Review

Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept Review

  • Game release: November 15, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PS4

Commonplace co-op.

What's your favorite kind of co-op shooter? The ultra-competitive, team-based thrills of a Battlefield Domination match? The wave-based panic of Gears of War's Horde mode? Or maybe you're partial to the strategic gore-fest that is a game of Left 4 Dead? Judging by the four-player co-op on offer in Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept, developer Guerrilla is very much a fan of all three. But while those games carefully home in on a single mechanic, much to their benefit, Intercept is a rather heterogeneous creation by comparison.

Don't get me wrong: Intercept's class-based, four-player co-op is by no means an awful thing. But after a day of showing hundreds of Helghast the business end of a shotgun, I can't shake the feeling that it tries to do far too much for its own good. Fun was had, but not the sort of rollicking good time that made me want to shout about it afterward. Take the four classes on offer, for example: the assault class is armed to the teeth, the tactician lays turrets, the medic heals and revives fallen allies, and the marksman brings up the rear with a sniper rifle.

These are the archetypal class roles for a shooter, which would be fine, except that there's nothing about any of these classes that stands out from the regular Shadow Fall fare. Sure, there's the class-wide ability to wield a drone for protection, the odd speed boost, and the ability to lay shields or ammo packs. But all the classes handle the same, so the heavy isn't any slower than the medic, for example. Even their weapon selection becomes a moot point once you've unlocked some new ones (there are 20 in total to choose from, including those from the Insurgent downloadable content pack), giving you things like a shotgun-wielding medic that's pretty good in a firefight.

Customization is nice to have, but limitations are often there in co-op for a reason, and in the case of Intercept, it would have made each character feel that little bit more special. That mundane feeling extends out onto the battlefield, where you must defend three control points from waves of AI Helghast, while also racking up a certain number of points for your team to win the match. Each map consists of a home base, where a spot called a bank lies. Therein lies Intercept's core risk/reward mechanic. You earn points by killing Helghast and healing teammates and the like, which increases your score multiplier. However, if you get killed, all those points and your score multiplier disappear.

I can't shake the feeling that it tries to do far too much for its own good.

To win the match, it's your team's score, not yours, that counts. That means periodically running back to base to deposit your points while weighing whether to hang onto them for a higher score or risk losing them all. You can kill hundreds of Helghast, but if you keep getting killed and fail to deposit points, the match will go on indefinitely, or at least until you hit zero points. Respawning without a medic costs 50 points, so going without a healer is an entirely possible scenario if everyone's a bit gung ho with deposits.

On paper, that sounds like an interesting, even potentially entertaining, mechanic. But while it has its moments, there's just not enough depth for it to hold your attention for long. Matches quickly become a repetitive slog of smashing out a few kills and running back to base to cash them in. There's little incentive to build up those big score multipliers, because more often than not, a slow and steady buildup of points easily wins the match.

Unfortunately, there's little else in Intercept to liven the action. Carrying capacitors back to purchase temporary power-ups like miniguns, damage boosts, and bunny-hopping jetpacks is fine, but the capacitors themselves often spawn in exactly the same place, while the power-ups lack the visual pizzazz to make them interesting. I want to know when I'm doing double damage, or am suddenly armed with a jetpack and machine gun. I want the game to shout it out at me, flash some killer graphics on the screen, and make me feel like I've really achieved something, rather than just timidly changing a tiny icon at the bottom of the screen.

Then there are the Helghast themselves, who we're told are powered by an AI commander that picks the best strategy based on your progress. (Sound familiar?) Certainly, there were some particularly hairy moments where the AI had my team surrounded and vastly overpowered. Only by working together as a team, carefully placing turrets around capture points, healing where necessary, and sniping from afar, were we able to overcome them. But these moments were the exception rather than the rule, and even then, it seemed the AI was merely throwing more soldiers at the problem rather than coming up with some kind of intelligent strategy.

Interspersed between the regular enemies and the losing and capturing of control points are the boss battles, which are extremely disappointing. Much like how Gears would send out a grinder, or L4D would send out a tank to spice things up, Intercept wheels out bosses based on characters from the single-player campaign. However, these bosses are a feeble imitation. The most I ever saw one do was teleport to another area of the map, or cloak, but otherwise, there was little to tell them apart from a standard enemy other than a higher health bar and some cheesy voice-over.

