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Killzone: Shadow Fall

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Killzone: Shadow Fall
Killzone sf
Developer(s)
US Date Released
November 15, 2013
UK Date Released
November 29, 2013
Genre:
First Person Shooter
Game modes:
Single player, multiplayer
ESRB rating:
Mature (M)
Platform(s):
Playstation 4
Media:
BLU-RAY
"What will you sacrifice for peace?"
—Tagline

Killzone: Shadow Fall is the fourth game in the main series and the sixth in the overall series (including Liberation and Mercenary). It was a PlayStation 4 exclusive as well as a launch title.

Setting

Set approximately two to three decades after the events of Killzone 3, the once-warring Vektan ISA and Helghast have entered into an uneasy coexistence on planet Vekta.

The Helghast people on Vekta are survivors of the devastation of Helghan during the Second Extrasolar War, their home world being irrevocably damaged when the maniacal Jorhan Stahl attempted to use an advanced Helghast space flagship stocked with irradiated petrusite missiles to wipe out Earth's population. Stahl's flagship was instead intercepted and destroyed by ISA-commandeered strike fighters mere moments before it could head to Earth, with its lethal petrusite payload detonating over Helghan instead, in a giant green wave. The resulting devastation killed a billion Helghast and left Helghan largely uninhabitable in an event called the Terracide .

Following this a truce was called and the war ended. The remaining Helghast were relocated to Vekta were they were given half the planet. Vektan and Helghast cities and communities are separated by towering walls, their people living starkly contrasting lives, with tensions constantly high in areas bordering the walls.

The game's events follow Lucas Kellan, a VSA Shadow Marshal tasked with keeping the peace between the two sides, and protecting his people from any threat the Helghast may cause, including terrorist attacks performed by the Black Hand.

Story

Chapter 1: The Father

The game begins several years after the construction of The Wall, during the forced relocation of Vektans out of New Helghan. Michael Kellen and his young son, Lucas, attempt to sneak through New Helghan to The Wall, avoiding encounters with Helghast. Along the way, they meet Thomas Sinclair, a Shadow Marshal, who aids them in making it through to safety. Just as the group makes it to The Wall, Helghast forces spot them and kill Michael, much to Lucas' horror. After Sinclair dispatches the remaining forces, he promises Lucas that he will look after him. A brief cutscene plays, showing Lucas rising through the ranks of the Shadow Marshal Academy, eventually becoming Sinclair's right-hand man.

Chapter 2: The Shadow

In 2390 (around 30 years after the events of Killzone 3), tensions between the Vektans and Helghast have reached a boiling point. Kellen, who let himself be captured by the Helghast as part of an investigation, is being brought across The Wall as part of a prisoner exchange for a Helghast agent. Along the way, Anton Saric, head of New Helghan's security forces and one of Kellen's captors, expresses his disgust towards the Vektans, believing it to be an insult to have to share a planet with the people who destroyed Helghan. As the two forces meet for the exchange, a random shot is heard, immediately followed by a Helghast solider dropping dead. In the confusion, the Helghast agent grabs a weapon and points it at Kellen, but instead of killing him, the agent runs towards the Helghan side of The Wall, giving Kellen enough time to make to his side. Soon after his return, Kellen is ordered to return to the Helghan side of The Wall in order to wipe out all traces of another VSA operation there. Rescuing a downed VSA squad in the area and recovering classified information, Kellen makes a bold escape out of the area, destroying a massive statue of Scolar Visari in the process.

Chapter 3: The Doctor

Using the recovered data, Sinclair sends Kellen to the ISA Cassandra, a "black-site" bio-tech research station. A video report of an "infection" was received, and the current lack of communications indicates that the crew is likely dead. Sinclair informs Kellen that Helghast encryption was discovered in the video file, leading the VSA to believe that the head scientist on the Cassandra, Dr. Hillary Massar, may be trying to defect. Kellen is ordered to find Massar, take her into custody, and destroy the station by piloting it into the sun. Once at the station, Kellen finds evidence of experimentation on Helghast subjects, with the subjects, and the Cassandra crew, in various states of decomposition, as the result of a bio-tech weapon designed by Massar. After powering up the station's reactor and setting course for the star, Kellen sees security footage of Massar in the custody of Echo, the Helghast operative from the prisoner exchange, and heads for the labs. There, he encounters Echo, who is disgusted with Massar and Kellen after seeing the result of the experiments. After a brief fight, Echo escapes with Massar in tow. After fighting through waves of Helghast, Kellen makes it off the station just as it falls in to the star. Later, Massar deduces Echo's half-breed origins (half-Vektan, half-Helghast), and informs Echo that "you're all going to die."

