July 21, 2014
One aspect that was absent from the retail game was some form of cooperative play. Guerrilla recognized this omission, and has decided to take inspiration from the ever-popular, and perhaps over-populated Horde Mode that we’re seeing far too often, and have tried their best to personalize it and keep things fresh. Released as an $8 dollar add-on (free for season’s pass owners), Guerrilla also plans on releasing this as a standalone mode for those who don’t even own the full game. Is this expansion worth the time investment, or are you better off sticking to Warzone?
Intercept is a four player cooperative mode that consists of a Marksman, Tactician, Medic and Assault. All classes have their benefits and detriments, and all are vital to the success of each round. The goal is to collect and bank as many points as you can to reach your target goal. There are three different point limits that you are allowed to select depending on how long you want to play, or how confident you are in your skill.
Assault class is your typical soldier class and will do most of the grunt work for taking uplink beacons. The Marksman provides long range coverage as well as defensive protection like laser trip mines. Tacticians can drop up to three turrets for offensive or defensive strategies and throw a quick shield to absorb incoming fire. Medics are self-explanatory. While they may have low damage output they are arguably the crutch of any team. They keep their allies alive, resupply them with ammo crates, and can launch a healing drone that buffs any teammate in the vicinity.
Despite this being a horde mode, it also weaves capture and hold into the mix. This is how Guerrilla games planned on keeping things fresh while still feeling like the classic cooperative mode. Enemy Helghast will spawn at different entry points to try and overtake uplink beacons A, B and C. Your team’s goal is to try and prevent that. This keeps you and your fellow teammates always on the move, scanning for beacons that are being overtaken, and also to find spots that enemies have a harder time reaching if you end up being the last player alive.
As mentioned earlier, points are earned for every kill, heal and capture you make and can be banked in a specific zone on the map so that you contribute your earnings to your team’s overall goal. On most occasions, this disrupts the flow of a battle as you may focus on advancing and retreating to build points, however a few matches will give you a sense on how to best manage your time. There are periods of downtime if your team is successful in eliminating the wave, and this serves as a perfect opportunity to bank whatever you or your team has earned.
Deductions are made if you die on the field; too many deaths may result in a swift kick out of the match. Its ill advised to sacrifice your team’s points, so unless there is absolutely no other way, it is recommended that you wait patiently for your Medic to arrive.
One odd addition to the core gameplay is to access a computer to offers perks in exchange for a petrusite rod that will appear after you have banked enough points. These perks vary from instant captures, to a full on mortar strike. While these can certainly change the tides of war in your favour, it can’t but feel like it was just thrown in there.
Enemy AI ranges from the impressive display fans expect out of the series, to downright silly. There are points where there will be a clutter of Helghast that are just standing inside the beacon’s zone waiting to be annihilated with a grenade or to be mowed down by a turret. On the flipside, this is also great news as it’s a great way to farm points, but it does take a bit of the intensity away from the overall experience.
Overall, Intercept is a solid expansion to Shadowfall’s online multiplayer. Yes, it’s another horde mode but once you start to dig a little deeper you’ll find that it’s different enough to earn its place as a mode that isn’t just tacked on, but rather has a purpose, makes sense, and has strong gameplay foundations that give it its own individuality. Once it becomes publicly available as a standalone title, I can see this being something more popular than the actual game itself.