Hands On with Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

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Hands On with Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

Killzone: Shadow Fall

At a recent event in New York, I got my hands on Guerrilla Games’ upcoming PS4 launch title, Killzone: Shadow Fall. The game will feel instantly familiar to anyone who’s followed the long-running series, but there are enough new features and additions that even the most battle-worn Helghan veterans will want a primer before heading into battle.

The tools at your disposal in Shadow Fall are many: In addition to the requisite bullet-driven armaments, the new OWL drone gives you an enormous tactical advantage. Swipe up on DualShock 4‘s touchpad to set the OWL into attack mode, point your crosshairs at a space in front of an enemy and press L1 to deploy the drone, which both attacks its target head-on and serves as a distraction while you flank around the other side. The OWL is also incredibly useful when trying to keep track of one of the game’s teleporting enemies. Just follow the bullets.

Hands On with Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

The OWL has other uses, too. Swipe left on the touchpad to put the drone into stun mode, which will incapacitate foes and nearby electronics. Swipe downward for a drop-anywhere shield, creating last-minute cover from gunfire when things go south. Swipe right to turn your OWL into a zipline — especially useful for covering large amounts of ground quickly or escaping a tower you just planted some C4 on. The OWL can also hack security systems, ensuring your enemies can’t call in reinforcements in the middle of a fight.

Holding up on the directional pad sends out a pulse that scans for nearby enemies. This is a big help when you’re trying to quietly take out foes, but be careful: hold it for too long and the signal will become strong enough for enemies to notice, alerting them to your location (and likely ruining whatever plan you had in mind). One strategy I employed was to locate mid-range enemies while hidden behind a rock or tree, then attach a scope to my rifle (by pressing left on the d-pad) and take them out from afar with a charged shot. If I missed and things got hairy, I could quickly switch weapons, send out my trusty OWL drone, and switch to Plan B (shoot things and try not to get shot).

Killzone: Shadow Fall

From time you time, you might find yourself faced against odds that you aren’t quite ready for. Pressing down on DualShock 4’s d-pad will not only restore your health (using up one of your reserved med-kits), but gives you a shot to turn the tables by putting you into a slow-motion mode when looking down the scope of your gun. This effect lasts for just a few seconds, but is usually all you’ll need to get yourself out of a messy situation and back on your feet.

PS4’s enhanced hardware is beautifully showcased in Shadow Fall: each melee takedown gives you an up-close look at the finely crafted intricacies of enemies’ uniforms. Ropes dangle and sway from ledges, and guns are seemingly machined from real, tangible metal. I found myself constantly stopping to marvel at the little details, like an accurately rendered lens flare that swept across the screen when I panned the camera across a particularly gorgeous sunset. If a PS4 launch title already looks this good, I can’t wait to see what developers get out of the system throughout the course of the generation.

Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

DualShock 4 has earned quite a few kudos since E3, and in Shadow Fall those positive impressions are solidly reinforced. The longer, concave analog thumbsticks respond to the tiniest adjustments while the extended, textured handles made extended play sessions feel more comfortable. And the triggers… oh, the triggers. My index fingers felt like they were made to wrap around the lovingly redesigned L2 and R2 buttons, which are assigned to look down the scope of your gun and fire, respectively. Throw in the touchpad implementation discussed above, and Killzone: Shadow Fall is a perfect showcase title for PS4’s new controller.

Killzone: Shadow Fall makes a strong case for FPS titles on PS4, from the ultra-slick graphics to the impeccably implemented controls. You’d do well to keep an eye on this one if you’re considering your PS4 launch day options. Stay tuned to PS.Blog for more updates on the game, right up until its launch this holiday.

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10 Author Replies

  • Well, that trailer just def convinced me to add this to my pre-order list.

  • Never mind, turns out I already did. MUAHAHAH!

  • I love the killzone series and I’m only getting a ps4 for shadow fall, I do have one question, is this killzone 4 or is it not related to the story of 2 and 3 ?

  • “Pressing down on DualShock 4′s d-pad will not only restore your health (using up one of your reserved med-kits)”

    Please tell me this means health bars are back, thats the only thing GG need to get off my perfect KZ checklist.
    Secondary fire? Check. Brutal melee? Check. Classic Helghans? Check.
    Sliding mechanic? Uncheck. Health bar? ???

