Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept (DLC)

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Title: Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.3 GB)
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: M

Review of the Original Game:
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Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 378 of the podcast.

Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept is cooperative DLC for Killzone Shadow Fall. This DLC comes as a part of the Season Pass that is available for $19.99.  A standalone version of this expansion will be available on August 5, 2014 for $19.99 and a copy of the game will not be required for this version.

Gameplay:
I want to make something very clear from the start: you will enjoy this DLC much more if you are playing with four players that you know and you all have mics. This game is very difficult to get through without teamwork and communication.

You play as part of an elite Vektan Security Agency (VSA) team known as Intelligence Squad Alpha. Operating behind enemy lines, this team is on a mission to relay Helghast military transmission back to VSA headquarters. As part of this squad, you play as one of four classes, each of which is drastically different than the other: Assault, Marksman, Medic and Tactician. You’ll play on four different maps at launch with six more in development. These maps will be free content just like the multiplayer maps in Killzone Shadow Fall.

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Your team is working to keep control of Capture Zones. While holding these zones you will, as a team, begin to collect points. Also, you can earn individual points based on kills, captures, revives, resupplying your team, etc. You will be playing against AI bots that are being controlled by an AI Administrator that either increases or decreases the difficulty level based on your gameplay. There are also random boss fights dropped in during your battle and again, teamwork is key in this game. There are three types of games you can play: Quick Game has you playing up to 1,500 points, Regular Game has a goal of 3,000 points and Long Game a goal of 10,000 points.

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There have been plenty of matches that I played where I was able to collect 1,500 points in less than ten minutes and other matches that took almost an hour to get to 1,500 points. This is where some of the problems arise while playing Intercept.  The game is AI driven and is random so sometimes it feels unbalanced. I played some matches and didn’t even see a boss, some with bosses back to back and others where they were very spread out. The AI Administrator does not seem to balance the game well when you’re playing with three people. There were some matches I played with just two people and they were beatable matches. However when I played with three people, I always felt that I needed to have the fourth person playing with me. It just seemed too difficult to get all the zones captured and hold off the Helghast.

The Medic class is the only one that can revive other teammates, so if you aren’t playing with a Medic it will cost you fifty points every time you respawn. So it’s important that someone always plays as a medic or else you will be spending team points like crazy.

Unlocking new weapons seems almost impossible. Each class has challenges that need to be completed like getting 250 kills with the pistol as a Tactician and most classes have twelve to fifteen challenges to be completed. You are unable to check your challenge progress while you are in the game. There are indicators that you have completed challenges while playing, but when you’re looking at your stats, you can’t see how close you are to another challenge or which ones you’re missing. The menu does a great job of letting you know what you completed and unlocked, just not what you have left to do. You have to back out of the matches that you’re in and check out your co-op career to see the needed stats.

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Each map has a bank where you can deposit your current points and add them to the total team points as well as a Capacitor Bonus where you can send down bonuses from the VSA to aid you in your fights against the Helghast. There are capacitor batteries laying around throughout the map that you will need to pick up and take back to your base to activate these bonuses.

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There is a risk/reward element to this point system as well. While you’re playing, you collect points that will need to be banked which will add them to your team total. The longer you stay out and don’t bank the points, the higher your multiplier goes. However if you are killed, you lose all points that you have collected. Even if you are revived you will lose most of your point progress.

Visuals:
This expansion looks just like the regular game. The lighting is still amazing and I found myself looking off into the environment amazed that this is still early in the PS4’s lifecycle. The environments are just dark enough where they need to be but don’t cause any issues. The attention to detail with the little things is amazing. I was playing a match where the sun was behind me and it was causing glare on my scope. I haven’t seen a game ever do this.

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Audio:
There is a announcer-type voice that is helping you during your match. The entire team can hear him even if they’re not using voice chat options. During the match, if a certain class is doing a great job helping the team, everyone will hear about it. He will also remind you to bank your points, even telling you when you have enough points to win the match. When bosses enter the match the music and sounds in the game change slightly, bringing a more tense feeling to the game and reminding you that you need to eliminate this threat quickly. The announcer also aids you by letting you know when you have done a good job of clearing zones and when you should take a second to regroup and resupply.

Online/Multiplayer:
Intercept is online only DLC. There is no single player mode available for this expansion.

Conclusion:
Intercept has brought me back to wanting to play the Killzone Shadow Fall campaign and original multiplayer all over again. However, if you can’t get four players online with you at the same time it is not very much fun. Also, if you aren’t talking with your teammates, it makes your game more difficult.

In one of the matches, we were in great shape but our fourth player had to leave the game. We were left playing with three players on the party chat and a random fourth and we starting bleeding points quickly. Once we got a fourth player in the party chat and on the same team, we were able to pick up points quickly and win the match. If you’re like me and love playing co-op games with friends, this will be a must play for you. If you don’t like to communicate with people online and like to play multiplayer games in silence then I don’t think you will enjoy this game that much.

Score:
9.0

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