Killzone: Shadow Fall Game Poster Image

Killzone: Shadow Fall



Visually striking but very violent first-person shooter.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.

Not applicable

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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:PlayStation 4
Subjects:Social Studies: power structures
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Available online?Available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:November 15, 2013
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language

This review of Killzone: Shadow Fall was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • For sci-fi fans it's fun and physical but inconsistent.
  • A refreshingly different take on first-person action.
  • Uneven shooter blends tower defense tactics and fast action.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 realistic guns and bullets also if your worried about other people swearing though voice chat you can mute everyone before youve even joined a match.
What other families should know
Too much violence
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, since it was rated M. But boy was i wrong! Now, don't read me wrong, I am not saying that violence is okay, or swearing for that matter. All I am trying to say is that this game was actually fairly appropriate once I boiled it down. Now there is definitely some violence, but all that much. There is definitely some swearing, but it wasn't very often, and wasn't worse than your average PG-13 movie. My son was very delighted to see that I finally let him play an M rated game, and so I was happy because he was happy. God Bless! John 3:16 For God so loved the earth that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes him him shall not perish, but have ever lasting life!
Teen, 17 years old Written bykenwi November 18, 2013

Very too violent... not good for kids!

Really seriously...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?