  • I’m concerned that being able to send the drone to attack enemies will make the game too easy. I feel like that game mechanic will make the game more accessible to a less-experienced audience, but it could seriously detract from the enjoyment of long-time fans of the series and genre. Can the drone’s attack mode be entirely disabled on the harder difficulty levels?

    • Justin Massongill

      I don’t know whether you’ll be able to disable it, but don’t worry about it doing your killing for you — it didn’t seem like its guns were very powerful. I found that it worked best as a distraction, rather than as a direct weapon. Send the drone out in front of an enemy to keep him busy, then run behind the guy and take him out.

  • I pre-ordered PS4 Killzone SF bundle and i can’t wait to dive into this game in the holidays

  • I guess no PS Move or 3D support than?

  • Now there’s a PS4 game box!

  • I’m excited to hear about the multiplayer, definitely the first game I’ll be picking up for the PS4

  • So I guess no move controller or Sharpshooter (move) on this. Killzone live Action!!!

    • Justin Massongill

      I haven’t heard anything about whether those will be supported here, but the demo I played was on DualShock 4.

  • That’s an interesting twist…
    ” L2 and R2 buttons, which are assigned to look down the scope of your gun and fire, respectively.”

    After years of using L1 & R1, this might take some getting used to. I’m not complaining, just making an observation :-)

  • Stoked for this! I just want to sink my hands into the DualShock 4 and the PS4.

  • I pre ordered since it was announced
    Any word if there is going to be a Collectors Edition for this game?

  • Got mine pre-ordered for day 1. Killzone and Battlefield at the same time == FPS OVERLOAD!!!

    QUESTION: Will there be online co-op campaign???

  • @5

    I think you’re missing that the drone is essentially no different than Rico killing baddies for you in Killzone 2 and 3. Only this time, you have control of his movements like in the stellar PSP title Killzone: Liberation. Despite you being perfectly able to sit back and let Rico take over, that game wasn’t that easy. You had to use your brain and think tactically to continue through it. Killzone: Shadow Fall looks pretty similar in that regard. Sure, you could probably let your OWL take on targets solo, but how long will it (and by extension you) survive without working together?

  • Will the old assault Helghast suit make a return? I know it’s 30 years later, but i love those.

  • Already reserved. Killzone is one of my favorite PS franchises

  • KZ2 and KZ3 had a sticky cover mechanic. Does Shadow Fall have a similar cover mechanic? And, what is the default button for crouch/cover? Thanks.

  • Will we be able to set custom controls to put the Aim and Fire buttons back on R1/L1?

    I will never play any shooter requiring R2/L2, I don’t play games that use those buttons at all most of the time, my fingers aren’t able to use those buttons.

    It’s why I never play shooters on the Xbox.

    So please make sure you still let us customize the controls so everyone can play this!

  • Nice to see they’re making use of the touchpad. Sounds like it feels intuitive.

    Now we just need some splitscreen and PS Move confirmation and I’ll be set!


    iv made so much research trying to know if killzone shadow fall is gonna have ps move support (cant get enough of shooters with motion controls)

    • Justin Massongill

      Don’t think anything’s been announced regarding that yet, but I’ll see if I can track down some more info.

  • Really not all that concerned with all the single player coverage. If the multiplayer is blank again like KZ3, I won’t be able to get the game.

  • I asked this in the post about the preorder bonuses, but got no response so will try it again here:

    “I would like to know if these (The Bonus DLC Items) are going to coming with the digital version of the game, not sure if we will be able to pre-order the digital version as the system won’t be out until release date but would hope these bonuses would be included for Day 1 Digital purchase!”

    I would appreciate an answer if possible as I definitely plan to pick this up day 1 and would prefer to go digital but would like to get the extras as well.

    This game looks great!

  • This should be on PS3 too.

  • any word on how this is translating to the Vita? I’m really looking forward to seeing how the complex controls translate over to that console.

  • I too would like move (sharpshooter) and 3d support.
    I find it infuriating Sony abandoned 3d for the most part after I paid through the nose for that 3dtv of theirs

    Especially since they lowered the price shortly after, by more than half!

  • the game look so lush and beautiful.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on that dualshock 4 and Killzone Shadow Fall. I’m glad I preordered my PS4.

  • I like the box art, hoping that the story is night and day in comparison to previous Killzone games.

  • Ah I pre ordered this game and paid it off a long with the ps4 day one edition fo watch dogs.. Can’t wait to pick up my order this holiday season! Wonder when it comes out?

  • This will be most excellent FPS getting this for sure. KZ series is one of the best!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amazing! Decisions, Decisions
    Killzone Shadow Fall
    Battlefield 4
    ACIV Black Flag
    Going to be a tough but fun Holiday season!

  • Will this be uploaded to PlayStation YouTube?

    I get nothing but a black screen here.

  • is there going to be a special edition of the game or just the standard?

  • Looks awesome can’t watch !

  • stop with the trailers, give me a release date. A RELEASE DATE!

  • Looks as if it has potential …..

  • Looks amazing. Already have this paid off… seriously, Sony, just give us a launch date already.

    And that box art is smexy! :D

  • Swwwwweeeeet !!! Xp

  • Pre-ordered Killzone: Shadow Fall when I pre-ordered my PS4. To be honest, this title is the ONLY reason I am getting a PS4 at launch. Feeling that the new Killzone might cut into a good chunk of my Dust 514 playtime. But then again it has been over 2 1/2 years since KZ3 and I am primed to wade back into that universe once more.

    Hoping to curb the withdrawls a bit with Killzone: Mercenary on Vita in a couple months. Signed up for the Beta. Fingers crosses.

    Never did try Killzone: Liberation on PSP. Curious if it has been ported to Vita yet for download?

  • can’t see the video on my vita :(

  • I’m open to change, but I like options, too. Hopefully we can reconfigure our controls to our liking. I really like using L1 to ‘aim down the sights’ and R1 as my primary ‘fire’ button in shooters.

    I look forward to seeing some multiplayer analysis.

    • Justin Massongill

      Not sure whether customizable controls will be an option, but DualShock 4’s triggers feel mighty fine. I was concerned about the change at first too, but after half an hour with it I’m a believer.



    STAHP with these crappy FPS!

  • Can we hope to see the playstation plus instant games for august soon?
    Also last year Europe got Red Dead Redemption, can we here ever hope to get this game to add to our instant game collection?

    • Justin Massongill

      No word on what the upcoming content will be yet, but keep an eye out for updates each Monday morning.

  • I like the graphics! I think it will be in the top 10

  • Please tell me there will be no input lag when aiming!

  • The trailer looked good. Unfortunately the actual play through of the forest section I’ve seen looked really boring and I wasn’t the only one to think that. The OWL and the wall hack ability remove all tension from the game. I don’t think the OWL is even destroyable. The Helghast AI didn’t look all that great either. Slow mo is a real immersion breaker and has no place in a FPS. A bit worried this is going to be a pretty game with little in the way of compelling gameplay or story.

  • Here’s a few things the PS4 needs to do.

    From the base. We need to have our own character customization that will play across all games.
    Bring as much if not more customization than the characters in PS Home, just the character as your personal avatar.
    Xbox One will be doing this as one of the basic features. It’ll scan your face in 3D and your body and place your character in the game. So if we can have our own characters as well, that’d be awesome.
    If you can make the PS Eye to have your shape & body, not just the lame face in Reality Fighter.
    Maybe you can make the player turn the camera around to get the shape of the face, but that can be updated later on.

    The important thing is the customizable character.

    Another cool thing, whenever you buy games, you can customize your avatar with clothes/items of the games, like in PS Home. Perharps even custom appartments included as a redeemable code voucher. People may want to purchase new to get those iems.

  • I hope you the characters finally talk in MP.

  • That’s one of the features that comes as basic on the Xbox One, it should be the same for the PS4.

    That, we are already aware of the Cloud of the Xbox One, and how it wanted to restrict you in every possible way.
    They do have a neet feature that enhances the graphics online on their cloud by having the server enhance the graphics instead of the console.
    That’s something NVIDIA were the first to initiate. Maybe you can get those contacts and make it work?
    It’s not like it’s that big of a deal, the PS4 will be much more powerful either way. And the maintenance cost of such servers could be costly, but that’s yet to be seen.
    It’s something you can look into.

    I do have several ideas that would enhance the PSN.
    For intance, you’ll have your facebook/avatar on your profile.
    Well, place your PSN character in that same section.
    It’s nothing new, we already have the PS Home character, but it’s a start.

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