All the elements are there for a good time in Intercept, but none shine enough on their own to be melded together into a cohesive whole. The four maps Intercept is currently set in--Market, Highway, DMZ, and Outpost, with six more on the way for free--are at least well designed, even if the mysterious blue shield walls around their rims sometimes prevent you from making the flanking moves you so desire. The usual array of leaderboards, challenges, and trophies make up the metagame, while three different game lengths (based on the total number of points needed to win) mean you can play small, 15-minute skirmishes, all the way through to epic hour-long battles.

Whether Intercept can keep you entertained for such lengths of time, I'm not so sure. It takes just a few matches to realize that the magical multiplayer spark, that itch that must be scratched by just one more match, is sorely lacking. This is a technically competent add-on that feels like it was designed to latch onto a growing co-op trend and to plug a gap in the game's multiplayer repertoire because the market research said to, rather than something designed with some real heart and soul behind it.

The Good
Defending capture points is fun when working together as a team
Technically impressive visuals
The Bad
Core banking mechanic becomes repetitive
Bosses are dull and a wasted opportunity
Blends many ideas together but excels at few of them
Character classes and power-ups lack punch
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Killzone: Shadow Fall

About the Author

Mark might not be the shooting powerhouse he once was, but he enjoys the odd skirmish in Counterstrike and Titanfall. He's played his way through Killzone 3 and Shadow Fall, and has always admired the impressive technical achievements of the series, even if he hasn't been as impressed with the gameplay.

Discussion

72 comments
matthova
matthova

Its not the "I wanna get a PS4 to play this " type game is it?

TRMDYL
TRMDYL

I'm still waiting for a decent single player FPS experience. Anytime now, sony. 

IceJester45
IceJester45

"This is a technically competent add-on that feels like it was designed to latch onto a growing co-op trend and to plug a gap in the game's multiplayer repertoire because the market research said to, rather than something designed with some real heart and soul behind it."

That's the sense I get from Killzone generally. They aren't bad games, but they have that designed-by-focus-group look and feel to them.

mr_nee
mr_nee

"These are the archetypal class roles for a shooter, which would be fine, except that there's nothing about any of these classes that stands out from the regular Shadow Fall fare"


... aaaand I stopped reading. The game is as good as coop-shooter gets. Mark is just bored with his life. Mark, it's summer. take a vacation and a break from video games for a month or longer. Go to Spain or Thailand

homerlvsbeer
homerlvsbeer

ever since xboxone and ps4 came out. your reviews make no sense your reviews need a review. you suck.!!!

homerlvsbeer
homerlvsbeer

"I can't shake the feeling that it tries to do far too much for its own good."   come on gamespot. you cant shake the feeling its far better than anything you have played on xboxone. thats the feeling you cant shake. stop sucking off bill gates. jealousy really gets you nowhere. i score this game a 10. you should score it around an 8. but you just luv mr gates. am sure everyone at gamespot sleeps with him often.

homerlvsbeer
homerlvsbeer

Nothing wrong with this game whatsoever. just gamespot are in microsofts pocket. and there jealous of great ps4 games. dont like to give them a good review either scoring it a 6. wtf. thats a joke.

sakaixx
sakaixx

it's free so no qualms about that, KZSF is a great mp game and mediocre sp , both with gorgeous visuals of course.

jleek1992xx
jleek1992xx

Killzone 2 & 3 were better KZ:SF was just a flop.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

Consistently confused by Gamespot's treatment of KILLZONE SHADOW FALL.  A perfect game?  Nope.  Better than their scores?  Yes.  Somehow, KZSF has become the game they love to hate. 

silversix_
silversix_

Let this game die already, let this franchise rot.

nayce54
nayce54

This is bullshlt!  Here we get awesome DLC, free with your season pass and this is how Gamespot craps on it! f#@k Gamespot! The game is awesome! Even the new Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is stealing SOOO MANY features from Killzone Shadowfall - from the shield to the hovercraft (looks so identical - it's crazy), even their exoskeleton suit looks like Killzone's jetpack. It's probably the only launch game that people are still playing right now!

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

Playstation loves them some Killzone, don't they?  I've never played it, any game in the series actually, but it looks fairly generic.  Sony keeps popping out these aggressively mediocre exclusives, and then claims to be the best around when their only successful titles are multiplatform titles. 


Are they oblivious to this?  Or is it some sort of consumer manipulation?  I don't know, the lines are blurred here. 

golden1elite
golden1elite

Can't fix a broken game.  Selling point of the PS4.