Chapter 4: The Patriot

Kellen returns to Vekta City. Upon arriving at VSA headquarters, a massive explosion rips through the building, killing several civilians and soldiers and knocking Kellen unconscious. When he comes to, he witnesses Helghast forces assaulting the building. After fighting through multiple enemies, Kellen reactivates the buildings security protocols. Meeting up with Sinclair, the two proceed to fly out of the area, with Sinclair stating that he knew this could happen, as other attacks occur across the city. At that moment, a broadcast comes through from Vladko Tyran, leader of "The Black Hand" (a paramilitary terrorist group), where he claims responsibility for the attacks. At the same time, it is discovered that "Black Hand" forces have hijacked multiple trains to use as makeshift missiles at various points. After dispatching the Helghast on the trains, Kellen come to the last train to find it filled with explosives on a timer, preventing him from defusing them in time. Using a mini-gun, Kellen succeeds in shooting the train off of the rails, allowing the bombs to detonate safely. Soon after, Tyran's location is determined. Kellen leads an assault on his location, whilst rescuing multiple hostages. Tyran leads Kellen on a chase through the building, ultimately hijacking an ISA dropship. Hanging on to the ship via a rope, Kellen follows the dropship through Vekta City, but is forced off by Tyran, who escapes into New Helghan.

Chapter 5: The Helghast

As a result of the terrorism, all Helghast citizens residing on the Vektan side of The Wall are deported to New Helghan. Sinclair sends Kellen under-cover with the rest of the refugees in order to make contact with an undercover informant named Zeus in order to acquire Tyran's location. Zeus informs Kellen that Tyran is residing in the slums. Working his way through, Kellen is discovered by Tyran, and informs the Helghast forces and other civilians of his location, forcing him to go on the offensive. Eventually, Kellen finds Tyran, who is informing his superior, Jorhan Stahl (revealed to have survived the events of Killzone 3), of what has transpired. Stahl, noticing Kellen's presence, informs him that Massar's bio-tech weapon has been altered to target Vektans. After a brief knife fight with Tyran, Kellen is thrown out of Tyran's dwelling, watching it self-destruct, and presumably killing Tyran. Now critically wounded and unarmed, Kellen is cornered by Helghast forces. Sinclair (through the radio) tells Kellen that they will not leave him there to die.

Chapter 6: The Agent

Now in Helghast custody, Kellen is being interrogated and tortured by Anton Saric, head of the security forces in New Helghan, who taunts Kellen by stating that Vekta is weak and failing, but Kellen doesn't talk. Saric promptly leaves, while Kellen loses consciousness. When he comes to, he finds Echo standing above him. Asserting that she wishes Kellen no harm, Echo says that she seeks to end the war, and reiterates that the Helghast in general were not responsible for the terrorism in Vekta City. With Echo seeking to know who Tyran's contact was, Kellen informs her it is Stahl (to which she seems unsurprised), with Kellen reminding Echo that she gave Massar to him, and that her bio-tech weapon will kill Vektans and half-breeds alike, including Echo. Suddenly, Lady Visari arrives with armed guards. Visari scolds Echo for her rash actions, while Echo accuses her of being in league with Stahl (which Visari confirms). Echo then inadvertently reveals that Visari is her mother, of which Visari is clearly insulted by (a dossier obtained in the next level reveals that Echo's real name is Maya Visari). Visari orders her guards to take Echo someplace "safe", with Echo begging her to stop. As Saric re-enters the room, Visari contemplates the fact that the Vektans and the Helghast were once the same race, and that the Vektans are now "the enemy". As Visari leaves, she tells Saric to keep Kellen alive.

