.

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“Three class types to customise and select from”The demo did not get off to the best of starts. With signs of crashes before our turn, error messages began to appear as the match launched and conclusively all of the machines were rebooted in sync. With the technical hiccups anatomised and resolved – and a brief peak at the PS4 dashboard – we were in.

The Dualshock 4’s superiority over its predecessor was unmistakable. It sat snugly in my hands, the analogue sticks accurately placed and triggers satisfying. The best controllers are the ones you don’t notice and, during my time with it, the Dualshock 4 certainly strolled into that category without fault. It’s an important aside to make when using the controller for the first time in a genre that requires responsive input to stay alive.

In-game there were three class types to customise and select from, each with unique weaponry, explosives and abilities before joining the battle, and which could be swapped out during each respawn too. The support class allowed for the use of a shotgun called ‘Pulveriser’; an easy decision to make. The title of the weapon was apt too – slow firing but powerful. Its reloading was awkward to become accustom to due to its sluggish nature and accuracy of the first and only shot in the barrel was vital.

The warzone battle we were deployed into placed two antipathetic teams against each other. Rather than static objectives, the main goal would change every three minutes to offer modest variation to play within a single round on the same map (which itself did not dynamically transform). At first we had to defend a communications station whilst simultaneously destroying the enemy’s. Running into battle without an ounce of teamwork my comrades fell and I soon joined them. We quickly lost the first mission.

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“No adrenaline, no raw energy, no emotional bond or hook”Once that was failed a new objective was dictated to take control of three priority points signalled on the map. Here we gained ground and began clawing back the points we’d need to become victorious. These objectives weren’t groundbreaking but the mix and match of them within a solitary seamless battle was neat. The map this took place on was tightly wound and several areas looked identical on a first playthrough, leaving it easy to become misplaced.

Aesthetically the design of this battleground had little to speak of outside of some occasionally surprising ambient lighting. Running through an underground tunnel to turn a corner and have a spotlight’s beam of white light trumpet down upon you is beauteous in that initial moment, captured like a rabbit in headlights. There did appear to be an over wash of motion blurring coating all the textures bar the main weapon, which remained immune to most lighting effects, when in movement.

This was confirmed when the machine next to mine froze and the blurring could be seen on the static screen. The technical shine many will come here expecting at launch will have been saved for the single player campaign. It’s not unusual for multiplayer to take a hit in its graphical prowess to keep things running smooth. Here the focus was on maintaining a constant frame rate which did visibly dip at times.

Visual dominance will struggle to stand on its own when the mechanics felt derivative and plain. In a sea of first-person shooters Killzone did nothing to elevate itself. Whereas Titanfall had earlier given me a rush akin to picking up Call of Duty 4 for the first time, as I never once thought “it’s just another FPS” whilst playing it, this did feel like just another FPS from the get go. It isn’t another modern military shooter and that’s a good start, for sure, but there was no adrenaline, no raw energy, no emotional bond or hook. It was confidentially constructed from a technical standpoint but that magic spark which prodigious videogames can conjure like no other medium was non-existent.

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As the hands-on came to an end we put our pads down and walked away. The multiplayer of Killzone: Shadow Fall left me cold. It wasn’t a bad game but my emotions before, during and after were the same. A sense of indifference was all that remained.

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

  1. TheOne

    29th September 2013

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    Seems you like COD and Titanfall. No thinking lockon shooters which require little skill.

    I’m guessing you struggled with KZSF, and you probably never liked any of the killzone series.

    It’s either your thing or it’s not. Personally for me i hate COD, nearly as much as i hate GTA games. Just common place and overrated.

    New i.p’s are seriously needed in the gaming world and while KZSF isn’t a new i’p. It’s a new take on the series.

    Not quite sure what you mean graphically. I’ve played the game and it destroyed Titanfall by a fair amount.

    I do worry for xbox owners though, the GPU with 13.1 gigapixels and only 3 times faster then the 360 will struggle hard this gen. It’ll be sitting next to the wii u.

  2. ShowanW

    29th September 2013

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    @TheOne… This article is about KZ:SF… What does Xbox have to do with it?… Your gonna drag in Xbox because the OP, felt it was missing that IT factor…

    Your post is what’s wrong with gaming…

  3. Silverwolf07

    29th September 2013

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    I agree with post number 1. This article is a one sided input only because this person doesn’t have good adapting skills to play a FPS that actually take skills to play unlike COD and Titan falls. And KZSF destroys Titan Falls in terms of Graphic’s. IGN impression on KZSF was much better than this and IGN is usually the ones to shit on KZ and they said KZSF was awesome and made them a believer.

  4. Xis That Kid

    29th September 2013

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    I agree with TheOne,

    It seemed like this guy had a predetermined mind set onto playing maybe not all negative but doesn’t have relationship with the franchise or many games outside of the norm of mainstayers.

    I liked the review none the less but I want more info and hopefully won’t be bias. It is true the article didn’t have to mention Titanfall at all in this I understand the reference but any good review doesn’t necessarily need familiarity to get you point across especially in a sensitive area of game competition and on top of one direct rival exclusive shooter vs exclusive shooter. This guy knows what he was doing in this article although subtle but still provoking.

  5. Silverwolf07

    29th September 2013

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    Well said Xis

  6. mikee

    29th September 2013

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    @ ShowanW. So is your comment ! Sounds like somebody touched a nerve…
    You must be the xBoner defender, ‘TheOne’ said he tried both and thought KZ: SF was much better, thats his opinion.
    The details for both consoles are already released and the xBoner is weaker no matter how many times you look at it, nobody cares if you have been a 360 owner so as to side with them.
    Call of Duty is the most unprofessional broken game ever to be released without anyone from Activision even fixing their older games e.g. After December 2012 when all the complaints about the game in terms of lag hit the media, they gave us a reply about how to fix your connection problems. The trouble is…..
    IT NEVER WORKED.
    Have they been questioned since ? NO ! Maybe they paid their way out of it. Even their poor excuses saying ‘we just dont know how to get dedicated servers on a PS4’.
    I know why they can’t do it, they just can’t be arsed & don’t give a shit ‘cus their game make over a billion doll-hairs a year.
    Its funny how BF3 managed to get dedicated servers & here I’m talking about PS3. CoD games will never be fair or competitive… if you watch every CoD competition on Xbox with the so- called ‘pro’s’ you’ll see that whoever is on screen dies first. Every year is the same and those competitions are connected with a LAN. Vahn even admitted it in the day 2 reveal video for Black Ops 2, he said it to one of the show presenters but nobody mentioned it as everybody was brainwashed into the ‘pick 10’ announcement and new features.

    I know the spectator part is true ‘cus I used to do the exact same thing in Unreal Tournement 2004 on PC, I would spec and tell the players who would die next but obviously I would need to spectate a person that was about to run into an enemy. I even used to joke about, saying I was hacking the game and deliberately succeeding to kill the person I would spectate. If there wasn’t a problem with the p2p servers then why would they be changing them ? Good luck to anyone buying Ghosts, forecast: lag

  7. C

    30th September 2013

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    After reading this article it left me feeling cold and it didn’t hook me into it at all. Not that it was a bad article it just didn’t have that spark.

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