Gen007
Gen007

@IceJester45 yup killzone as a series has always been pretty bland and very "me too". It seems like every iteration is chasing after what other games have done i mean the first one was supposed to be a halo killer and the 3rd one got cod'ified and shadow fall is just bland and boring as all get out.  I call it pulling a crysis at this point very pretty games that will bore you to death. I

IceJester45
IceJester45

@homerlvsbeer I have a PlayStation 4, not an Xbox One. I also have Titanfall on PC. Titanfall is better than any iteration of Killzone. Ever.


I don't think GameSpot's writers care about pushing one system over the other. But, even if they were Xbox fanboys, they wouldn't be worried about Killzone.

xbox1day1
xbox1day1

@homerlvsbeer  dude the game sucks. it has nothing to do with xbox. if this was infamous I would say he was being harsh but kill zone is garbage

SambaLele
SambaLele

@nayce54 Free with your season pass?


Is the season pass free? Nope, you paid for that DLC pal.

strothers101
strothers101

@nayce54 Cool story bro. The simple fact of the matter is that Killzone SF is a bit " on the nose". This DLC could have potentially swayed me into buying the game, but no. Not now, not with the metro redux around the corner and games like destiny and forza horizon 2 on the errr horizon. Maybe in a few years or if it comes to ps+ ill give it a whirl.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Fartman7998 as if gears, halo or forza are not generic games in their genres. If you want absolutely unique gameplay you should look at indies which are also better on PS4.

So no matter what you're looking for - exclusive AAA, cross-plat AAA or indies, PS4 is the console for you.

ryancyc
ryancyc

@Fartman7998 Because stuff like Ryse and Dead Rising 3 is just not mediocre at all, right? Everything is debatable, buddy. For the record I own both consoles.

xxdazzed
xxdazzed

@Fartman7998 Yeah I can see PS4 will be pushing a lot of exclusive games out in the next couple years but i bet most will get mediocre to a 8 rating. The only 9 rating they have right now is sound shapes. Its all about resolution and graphics now and not game play. So prove me wrong Sony?

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@Fartman7998 Hopefully, you're just talking about the PS4, which should be expected to have a slow start anyway just like every other generational beginning. If not then you must not like these little things that people call facts because Sony's exclusives sell like crazy. Their top franchises are Grand Turismo, God of War and Uncharted. Check the sales numbers on those series or any individual game within them and you'll see how unsuccessful they haven't been.


To be fair though, the KIllzone series, while beautiful, in my opinion has never lived up to the standards set by other Sony exclusives. I think they had (and have) really high hopes for it but the devs just couldn't strongly deliver on the experience.

Lokero8
Lokero8

@Fartman7998

"only successful titles are multiplatform titles"



eh...no. have you ever heard about some games called god of war, the last of us, infamous, heavy rain? uncharted saga maybe?


greetings.

eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

Can't polish a turd. Reason the x.bone can't sell.

homerlvsbeer
homerlvsbeer

@IceJester45 i believe it because they have been sponsored by microsoft. and they have been leaning more on the xboxone.  even got the technical. info wrong. everything about the ps4 like processor speed. anything that ps4 had an edge over. they turned around and said it was actually the xboxone that had faster processor speed. in fact that wasnt true. they was also saying that the xboxone was 60fps and we know that isnt true at a time when they was explaining about ps4 ability to play games at that level. and full 1080p. if you had seen that review. you might feel the same way as i do about gamespot. ive seen alot of bad reviews on games that really arnt so bad..there is a rumor going around gamepot only like certain developers. like they dont like spiders. the guys who made bound by flame. they gave it a really bad review. someone on there was saying why and that they didnt like the company. all games deserve the same bias reviews. and more games the betterr for us. ive seen some crappy reviews on gamespot. and my opion of gamespot has gone down to what it use to be. sorry if that offends.  PS. yes i have titanfall on pc looks great in ultra settings with bright blue water etc. my friend has xboxone and ive played titanfall on his xboxone, and it look really nice. plays smooth. but after all those broken abox 360s  all the red rings of death and buying so many xbox360s i will not trust microsoft again. ive always been happy with sonys quality. the xboxone and the 360 too didnt have the same quality of a sony playstation.

mr_nee
mr_nee

Says, @xbox1day1 Did you play Killzone on bone? It's a generic shooter like... let's say a halo... + deploy shield and zip line + best shooter graphics to date

homerlvsbeer
homerlvsbeer

@b74kd3th @homerlvsbeer how did you know.. i also have a big red nose and a dress. and a little dog that yaps. yap yap yap. kinda like your yapping. and a tricycle of course. why am i a clown. pls explain your insanity. 

