Killzone’s debut on the PS4 is the best in the series to date, writes John Walshe.

Welcome to the future. The year is 2370, and fires have reduced the planet of Helghan to a lifeless rock, with the result that the warlike Helghast are weirdly given half of Vekta, their former enemy’s home planet. An uneasy truce prevails; indeed, thousands of Vektans are forced to move from their homes to make way for the Helghan settlers.

The game begins as two of those leaving their home, pre-teen Lucas Kellan and his father Michael, find themselves embroiled in a nightmarish trip through a Blade Runner-esque futuristic city as they bid to cross safely to Vektan territory.

Their violence-filled flight leaves lasting scars with Lucas, who becomes the youngest cadet to be admitted to Shadow Fall, the SAS of the Vektans, and so (following a cinematic montage), two decades later he finds himself regularly behind enemy lines, in what is essentially a Cold War between the two nations.

The Helghast and the Vektans are separated by an enormous wall, think Game of Thrones but with spaceships and robots thrown in, and our hero is frequently on the wrong side of it, with only his wits and his OWL, a flying droid who can help to shield or attack enemies, for company as he bids to outwit Lady Visari and her legions of heavily armed Helghan soldiers. This usually involves shooting said Helghast before they have the chance to alert their leaders to his presence, with an impressive variety of weaponry on offer, including some pretty devastating sniper rifles.

Visually stunning, Shadow Fall is also the most engaging Killzone game to date, as it sucks you bodily into its lengthy missions until you emerge at the far side, stirred, shaken and adrenaline pumping. A visceral thrill.

Platform: PS4

Publisher: SCEE

Age Rating: 18

Score: 4/5

John Walshe