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Killzone Mercenary Beta Pro Tips
What is the Killzone Mercenary Beta?
"Killzone Mercenary" is a highly anticipated first person shooter (FPS) announced for the Playstation Vita. It was announced last year during Sony’s Gamescom press conference on August 14, 2012, and has been widely seen as an impressive title since. Now less than a month away from the game’s September 10, 2013 release date, all Ps Vita owners will have access to the open beta, and will have the option to get their hands on the game pre-release. A closed beta was available to sign up for on July 12, 2013, with beta codes being handed out to applicants over the following weeks. Similarly, the open beta was opened to Playstation Plus subscribers on August 20, 2013. As a result, a large number of people currently playing are highly experienced, and the bar for newcomers in the open beta is set pretty high. One of the greater problems of the beta is the lack of decent tutorial, meaning newcomers are relegated to learning the ropes from short loading screen text or from dying over and over again to more experienced players, which can be very frustrating, potentially turning players off. As such, here are some simple tips to get you going on the Beta, as well as details on what to do to better your game and win matches.
If you are new to the Killzone franchise, Killzone is a first person shooter set in the distant future of space colonization featuring a war between the "Helghast," human descendants who colonized the planet "Helghan," and the "Interplanetary Strategic Alliance" (ISA). Killzone Mercenary is set just after the first game in the series of 3 games (with a fourth to be released) but luckily is stand alone and knowledge of the previous plot is not required. As Mercenaries, you fight for money, and are not bound by sides, making the plot separate and distinct from other Killzone stories.
It is to be noted that the “Killzone Mercenary Beta” is only available on the Playstation store for the Playstation Vita, and is 930 megabytes large. The beta period ends on September 3, 2013.
The full “Killzone Mercenary” game will feature three multiplayer game types, but the beta features only one: “Warzone.” This is an objective-based team mode where teams of 4 players compete against each other for points, and was available in “Killzone” 2 and 3, though “Mercenary” presents its own spin on the game type. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins. There are 5 rounds, with different objectives to complete in different ways. Simply shooting your opponent will often not be enough. In order to give you the best advantage, let’s discuss at the modes individually:
1) Bounty Hunter
This is the first mode, and one of the most straightforward. Simply kill your opponents and take their Valor Cards. "Valor Cards" are like dog-tags which enemies drop when killed, and can net you a cash bonus when collected, but there is a slight twist to Valor Cards which will be discussed below. For this mode, you simply want to defeat your opponents as best you can, and pick up their cards, which will float above their bodies. Be careful when approaching, however, as you can be killed easily by enemies. Keep an eye on your surroundings and on your radar at the bottom left hand of the screen. Knowing when to pick up a Valor card and when to leave one is very important. Similarly, you can “save” your teammate's Valor Cards when they are shot by simply walking over them just as with enemy Valor Cards. This will prevent the enemy team from getting points. Be mindful of this fact, as your enemies will try to use it against you as well. A good tactic is to defeat an enemy and wait until his teammate tries to save his Valor Card, then defeat that enemy as well and net two points for your team. It is imperative that you move as a group, making it easier to collect and save Valor.
This mode appears twice in the match, as the second and fourth mode, and is arguably the most important, and most difficult for newcomers. Basically, your team must decode “Van-Guard Capsules” (which are drop pods which land in twos on various parts of the map) to get points, as well as the “Van-Guard” inside. A Van-Guard is like a special ability, which you lose upon death but which can grant you a powerful advantage in battle. These range from stealth camouflage to orbital strikes, and can be devastating for the enemy team. Knowing how to decode, and decode quickly, will be your most powerful asset. Hacking is simple: you will be presented with a random shape, made of 2 of the surrounding pieces. Simply tap one of the two matching surrounding pieces, then tap the centre, removing that piece, and leaving the other. Then repeat the process for the other piece, and the Van-Guard Capsule will be unlocked, rewarding you with a random Van-Guard. Doing this quickly is very important, as you CAN be killed while hacking, and you most likely WILL, unless your teammates are nearby.
Interrogator is potentially the most difficult mode overall, but also one of the most fun. One of the greatest features to “Killzone Mercenary” is the ability to interrogate your opponents. You do this by “injuring” them, which basically means crippling them in some way so they fall to the ground, incapacitated. Once you hear a groan, you know they are crippled. You then approach them, press the action button (Triangle) and follow the onscreen prompts by swiping the screen. When successful, you will automatically kill your enemy, collect their Valor Card, and reveal the location of all their teammates. An injured player can be rescued by their teammates, so be careful when injuring an opponent. “Injuring” enemies is difficult, especially in hectic fights, but there are some simple ways to achieve this:
- Aim for the feet – This will quickly bring an opponent down, but they will die if you do not get to them fast enough.
- Set them on fire – A burning enemy loses heath quickly, and is crippled soon after, however, they die much faster.
- Use gas grenades – these cloud an area in a dense, lethal gas, can be used to down groups of enemies quickly.
- Use a tranquilizer - Seriously. This is the best option. A tranquilizer is a secondary weapon, with two shots, but cripples an enemy instantly. They also stay down for quite some time, meaning you have time to catch up to them. This should be your priority in this round.
- One last thing – etiquette. This was a MAJOR problem in the closed beta. If an enemy is crippled, DO NOT SHOOT THEM. Your teammates probably worked very hard to bring that enemy down; shooting them is the highest offence. Likewise, do not shoot an enemy when they are being interrogated. It is very obvious when this is happening. The enemy will be lying on the ground, and will be harmless. Leave them. The only time it is appropriate to shoot an enemy is if they are about to be rescued by the enemy, otherwise, be mindful of your team, and work towards the goal, not toward your personal gain. One extra kill is not worth the match.