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@novanis @silversix_ probably got trashed in the MP and thought omg game sucks. lol it's a great game it just has crap elements to it, bad voice acting, bad ai but the guns are good, sound effects are good, level design is good and the mp generally on the whole is good.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@SambaLele @nayce54 i got Killzone SF for 11.99 pre owned then bought season pass, I got a good deal platinum trophy on it too, and it was a difficult game to 100% basically put if you love shooter games you will get a fair bit of enjoyment from shadow fall, if you don't love shooters except for the truely exceptional ones, then no you won't like it.


eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

Ryse is "as fun as dialing phone numbers" and Dead Rising 3 is the poster child of frame rate issues/texture pop :/

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

@horizonwriter @Fartman7998  It's possible for a game to be mediocre and/or not that impressive but still be successful.  Their sales don't necessarily mean those games are all that amazing, just food for thought

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

@Lokero8 @Fartman7998  I guess I should have elaborated, I meant the PS4 specifically.  PS3 got really lucky with those, Naughty Dog is on their side and happens to be very good at what they do .  God of War has lost it's touch and really isn't anything special.  As for anything else, their titles just haven't made the same impact as the ones on Xbox.  Sad, but true, because Sony does have some great games.  Besides, games like Infamous and Heavy Rain are talked up to be really good and have critical reviews to back it up, yet other popular titles overshadow them quite easily.  They make decent games that leave virtually no impact beyond their fanbase.  Mediocrity, my friend

IceJester45
IceJester45

@homerlvsbeer @IceJester45 I don't think so. I think, if anything, GameSpot is biased in favor of big developers, which means they're as pro-Sony as they are pro-Microsoft. Sony does a hell of a lot of advertising on this site. If GameSpot is in Microsoft's pocket, they're also in Sony's.


Also, if you want to bring up the red rings of death, I'd like to point out the hardware failures that plagued the early PlayStations (remember having to flip the console upside down to get it to work?) and PlayStation 2s (remember the DREs?). The Nintendo 64 and original Xbox were more reliable and more powerful than the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, respectively. Sony's competition didn't have problems back then with hardware, but games. Sony wrote the book on shoddy hardware. In fact, the PS3, PS4 and Vita have been the only Sony consoles I've had no problems with. Other than that, I agree with your assessment of the Xbox 360, and that's one reason I went Sony-first with the current crop of consoles.

davidcaez
davidcaez

@Fartman7998  That is your  opinion. You are a Xbox fanboy so you obviously hate playstation, but for others people (millions), are perfect games.

SambaLele
SambaLele

@Fartman7998 You "elaborated" just to go back to your first point by backing from the elaboration. Great logic there. "No, I see that there are great Sony exclusives, it's just that they are great exclusives that are mediocre. Great, but mediocre. Especially on the PS4, since the PS3 ones were great. But even those on the PS3 were mediocre. So... yeah." That's how you sounded like. You're yearning for a generalization where it just can't happen.

pip3dream
pip3dream

@Fartman7998 Sony's exclusives are far better then what XBOX has on offer... the only real exclusive i know that xbox has is halo.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

@Fartman7998 I'm sorry but after the first line of your response, it was clear your post was ridiculous.  You can love on Gears of War and Halo all you want (please don't say Fable, that would be too funny), but the simple fact is Sony has (and continues to have) the best exclusives.  It's fine that you love XBOX and all it brings to your gaming experience, but your post is just fanboy drivel. 

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@xbox1day1 @pip3dream @Fartman7998 the second I saw any footage of the first dead rising game, i realised it was pretty much 100% filed it under the missed opportunities folder and left it there. forza is great, gears has died out much in the same way god of war did.

Killzone: Shadow Fall More Info

  • Released
    • PlayStation 4
    Killzone: Shadow Fall is a first-person shooter set thirty years after the events of Killzone 3. As a Shadow Marshal, you are tasked with maintaining the delicate balance between the Helghast and the Vektans who live side by side in a futuristic city divided by a vast wall.
    7.1
    Average User RatingOut of 326 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Killzone: Shadow Fall
    Developed by:
    Guerrilla
    Published by:
    SCEA, SCEE, SCEI, SCE Australia
    Genres:
    Action, 3D, Team-Based, Shooter, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms