Last week saw a new DLC expansion pack for Killzone Shadow Fall, but instead of dropping a selection of new maps into the competitive multiplayer, like we usually see with Call of Duty or Battlefield, this one brought a new co-op mode to the game. Intercept is out now as an expansion pack, and part of the game’s season pass, but there are also plans to release it as a standalone game mode, later this year.
Intercept places you and three team mates in a small map, defending three three key points from waves of Helghast invaders. There are four classes to choose from: the Tactician who can deploy turrets, the Medic who has supply boxes and drones that can heal, the Marksman has the sniper rifles and the Assault who’s about attacking in close quarters.
Killing the invading forces scores points, but they have oddly decided on awarding you just 5 points per kill as opposed to the 100 that you get in the multi-player game. On top of this, you can only keep the points if you can successfully bank them at a point within your main base. The longer you stay alive, the more points you get as you build a multiplier, but if you gamble and then die, you lose all your points and have to wait to be revived within 30 seconds, or spend 50 points to respawn. There is no mandatory delay on this choice, which can prove annoying if you are playing as the medic as your team mates will chose to spend points as this will usually get them back in to the action quicker than waiting for help.
Scoring kills will also unlock cores on the map which can be placed into a machine to activate bonus abilities, such as air strikes, jet packs and sentry turrets. These will help you on your way to winning the game, where you must bank the target score which can range between 1,500 and 10,000 depending on the length of the game.
At first the DLC is excellent fun, the new abilities are great additions to the game, especially the air strike which can wipe out entire battalions of Helghast. However after a couple of games you will have seen and done everything and the monotony sets in. The main problem is there is very little variation in the waves of enemies and the AI is not particularly challenging.
Helghast will appear from a corner of the map and head directly to the uplink beacon to capture it, and then sit there and defend it. The game will occasionally spawn a wave of enemy Snipers or a tougher mini boss battle with a named Helghast such as Tyran or Echo who sports a mini gun and takes quite a few shots to kill, but apart from that it’s just waves of endless Helghast grunts and the occasional air sentry to destroy. Rather than the difficulty level increasing as the game progresses, it is simply a war of attrition and if you’re playing with some good teammates you will win every single game.
There are just not enough types of enemies to make the game interesting; there should have been tanks, exos and drop ships to provide a greater challenge and mix up the fighting, since the regular Helghast go down after a few shots and rarely pose any sort of threat. If the Marksman in your squad stays high on the base structure, he can take out at least of half the Helghast before the rest of the team can get a shot in, and has the advantage of being relatively safe. I managed to score over 1,500 points playing as that class, and seeing as you only get 5 points per kill, you can imagine how long I was playing for without getting killed!
There are also a rather large number of bugs. During one game, my character could not pick up the cores, while in another the enemies failed to respawn and we were left sat in an empty map. Others are reporting the challenges (which thankfully are separate from the main game) are failing to unlock, error codes and the game crashing completely. I have also had two instances of the game not even recognizing that I had installed the co-op DLC and had to restart for it to register.
If that weren’t bad enough, it also takes forever to load, and we are talking ModNation Racers times of well over a minute, followed by another delay while you synchronize with the other players. All of this is on top of loading Killzone itself, which they can hopefully streamline for when the DLC comes out as a standalone game.
I am sure you aware of just how much I like Killzone Shadow Fall, so it’s a shame that the DLC is so disappointing and lacking in challenge. It’s a nice idea but flawed in its execution, with waves of the same canon fodder grunts becoming dull very quickly and the unforgivable number of bugs and prolonged loading times.
On the plus side, I then went back to the multi-player and was crowned the best player of the game and celebrated by kicking someone in the nuts. That twenty minute game online was about ten times more fun that the couple of hours I had spent in the co-op.