Buttonmashing with Butterfield
A Killzone retrospective
by Ethan Butterfield
Hey, everyone! So, as of recently, I’ve been recovering from the Black Plague, which has given me a lot of time to reflect on my life—nah, as if. I mostly just played video games all day while my stomach went twelve rounds with the Muhammad Ali of sickness. During that time, I found myself replaying what is probably my favourite game of all time, the original Killzone for Playstation 2. A game that I’m pretty sure I could recite from start to finish, and isn’t that just a little bit sad? Another reason for the replay was because, at the time, I had also just finished Killzone: Shadow Fall for Playstation 4, and feeling some of that nostalgia wash over me, I just wanted to pick up the ol’ tried and true again. This being the case, I’ve decided to do a review comparing the two and in the end decide which is the better title.
The story in the Killzone games is ever-changing; in Killzone, it set the stage for you, the heroic I.S.A, to battle the evil Helghast army (it’s a sci-fi war game, bear with me here). To sum up for anyone who’s confused, the I.S.A are basically the people who think they’re doing the right thing and the Helghast are the people who are trying to retake their home from the I.S.A. So you’d be forgiven in thinking that the I.S.A are completely shitty people, because they are. Killzone blends the ideals of militarism and elitism so well that I still hold it as a benchmark for video game storytelling to this day. Killzone: Shadow Fall, on the other hand, has a very strong anti-war feel in its storytelling. It’s something you can really see throughout the game, especially when you pick up audio recordings of civilians from both the I.S.A and Helghast side saying they’re “tired of war” and “want to go home.” It makes it quite hard to even finish the game; when you get near the end, you just kind of feel drained by it all. Still, both are great stories coming from two great games.
“Does it look pretty?” This one’s a bit unfair as far as comparisons go, considering how much change there’s been in consoles over time. However, after replaying Killzone, I’m honestly shocked how good this game still looks after its release in 2004. Granted, this is the same year when Resident Evil 4 came out, so perhaps it was competition instead of actually pushing the envelope on graphical limits. Killzone: Shadow Fall, though? Well it was a launch title for the PS4 so, yeah, it’s not hard on the eyes. I was actually impressed to see that Shadow Fall wasn’t just another grey/dark grey looking shooter like Killzone. It uses colours like green and orange to its advantage quite well, making the environment pop that extra bit more, which is really nice to see.
Gameplay? Well I’ll have to give it to Shadow Fall for this one. Not to de-value Killzone by any means, but the gameplay and controls haven’t really held up at that well after twelve years. For example, when I was replaying, it honestly took me a good while before I could use the camera with any kind of skill. Shadow Fall doesn’t escape unscathed, though. The only complaint being that the new touchpad button on the PS4 is pretty much the new directional pad and that does get a bit confusing at times. I kept jumping off ledges when I needed to activate the grappling hook. I’m good at gaming, I swear!
So who wins out? Well as much as I love Killzone, I gotta give this one to Shadow Fall. Of course, if it would’ve gone up against Killzone 2 or 3, then it would’ve been a different story. Even though it lost, Killzone will still hold a special place in my heart. Join me next week where I bash Ride to Hell: Retribution for shits and giggles! Until next time, Buttonmashers!