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Killzone, one of the longer running next gen console exclusives for the PlayStation, has finally re-established themselves within the gaming community. The 2011 release of Killzone 3 was considered to be one of the lowest points in the franchises brief history and many wondered if they would be able to find themselves back on solid ground with their fans. Enter 2013, the PS4, and the release of Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Killzone: Shadow Fall is a launch day title for the PS4 that seeks to re-establish itself as a force in the genre. Developer Guerrilla Games has taken a hint from other successful shooter franchises in order to find itself a new and refreshed identity. The result is an amalgam of console favorites like Call of Duty and Halo. Shadow Fall is a new experience, brighter than previous games, and occurring well after the events of Killzone 3. This new setting has allowed the developers to turn away from the dark and gritty environments of the last game and instead to expand upon the luscious more vibrant settings that are now available outside of the war.

Outside of graphic and environmental changes the gameplay has been tweaked slightly as well. Killzone no longer feels heavy handed, with the controls feeling lighter to ones touch and more responsive. Shadow Fall feels quick in comparison to prior Killzone entries, which begs the question of what took so long?

The game starts with traditional linear tutorial development and then lets you out at the end to explore the game. Shadow Fall is marked by the heavy German influence with its Cold War tensions prevalent throughout. A large will divides the two long warring nations and tension is ratcheted up in every single encounter. This change will catch many long time players off guard. There are no longer constant gunfights and gigantic and expansive battle fields. Now the game lends itself to quieter and more introspective missions. A stealth component is more prevalent with the addition of stealth based kills.

The story itself is nothing to write home about, a muddled homage to better science fiction concepts, but the world in which it takes place is diverse enough to allow for the acceptance. If you find yourself quirking an eyebrow at a storyline progression just put it to the back of your mind and enjoy the view. Perhaps to make up for the lackluster story, Shadow Fall features one of the better protagonists in the series: Marshal Lucas Kellen. Lucas Kellen is one of those rare killing machines that also is in touch with his feelings and emotes on more levels than just kicking tail. The voice acting as a whole is top notch, as well, and many of the characters you meet along the way are exceptional in how interesting they are.

So while Shadow Fall is not a masterpiece by any sense of the word, it is definitely an improvement on past Killzone titles. The game plays well and is worth a shot.