Killing Floor 2
After playing Killing Floor 2 for a few hours, I had the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what I’d just experienced. Initially, my critic’s brain took over. I thought about what I would have done with a game such as this, had I the means to produce one.
For instance, I probably would have implemented a slower movement speed, and make each environment darker and spookier, forcing players to use flashlights in many areas. I’d have made the monsters more supernatural in nature, such as possessed humans ala the Evil Dead film series, and maybe throw different types of demons in there as well. Perhaps I would have added in an objective system, where players would have to accomplish certain goals within a level in order to progress to the next one. And so on and so on and so on (I’m sure you get the picture).
Well, after my high and mighty imaginings, I considered the modern gaming audience. There aren’t a lot of people out there that like well thought out games with highly developed backstories, where everything is slower paced. Games like that used to be produced, back when people had a little more patience. But nowadays, gaming developers seem to be aiming for the fast twitch crowd as well as the tween contingent. When I considered all of these underlying factors, I realized why Tripwire had gone the route they had with their Killing Floor series.
Just as in the film world of on up through the 1970s, horror movies tended to include a lot more atmosphere, better directing and acting, real tension, and implied dread. Today’s films are more about throwing as many buckets of blood and severed limbs and innards at movie-goers as possible. In this regard, Killing Floor 2 is sort of the video game equivalent of the torture porn and slasher film genres. I really don’t think I’ve seen as much blood and gore in all my years as a gamer as I witnessed in Killing Floor 2.
In Killing Floor 2, the boilerplate backstory (if you can call it that) takes a back seat to the gameplay itself. There’s a global pandemic of mysterious origins, secret labs, etc., all of the usual zombie apocalypse tropes that we’ve become accustomed to. Story elements serve as mere tinsel surrounding the meat of the game—the gratuitous violence and carnage that can be wrought upon the zombie hordes (called Zeds here).
The Killing Floor franchise has been widely criticized by its microtransaction and DLC practices. I, for one, don’t have a problem with their business model. Many people want free handouts these days and don’t realize the time, effort, and money that goes into producing games. Funds that are generated by the additional content that Tripwire produces go into creating future content. That’s the way business works, kiddos. Hello!
Since this is a review of Killing Floor 2 plus all of its added content, I’ll be including everything within the full version of the game. First off, all told, there are nine distinct classes, referred to as “Perks” in this game. Each perk has its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the melee-centric Berserker (katana anyone?) is exceptional at close quarters combat, but has weak ranged weapons. Meanwhile, the Demolitionist is handy with explosives and has the ability to weld doors shut in order to cut off avenues of attack. Since six players can team up in Killing Floor 2’s main multiplayer mode, Survival, deciding which perks to choose for your band of Zed killers can be half the fun. There is a tacked-on adversarial mode where some players play as humans and the other as Zeds, but the servers for said mode were always empty when I checked, so it doesn’t appear to be catching on.
Anyhow, you can choose from a large array of weapons. Everything from SMGs to shotguns to assault rifles are available to players. You can also choose some more heavy hitting armaments such as grenade launchers and RPGs for certain perks, as well as special abilities that a perk-specific. These abilities feature such things as temporarily freezing Zeds, or being able to cause more damage to larger foes.
From there, you are dropped into one of Killing Floor 2’s twelve or so sprawling maps, and then the game proceeds to do what it does best—offering up zombie horde killing experiences like no other. Unlike the Left 4 Dead series, the Killing Floor titles are more focused, in that you are basically relegated to the same large, bordered area, as opposed to running around throughout different zones. I personally prefer travelling through more varied environments, but I can see why Killing Floor 2’s more concentrated environments suit its particular gameplay mechanics.
In Killing Floor 2, when you blow some Zeds away, their blood, limbs, and entrails all stay where they landed. For instance, if you splatter an enemy’s brains all over some stairs, they’ll stay there for the remainder of the match. I found the persistence system much more favorable to games where bodies suddenly disappear after a few seconds—it serves to immerse you further into the game.
Killing Floor 2 also features an excellent difficulty system. There are four to choose from, normal, hard, suicidal, and hell on earth. If you increase the difficulty, expect for enemies to move faster, dodge some of your attacks, be harder to take down, and come at you in larger groups. The money you receive after taking out each wave of Zeds is also scaled back depending on how hard you’ve made your particular match. This forces player teams to carefully consider what perks and weapons they’re going to choose, as the wrong decisions can spell disaster for you and your crew.
Speaking of teams and teamwork, it must be said that playing with random people, as opposed to a group of friends, is like playing two different games. In random servers, hardly anyone uses voice coms, so people basically just run around like Rambo and shoot wildly at anything that moves. With a good team however, where everyone is communicating on mics, Killing Floor 2 opens up into a whole different experience. There’s nothing like coordinating with buddies on how to take out some large, muscly Zeds, or concentrating fire on larger groups of enemies. I’ll never get why people choose to play team-based games without mics, it always baffles me.
In all, Killing Floor 2 isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it does what it does best—offering up fun and unique team/class combinations, opportunities for team-based tactics, massive bloodletting and grisly gib-splattering, and focused (if sometimes repetitive) combat. Oh, and did I mention gallons and gallons of blood?
Killing Floor 2 offers some excellent visuals. However, you have to have an equally fast gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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