How Well Does Killzone Shadow Fall Hold Up in 2021?

Some games transcend time and can be played years after they first launched, still holding up relatively well.

Killzone: Shadow Fall holds up well visually in 2021, the rest, however, is mediocre in comparison.
Killzone: Shadow Fall holds up well visually in 2021, the rest, however, is mediocre in comparison.

Many classic JRPG games, for example, have aged rather well. But if that's the case, then the opposite is true too. Some games are good when they first launch. Yet, at the same time, they can feel and look much older than they should, even if you're only replaying them just a couple of years later.

Guerilla Games' Killzone: Shadow Fall is a good example of such a game.

While the game is visually stunning even by today's standards, many of its flaws back then have only been amplified, especially when you consider what Guerilla Games were capable of previously and what they have released since.

Scroll down below and join us as we try to play Killzone: Shadow Fall in 2021.

What Is Killzone Shadow Fall?

As a first-person shooter, Killzone: Shadow Fall leaned heavily towards a slower pace and stealth.
As a first-person shooter, Killzone: Shadow Fall leaned heavily towards a slower pace and stealth.

Killzone: Shadow Fall was one of the launch titles offered for the PlayStation 4. It was released alongside Sony's eighth-generation console in November 2013 and went on to become the first PlayStation 4 game to sell more than a million units.

To date, it remains one of the best-selling PS4 titles and, by all metrics, should have stood up well against the test of time.

Except, it didn't.

Make no mistake. Killzone: Shadow Fall was a worthy sequel that continued the long-standing galactic war between the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) and the Helghan Empire.

It was set in the planet Vekta thirty years after the events of Killzone 3 and introduced us to the Shadow Marshal known as Lucas Kellan, who, unlike the previous protagonists, took a more careful and stealthy approach to taking out enemies.

Killzone: Shadow Fall's approach to the story also felt more grounded and less campy. Sure, the stakes are still high. However, the game, on more than one occasion, does leave you questioning what it is that you're actually doing and if it's really the right thing to do.

Whereas the previous Killzone titles had you believing that the Helghast was the bad guys, by the end of Killzone: Shadow Fall, you would have most likely concluded that there really aren't any winners and losers here.

Unfortunately, while Guerilla Games did nail the storytelling aspect of Killzone: Shadow Fall, everything else fell short.

Where Killzone Shadow Fall Ultimately Failed

Killzone: Shadow Fall's story wasn't groundbreaking by any means, but it was interesting and compelling enough to have you interested for the course of an entire playthrough.

The graphics too were amazing, which shouldn't really come off as a surprise.

The "Decima" engine, a proprietary in-house gaming engine that was only named because Guerilla Games got offers from other studios that wanted to use it for their games, created what was essentially a showcase of what the PlayStation 4 could do at the time.

Even today, and especially when played on the PlayStation 4 Pro or PlayStation 5, Killzone: Shadow Fall's open and wide world looks amazing.

Where the game fell short though was probably everything else.

A good story might compel players to stay to see it to the end, but bad gameplay will not make them want to give a game another playthrough. Unfortunately, Killzone: Shadow Fall felt clunky compared to the older Killzone titles.

Whereas previous Killzone games had you jumping and sliding around while reloading, or at least have smooth animations that won't get you killed as you waited to finish reloading, Killzone: Shadow Fall had long animation times that ultimately bogged down the pace of the game.

Perhaps this was intentional. The shift to more stealth-oriented gameplay warranted a more methodical approach.

However, that would've been understanding if the clunkiness did not extend to the multiplayer experience. This did not go well especially considering that it retained the classic Killzone class system with more customizations to boot. As such, players found themselves somewhat dying spontaneously because it took them too long to do what they wanted.

It also certainly didn't help that the game's multiplayer maps lacked the gorgeous wide-open spaces that the campaign had featured so heavily.

Is Killzone: Shadow Fall Still Worth Playing in 2021?

If it's any consolation, the failure of Killzone: Shadow Fall might have what led Guerilla Games to work on Horizon: Zero Dawn and its sequel.
If it's any consolation, the failure of Killzone: Shadow Fall might have what led Guerilla Games to work on Horizon: Zero Dawn and its sequel.

In a way, Killzone: Shadow Fall felt like Crysis 2 and 3.

We say that because they aren't necessarily bad games. Crysis 2 and 3 were good shooters. They also sold relatively well. However, when compared to the technical marvel that the first Crysis game was and the innovative gameplay that it featured, both felt rather short.

Killzone: Shadow Fall falls into somewhat that same category.

The first three Killzone games were considered one of the best shooters of its time. Each game improved on the previous one in every way possible. However, Killzone: Shadow Fall felt like a step backward in every way except for visuals.

True, Killzone: Shadow Fall tried to put a new spin into the story. It made it more gray instead of black and white. It also switched up the gameplay a bit and favored stealth more. Meanwhile, the graphics still look beautiful in 2021. But, those slight improvements don't make up for how it fell short in the areas that really mattered.

What made matters even worse was that Guerilla Games locked the online co-op 4-player survival mode behind a paywall in the form of a Season Pass.

But, to answer the question, yes, the game is worth playing.

The only problem is we don't think that it's worth paying for it, especially when Guerilla Games' next title, Horizon: Zero Dawn, is available for free for everyone on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 ,as part of the Play at Home 2021 initiative.

What’s Next for the Killzone Franchise?

There's no word yet if we're going to see a new Killzone title. However, all signs point to that being unlikely.

Guerilla Games is currently busy working on Horizon Forbidden West. This huge undertaking should take up most of their time this year. Not to mention, they'll have to devote a lot of time working on DLCs and expansions for the game as well. Plus, there's an unconfirmed but expected PC port of Horizon Forbidden West as well.

Considering Guerilla Games seems invested in going the single-player route and multiplayer was one of the key aspects of the Killzone franchise, it might be a while before we see them or any other developer try their hands on a seventh Killzone game.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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