4) Hacker (see 2 above)
5) Body Count
This mode is the most straightforward: kill your enemies. No need to worry about Valor Cards, or Interrogation, or Hacking. Simply kill your enemies through any means necessary. This is where your personal skill comes in. Use your best weapons and builds, and play aggressively, but smart. Work with your teammates and above all, stay alive. Do not give your enemies points through unnecessary deaths.
Now that we have the modes down, let’s look at some smaller details that may improve your game. Weapons are the centrepiece of an FPS, and picking your best weapon is imperative. Initially, you will be barred to only the weapon you are given, but as you make money and level up you will have access to a wide variety. Currently, there are assault rifles, sub machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols, rocket and grenade launchers, shotguns, a variety of grenades, armour and last but not least, Van-Guards. Choosing from this massive selection can be daunting, but you will soon find your preferred weapon. If you have trouble aiming, take silenced guns with low recoil. If you’re good at aiming or quick-scoping, more powerful assault rifles could work best, or the incredibly powerful sniper rifles. Secondary weapons should support your play style, so you may want to bring a lock-on missile launcher to shoot down Van-Guards, or a grenade launcher to clear out entranced enemies, or the incredibly useful tranquillizer gun mentioned earlier. Grenades should also be based on what you need them for. Need to stun enemies? Bring a flash grenade. Need to blow stuff up? Bring a frag grenade. Simple enough. Frag grenades tend to be the best overall however. Van-Guards are very expensive, but buying one should be a priority. Van-Guards charge up over the course of the match as you gain money, granting you a periodic advantage over your foes. Once again, choose what suits you best, but be careful, remember Van-Guards are rather expensive.
In order to buy anything in "Killzone Mercenary," you will need money. Money is gained through literally every action in the game: picking up ammo, killing an enemy, interrogating enemies, countering attacks, getting Van-Guard capsules – everything. Similarly, money is your experience system. The amount of money made in a match counts toward your next level, and you level up as you earn granting you more equipment slots. As such, doing as much to gain money as possible is your primary goal, aside from winning of course. Always pick up ammo, save your teammates, use Van-Guards and any other actions you can to earn, and of course winning grants you monetary bonuses, as well as your placement in your team from first to fourth, so winning and staying on top is always great.
The Valor System:
"Valor Cards" are of the new and interesting parts of Killzone Mercenary. They are expounded upon well enough in the beta, but they will still be touched on briefly here. The Valor System works by giving each player a Valor Card which represents your earning ability (and thus you overall ability) in game. Ace is the highest, with two being the lowest, and a different Valor Card type is assigned based on the weapons you used as detailed below:
- Clubs – make seven consecutive kills with an assault rifle or light machine gun
- Hearts – make five consecutive kills with a secondary weapon
- Spades – make three consecutive kills with a sniper rifle
- Diamonds – make four consecutive kills with a sub machine gun
Your Valor Card is updated every 24 hours, so your Valor can go up or down depending on how well (or often) you play. New players will start with the Joker card. You collect Valor Cards as you get kills, and can eventually build a deck of cards. By making “hands” such as a flush or full deck, you will gain a large monetary reward.
Other Things to Note:
These are just small notes to keep in mind as you play, and will work to make you a better player:
- Keep an eye on your map - Enemies and teammates will show up on your radar at the bottom left and side of the screen. This is very important to keeping your bearings and avoiding assassinations, or orchestrating your own.
- Teamwork – Work with your team. No man (or woman) is an island, and being surrounded by the entire enemy team will most always spell swift and humiliating death. Move with your team, or if you play stealthy, keep their positions in mind at all times so as to better coordinate.
- Voice Chat – There is no voice chat option built into the beta, however, using the “Party” system on the PS Vita will allow you to invite friends and teammates to a chat-room where you can all voice chat together while playing the game, making coordination much easier.
- Adjust the controls – Killzone can feel very stiff and heavy at first, but you will get used to it. Do not despair if it feels awkward at first, especially if you are used to playing on a bigger controller or screen. The controls can be adjusted in the options menu, and there are a large host to suit your needs, from sensitivity to aiming with the gyroscope.
- Spawning – There is only one map currently playable, and though it is large, it is still a relatively small map, so there will be times when you will re-spawn near an enemy after dying. Be mindful of this, and stay alert.
- Spend wisely, but… – Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Valor means something – Keep an eye on the enemy and your teammate’s Valor Cards. This will give you an idea of the kind of opposition you are facing, as well as the kind of support you have.
- If at first you don’t succeed… - Don’t despair. You are new to the game, but you will learn. More experienced players might beat you today, but you’ll trump them tomorrow.
- It IS a Beta – There WILL be bugs. Issues pop up, but these will be patched out in the upcoming release. The Beta works to smooth everything out, even though this is only a small fraction of the full game.
- Have fun! – Don’t forget that a videogame is supposed to be fun. Work hard and support your team, but be sure to enjoy yourself as well.
“Killzone Mercenary” is set to be released on the Playstation Vita on September 10, 2013 on both the Playstation Network and at retail. Check out the beta to get an idea about whether you like the game, and if you do, don’t hesitate to pick up what is sure to be a great FPS gaming experience on the go.