Killzone: Shadow Fall

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Killzone: Shadow Fall Game Poster Image
Visually striking but very violent first-person shooter.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

While elements of Killzone: Shadow Fall focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive Messages

The game's sci-fi story, which sees two cultures separated by a wall at odds with one another while trying to cling to an uneasy truce, serves as an metaphor for a variety of real-world conflicts. However, sensationalistic, bloody, military combat is the game's reason for being and the mechanism through which it entertains.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The lead character, an elite military soldier, has personal reasons for hating his enemies: his father was murdered by them. However, he's clearly a moral man and eventually suffers a crisis of conscience, which leads him to fight for peace. That said, his only method of achieving it involves killing lots and lots of soldiers.

Ease of Play

Fairly standard first-person controls apply, though players will need to grow accustomed to the PlayStation 4's new controller, the novel touchpad of which is used in the heat of combat to select modes for a companion drone. It's a bit tricky. No fights in the game are particularly hard, but difficulty can be lowered in the main menu before you start a game.

Violence

This is a visceral, sci-fi, first-person shooter that pits players in frenetic gunfights against human opponents. Weapons include pistols, rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, drones, and other realistic-looking military equipment. Dark-red blood splashes with every hit and coats environment surfaces. Civilians may be killed by the player, though they are never targets. Players snap enemies' necks in close-quarters combat, and one scene involves the player's character being repeatedly tortured, screaming loudly, with an electric prod before blacking out.

Sex
Language

Spoken dialogue includes infrequent occurrences of the words "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Killzone: Shadow Fall is an M-rated, futuristic, sci-fi shooter with a constant stream of gritty, bloody gunfights. Characters frequently die screaming in pain, and one scene depicts brutal torture via an electric prod. The story, which acts as a parable for current conflicts in our own world, features a protagonist who's torn over being loyal to his commander and trying to achieve peace between warring peoples. He's a good man who ultimately follows his conscience, but he relies heavily on violence to accomplish his objectives. Also, be aware that this game includes some pretty strong, if infrequent, language.

User Reviews

Parent of a 12 year old Written byGamer999 December 13, 2013

multiplayer is fine for kids older than 12

the singleplayer is okay other than some bad language however if you child wants this game you could get it for the multiplayer because of lack of swears and re... Continue reading
Parent of a 16 year old Written byChristian Parent May 15, 2014

A review from a stereotypical homeschool parent

So, to begin with, this game is very beautiful, and visually striking. Now this game for me was very enjoyable, but I was iffy about letting my kid play it, si... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bykenwi November 18, 2013
Teen, 16 years old Written bywillman72 November 28, 2013

brutal melee

this games shooting is basically call of duty ghosts or previous killzone title the only problem for this game is melee killing using hands or knife ends in br... Continue reading

What's it about?

The latest entry in Guerrilla Games' ongoing series of sci-fi first-person shooters, KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL is one of the signature launch games for PlayStation 4. In a universe set mostly within the capital city of the planet Vekta, players take on the role of an elite Shadow Marshal assigned to deal with threats originating from the Helghast, a culture that was allowed to settle on the planet after Vektans destroyed its home world. There is an uneasy truce, punctuated by terrorist attacks and covert operations carried out by both sides. Some missions also take place off-planet in and around giant ships, and one even sees players exploring the ruins of the Helghast home world. Things come to a head when the game's hero sees the people who are suffering most in the conflict -- civilians -- and meets a Helghast woman who tries to convince him that the coming war between their peoples can and must be averted. Outside the story mode, players can engage in competitive online multiplayer, exploring game types ranging from death matches to more objective-oriented team play.

Is it any good?

Killzone: Shadow Fall does what any exclusive game for a new console should: It shows off the hardware's capabilities. It's undeniably spectacular, filled with stunning sci-fi panoramas both on the surface of planets and in outer space. It also casts a spotlight on Sony's new controller by playing audiologs found in the game through its embedded speaker and giving players a chance to use its touchpad to select various modes for the drone that follows the game's hero everywhere he goes.

The game itself, however, is only average. The drone -- which can shoot out zip lines, attack enemies, stun them, and spawn an energy shield on command -- creates some interesting play scenarios, but everything else, from weapons to enemies, feels pretty typical for the genre. There are even a few frustrating problems, like an objective marker that players must manually refresh to keep active on-screen and a frustrating freefall mission with stubbornly nonintuitive controls. Killzone: Shadow Fall isn't a bad game, and some may even get hooked on its entertaining multiplayer mode for a while. Still, there's little to keep most players coming back once they've had their fill of its impressive visual display.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Under what, if any, circumstances is violence appropriate within storytelling media and for what sort of audiences? 

  • Families also can discuss the ability of games to serve as allegories for real-world conflicts. Can a game centered on player-perpetrated violence say something meaningful about antagonistic societies struggling to achieve peace?

Game details

For kids who love action and adventure games

Our editors recommend

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