Killzone: Shadow Fall - Intercept preview: class-based chaos

By Ozzie Mejia, May 19, 2014 7:00am PDT

Guerrilla Games recently announced a new co-op expansion for Killzone: Shadow Fall called Intercept. It's a different take on the Helghast war, as four players band together as Intelligence Squad Alpha and attempt to take the fight to the enemy military while gathering and relaying vital intel. It's a new class-based co-op take on the Killzone formula and one that Shacknews recent had the opportunity to try out.

The main task during my time with Intercept was simple. Essentially, it's a Control Point mode, as my team was tasked with defending three Hacking Uplink points from incoming Helghast forces until enough time has passed to relay information back to HQ. Points that are captured by the enemy must be cleared out before recapturing them, in order to add to the total Team Score. A player could earn Personal Score points by killing enemies, making use of their abilities, and capturing points. Individuals would then have to step away from the battle and deposit their Personal Score points to the overall Team Score.

Similar to other class-based shooters and Horde modes, each of the four playable characters serve a particular function. The Assault soldier is designed for close-quarters combat and deploying drones. The Marksman is meant for long-distance combat, utilizing laser trip mines and guard drones to ensure that no one disturbs his sniping. And Medics are tasked with keeping players alive by reviving any fallen soldier.

I took control of the final class, the Tactician. The Tactician specializes on defense through the use of three sentry turrets that can be deployed anywhere. I used the common strategy of placing one at each Uplink location and I'd watch my Personal Score skyrocket with each automatic kill the sentries racked up. The sentries could take a fair amount of punishment, but the playing field gets more dangerous once they get taken out. Upon trying to deploy new sentries (following a brief cooldown period), my Tactician was riddled with bullets and he wasn't able to take cover quickly enough before falling to the ground. My Tactician also has a nanoshield that can help suppress fire, but the cover on it proved fairly limited and didn't do much to hold off gunfire from different angles.

This is where teamwork started to become a factor. I waited patiently for my Medic to come revive my Tactician, but he was either tied up with the other two classes or otherwise unavailable. My character bled out and I was forced to dip into the Team Score to respawn.

Teams that refuse to work together will suffer quickly, mostly because the Helghast are practically capable of smelling blood. If the enemy AI has captured a majority of the control points, the game's difficulty will intensify significantly and the soldiers will use their numbers to their advantage. The Helghast will quickly suppress players with nonstop fire, grenades, and additional soldiers to the point that a comeback is all but impossible. Still yet, the Helghast can call in champion-level reinforcements, though I did not encounter this during my hands-on time.

Harder still, since the goal of the game is to acquire Team Score, constantly dipping into it to respawn only draws out the battle further with no hope of winning. In fact, once the Team Score is too low, players cannot respawn at all and the mission is declared a failure. This won't be the kind of game to jump into with random strangers, but tight knit groups should be able to thrive.

Those looking for more class-based play from their Killzone may find what they're looking for with Intercept, which is also set to release as a standalone product later this year. Current owners of Killzone: Shadow Fall will get the first crack at this expansion in June, with Season Pass holders getting it for free.

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