Sometime later, Kellen is awoken in his cell by an unfamiliar voice, telling him that he needs to escape. The unknown helper disables various pieces of security equipment in the underground prison and warns Kellen of approaching guards, while also taking out guards who catch site of Kellen, allowing him to remain undetected. When Kellen suddenly becomes cornered by guards, Echo drops down and dispatches them with ease, revealing herself as Kellen's helper. As they make their way to the surface, Kellen inquires about Echo's half-breed origins, and states that Visari is more interested in war. Echo replies that she would only be defending her home, and that no more innocent lives need to be taken. As they fight their way through the slums (with Echo providing sniper support), Kellen sees the results of the deportations of the Helghast, with numerous dead civilians lining the streets, and witnessing needless brutality from soldiers against other civilians. Later, Echo asks Kellen if he will tell the Vektans to stand down, given what he knows. Kellen states that Vekta wants justice rather than the truth, and that they blame the Helghast. Echo reminds Kellen that the Vektans have never had to face annihilation. Kellen and Echo make it to the security center. Fighting through numerous Helghast forces, the duo succeed in disabling the center. At this point, Kellen, having seen enough Helghan suffering, promises Echo that he will tell the Vektans to stand down. Riding an A-TAC assault drone controlled by Echo, Kellen makes it over The Wall and into VSA hands. Kellen demands to see Sinclair immediately.

Chapter 7: The Handler

Upon his return, Kellen informs Sinclair of the revelations he has received and tells him they must stand down. Sinclair is outraged that Kellen is siding with Echo, and informs him that there is no difference between "The Black Hand", Visari, Stahl, and all Helghast - in Sinclair's view, they all mean to destroy the Vektans. Despite his anger towards Kellen, Sinclair informs him that from the "Black Hand" intelligence they received, the VSA discovered massive mining spires in orbit over the planet Helghan. Kellen must infiltrate the main spire and find Massar and her weapon. Once at the spire, Kellen free-falls down the shaft towards the stations' mainframe and Massar's lab. After fighting his way through numerous soldiers, Kellen arrives at the laboratory, finding only Massar, who states that the weapon is now with Stahl, being prepped for its final test. Sinclair orders Kellen to take Massar to the secondary spire and join an ISA fleet waiting to retake the weapon. Kellen then protects her from security drones from the spire and meet with the ISA team sent to extract them, but are suddenly cornered by a large Helghast force. After an extended engagement, the Helghast begin to fall back. Just as the group prepares to leave, Echo arrives to complete her mission (killing Massar). Sinclair fervently orders Kellen to kill her, but Kellen refuses, instead ordering an ISA soldier holding Massar to stand down. When the soldier refuses to do so, Echo kills both the soldier and Massar. Sinclair then tells Kellen that his safety is no longer guaranteed, despite Kellen's defense of Echo's actions. Now alone, Kellen teams up with Echo, with both are following a dropship into Helghan's atmosphere using orbital divers.

Chapter 8: The Dead

As the duo descends over Helghan following the dropship, Kellen (and the player) witnesses the planetary effects of the Terracide: pockets of Petrusite have created gravitational shifts throughout the planet, causing massive portions of land (as well as the planet's core) to destabilize, resulting in a desolate and other-worldly landscape populated by empty, ruined buildings and wracked with constant earthquakes. Free-falling across the hellish world, and seeing that the dropship has crashed, Kellen makes landfall on top of a building on its side. Up ahead, he meets up with Echo, who says she did what needed to be done, and that Vekta cannot suffer the same fate as Helghan. Splitting up and using gravity wells to navigate the terrain, and destroying numerous Helghast security droids, Kellen and Echo meet near the crash site. There, the two discover that Tyran is still alive, and is held up in a base in the canyons. Echo tells Kellen that the weapon takes priority, and that it cannot be used under any circumstances. Kellen says that he hopes it will not come to that.

