Killzone: Shadow Fall – Intercept Review: A Twenty-Dollar Demo

Killzone: Shadow Fall – Intercept is a $20 demo.

Oh sure, it’s fun to play and provides a solid shooter experience. Intercept is a four-player co-op title that fits nicely into Killzone’s setting, and has a few unique twists outside of the usual horde wave mechanics other games have taken.

The trouble is, calling Intercept a standalone expansion pack feels misleading given the small amount of content it actually provides.

I keep thinking back to 15 years ago, when I played the original Unreal Tournament demo. It included five gameplay modes and several robust maps that kept me busy for hours. Intercept, on the other hand, consists of a third of the content included in the Killzone: Shadow Fall Season Pass, but charges full price for it. The goal behind Intercept was to repackage Shadow Fall’s co-op expansion as a standalone title, but with only four small maps to its name, the overall experience is definitely lacking.

Killzone: Shadow Fall – Intercept
Platform: Playstation 4 (Standalone edition reviewed)
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: Aug. 5, 2014
MSRP: $19.99
Available: PSN

Intercept repackages Shadow Fall’s co-op expansion into a standalone game on the PSN storefront. In each match, four players must work together to defend their location from incoming Helghast forces, protecting three uplink checkpoints and a central spawning base. As the match progresses, boss characters from the Shadow Fall campaign will appear to make things more challenging, while special items like turrets, jetpacks, and mortar strikes can be unlocked for the player team.

Unlike traditional horde-based survival games, Killzone’s co-op mode isn’t about surviving a fixed number of waves. Instead, players strive to earn a number of points determined by game type: 1,500 for Quick Games, 3,000 for Regular, and 10,000 for Long. Each player earns points from killing enemies, recapturing uplinks, or otherwise assisting teammates, and then needs to survive long enough to deposit them at the central base’s bank.

The idea of depositing points is an interesting one, and not just because of the tension it adds if you’re shot down while carrying a surplus. These points aren’t just used to mark victory, they are also the currency needed to purchase player respawns. If a teammate dies, and there aren’t enough banked points to respawn, the rest of the group is out of luck until they earn enough to buy him back. Of course, that also creates Intercept’s natural fail state; once it’s impossible for any players to respawn, the Helghast have won and you’ll need to start from the beginning.

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