Here's one reason to get excited about the PS4
One of the titles that Sony's putting on a pedestal for the PlayStation 4 launch is Killzone: Shadow Fall. With good reason too. Shadow Fall is shaping up to be the type of game that is actually worthy of ushering in a new generation of consoles. Something that makes us say "Oh, this where videogames are going"".
The most immediate impact that Shadow Fall makes is with its graphics. All the hardware that's packed into a PS4 makes for a hell of a visual experience. The game is simply stunningly beautiful in the one outdoor environment that I was able to play. It was hard not to sit still at moments to take in the skyline, water, and cliffsides.
Fortunately, the excellent graphics are backed by what appears to be an enticing game design. It seems that every level will be open-ended, with different objectives scattered throughout. This leaves the player in the position of being able to methodically approach levels as they choose. However, it's not immediately clear whether these objectives will always be clearly laid out, or if it will require familiarization with the level to know where to go.
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A host of gadgets are available at all times to help make the conquest a bit easier. The likes of a zip line and shield are blended into a menu that overlays the middle of the screen. This is where the game's (optional) TouchPad integration comes into play. When you're properly lined-up to use the gadget that you want, you can swipe in the assigned direction to use it.
The only problem? It's completely shoehorned in. By the time you're in the right position to use the TouchPad, all you need to do is hit L1. Not only is using the TouchPad more time consuming, but it's pretty awkward. Maybe that will improve as users are increasingly familiar with the console, but it feels really pointless right now. One of the developers told me that there would be an additional use during multiplayer, but couldn't say what it was.
The other takeaway from the demo was that it was fairly difficult. A run-and-gun approach certainly won't suffice. Particular care needs to be taken to constantly minimize the number of enemies that show up, and to dispose of them while utilizing the environments as best as possible. It's nice that it's not just another mindless shooter.
My approximately 30-minute demo with Killzone: Shadow Fall couldn't have gone any better. It looks like it's going to be a serious launch title that makes people want to upgrade their consoles. Hopefully the finished product is as solid as the demo segment. If so, it'll be a great indication of things to come.