Chapter 9: The Destroyer

Kellen and Echo make their way into the canyon base. Upon entering, the duo discover a massive fleet of ships in dry-dock, revealing that Stahl has anticipated their arrival. Kellen tries to warn Sinclair, but gets no response. Making their way to a security control tower, Echo tries to learn the location of the weapon. As she does this, Kellen engages a massive Helghast force led by Tyran. Eventually, Tyran himself joins the battle, protected by a mobile shield generator, resulting in a long, climactic fight. Finally, with Tyran incapacitated, Echo demands to know how to stop the weapon. Tyran simply states that New Helghan is a fantasy, "...created by cowards and traitors," and that "The invasion will cost you everything". Echo says that Tyran will never know, and proceeds to execute him. At that moment, Kellen gets through to Sinclair, telling him that he can't win this battle. Sinclair is dismissive, believing that Kellen has lost his way due to Echo's influence, and says that the assault will proceed as planned. Kellen and Echo move towards Tyran's dropship, with Echo remarking that they are now both outcasts, and that it is not a bad thing to have in common during war.

As the dropship rises to the surface, Stahl's fleet rises as well. When they reach the surface, they witness the ISA beginning their assault on Stahl's base. Then, Stahl activates Massar's weapon, sending out a red radiation cloud from the base, engulfing all of the ISA ships which plummet down to the ground, while leaving the Helghast ships intact. As Echo suddenly loses control of the dropship, Kellen falls into the massive gravity well below Stahl's base, losing communications with Echo as well. Floating his way up, Kellen enters the base as the Helghast fleet prepares for the assault on Vekta. As Kellen reaches the war room of the base, he is greeted by numerous, heavily-armored Helghast soldiers, resulting in another lengthy engagement. When the soldiers are all finally killed, Kellen makes his way towards Stahl. Stahl gets on the intercom and congratulates Kellen for his determination in making it so far, and states that Vektans in general lack a belief that truly unites them, unlike the Helghast, and that killing him (Stahl) will only delay the inevitable. Finally, Kellen reaches Stahl himself, strapped to a life support system due to his advanced age (and presumably due to Petrusite exposure). Stahl claims that the Terracide happened because the weak had to be destroyed, and that it is Vekta's turn to share the same fate. Suddenly, a gunshot comes from behind Kellen, killing Stahl. In his surprise, Kellen turns around to find Sinclair, who then shoots him. Saddened that, of all people, Kellen would be one he lost trust in, Sinclair states that as long as the Helghast exist, Vekta will remain threatened. He also states that with the newly reacquired weapon, the threat can be ended forever. Sinclair then apologizes that he couldn't be the person to protect Kellen, and then kills him. The game cuts to the credits.

Chapter 10: The Savior (Mid-Credits Mission)

Cutting away from the credits, the player (now a Helghast operative) has made it into Vekta City. In the background, Sinclair is delivering a speech to the Vektans, calling for war against the Helghast. Fighting through scores of ISA and VSA personnel, the player finally comes to a perch overlooking the rebuilt VSA headquarters. The player lines up the shot, brandishing a sniper rifle, with Sinclair in the center of their cross-hairs. The player character whispers, "For Kellen..." in Echo's voice (revealing she survived), and pulls the trigger. The final shot of the campaign follows the sniper round as it travels towards Sinclair, with the screen cutting to black the instant before the round hits Sinclair, preventing a new war from beginning.


Multiplayer

The game's multiplayer lacks jetpacks or exoskeletons, in order to ensure that custom Warzone presets work on all maps.[1] 22 weapons are available.

There are now only three classes; Scout, Assault, and Support.[2] There are also ten multiplayer maps currently available, with more promised to be released over subsequent months for no additional cost.

A $20 online season pass is also available. It will contain a co-op expansion pack, three new map packs, and two additional multiplayer expansion packs. The wave-based co-op mode is a four-player game type set across four new cooperative levels, and featuring a unique leveling system and new unlocks. The trio of map packs, each of which introduces two new levels, will also be part of the cooperative survival mode. An OWL combat drone skin and unique multiplayer Spotlight move" are also included.[3]

Warzones

The multiplayer uses a system where you choose to play from different Warzones, created by the developers or the community. While basic ones are available, anyone can create their own with custom rules, putting the warzone up for anyone to view and join. As of now the options are fairly limited, mostly involving turning off or limiting aspects of the basic Warzone game mode.

Maps

Shadow Fall currently features ten multiplayer maps: The Divide, The Spire, The Park, The Station, The Wall, The Penthouse, The Factory, The Forest, The Remains, and The Slums. Future maps are planned for release as free DLC, the first two of which will be The Cruiser and The Hanger.[4]

Development

Killzone: Shadow Fall was announced at the PlayStation Meeting in February 2013, and will be a PlayStation 4 launch title.

Killzone Shadow Fall was seen, by Guerrilla Games, as an opportunity to revitalize the franchise, since it was established early in development that they would be working on a new platform. The main point during development was to give players more options on how to proceed, particularly during the single-player mode.[5] According to Guerrilla Games, the original size of Killzone Shadow Fall was 290GB because the game has no assets designed for lower spec systems.[6]

The demo of Killzone: Shadow Fall shown during PlayStation 4's announcement only used 4GB of memory – not the full 8GB GDDR5 RAM available to developers in the final hardware, Guerrilla has revealed. According to the studio, 3072MB (3GB) of PS4's 8GB were dedicated to video resources powering the demo, with 1,536MB used for system resources. A further 128MB were shared between the two.Of the 3GB reserved for video memory, 1,321 MB were used by non-streaming textures. According to Guerrilla, the demo featured 8200 physics objects, 500 particle systems and real-time reflections - which include "a lot of Guerrilla secret sauce".

Guerrilla's decision to stick with 4GB suggest that the developer may not have been aware of Sony's decision to include 8GB in final retail hardware – something Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray told VideoGamer.com had been kept secret from third-party developers until the console's announcement. "We were told [PS4] was 4GB originally," Gilray told us, "and we first knew it had 8GBs when Mark said at the event's stage, 'And it has 8GB of memory.' We'd had kits at that point for a good while."

Two actors were confirmed on July 9, 2013: Homeland star David Harewood will be playing Vektan Security Agency director Sinclair, and True Blood's Jamie Gray Hyder will be playing Echo, an intelligence operative for the Helghast.

Killzone Shadow Fall ended development and "went gold" on 21 October 2013.[7]

Release

The game was released on November 15, 2013 (North America) and November 29, 2013 (Europe) alongside the PlayStation 4's release. Many retailers released it several days early, along with most PS4 launch titles.

Reception and sales

It was met with average to good critical reception, with sites like Polygon giving it a 5/10 while sites like Destructoid rewarded it a 9/10. Many complaints involved the zero gravity sections of the campaign and the game's over-all lack of innovation for a next-gen launch title. GameZone's Matt Liebl gave Killzone: Shadow Fall a 7/10, stating "The PlayStation 4 represents the new generation of gaming, but it seems Guerilla Games may have been stuck in the past with Shadow Fall. There just aren't enough "next-gen" moments worthy of being the poster child for the PS4.'". Killzone: Shadow Fall received several awards after its release, including the 'Best PS4 Shooter' and 'Best PS4 Graphics' on IGN. It also received the People's Choice awards on both categories.

Killzone: Shadow Fall also proved to be a huge success, selling just shy of 800,000 copies as of December 25th, 2013. And as of January 5, it has sold over 1 million copies (The first next gen game to do so). As of March 2nd, it has sold over 2.1 million copies.

Trivia

  • By the end of the demo when it reveals the Helghast part of the City, the screens on some of the buildings shows a looping video of Scolar Visari from the first Killzone's intro cinematic.
  • The Helghast in Shadow Fall are now no longer exclusively sporting British accents, since recent gameplay footage shows that some now
    Dark trolls
    Dark Trolls poster.
    FortuAdded by Fortu
    have American accents.[8] It is possible that the developers realised that it would have been unrealistic that the Helghast who were exiled from Vekta couldn't all be British. 
  • In the first chapter, in Lucas Kellan's room there is a poster for "Dark Trolls" on the wall. This is a reference to "Dark Souls".

Screenshots

Trailers

References

  1. 2013-09-11, Killzone: Shadow Fall Removes Jetpacks, XP From Multiplayer. IGN, accessed on 2013-09-24
  2. 2013-10-07, Killzone: Shadow Fall’s Character Classes Explained. IGN, accessed on 2013-10-08
  3. 2013-09-24, Killzone: Shadow Fall Season Pass Features Co-op Expansions. IGN, accessed on 2013-09-24
  4. 2013-08-20, Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer DLC maps coming free of charge
  5. Template:Cite web
  6. Template:Cite web
  7. Template:Cite web
  8. 2013-10-18, Killzone Shadow Fall. Gametrailers, accessed on 2013-10-22

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