When it comes to Killing Floor 2, what you see is what you get. It’s a sequel to a cult-classic that released at a time when Zombie-horde games were spiking to the point of oversaturation. Classic campaigns like Dead Space, frantic multiplayer games like Left 4 Dead 2, and novelty games like Dead Island were all quite popular during the release of Killing Floor. Tripwire Interactive still managed to make an exceptional co-op game that was both charming in its simplicity and a heck of a lot of fun, which says a lot considering its lower budget compared to its competitors. On the flipside, it was fairly barebones in terms of content, relying on the mod community to carry the game’s post-content. Now, after a seven year break Tripwire has released the sequel; Killing Floor 2 launched for PC and the PS4.
The story, or rather what little there is of it, continues on from the previous entry; a deadly outbreak of creatures known as Zeds, created by a big evil Bio-Tech Firm, has now spread beyond Europe, resulting in a global collapse of communication systems and governing bodies. That’s really all there is to it; in an age where online multiplayer games have proven to work when woven with an overarching campaign; it’s a little disappointing in that it seemed like a missed opportunity. On the other hand, there really wasn’t much groundwork laid out in the previous game to carry any sense of a story, so starting now may seem pointless. The game still carries its own weight without it, and I’m sure the fans of the game appreciate the consistency.
The gameplay is what we’ve seen in about just about any game nowadays: horde mode! At this point there’s not much to expand on, but for anyone out there who may not know what it entails, you and other players work together to survive waves of Zombies, or Zeds in this case. Typically most popular in the Call of Duty franchise, most games with a form of an online community seem to incorporate their own take on horde-mode; to base an entire game on that mode is risky, as it may only be inclusive to their niche demographic, if it highlights what other games tend to have as a supplement to the core experience. Thankfully for Killing Floor, it maintains a sense of uniqueness with the crazy array of weapons at your disposal. From crazy guns like Nailguns and Microwave Guns, to melee weapons like Katanas and Zweihanders, and all standard weaponry in between, with over 63 weapons to choose from there is certainly a wealth of possibility for players to play around with. With every kill you earn in game currency that can be used to refill or purchase different weapons. The catch is that bundles of weapons are all restricted to specific classes; there are 10 classes, or Perks to be exact.
The Berserker acts as the shield that specializes in close quarters, the Commando provides vital information to your teammates like health bars on enemies, while possessing abilities like allowing the invisible Stalker-Zeds to be seen. Support class can weld doors at an increased speed to slow down movement and have a higher penetration with their array of shotguns. The Field Medic is rather self-explanatory; heals allies with healing darts, and can receive bonus experience for every 20HP healed. Firebug is essentially the Pyro class that acts as a problem-solver, hosing down Zeds in gouts of flame. Demolitionist ensures everyone can attend the fireworks show with endless supplies of dynamite, rockets and the kind of destructive potential to turn an otherwise bleak round into something that can carry the round. The Gunslinger is the akimbo class, specializing in dual-wielding weaponry; highly mobile and devastating in short-range, they can dish out considerable damage and exit the fray before a Zed could respond. Sharpshooters are exactly that; specializing in long-distance, with an increased damage and accuracy in place of fire rate and overall mobility. Finally, the SWAT class is another close range Perk that deals damage via submachine guns, and have the highest rate of fire in any class.
I think the neatest aspect of these Perks is that they act as one entity, each providing a useful ability to keep Zeds at bay and maintain control. In this regard it’s more like Team Fortress with a Zombie Horde. To top it all off, each Perk have strengths and weaknesses depending on the types of Zeds. There are about 11 Zeds in total, and each class has pros and cons depending on the different types. There are small, medium and large Zeds that either attack with melee, or ranged weapons like vomit bile or fire. Some jump, others bull-rush, and some immobilize enemies. There is an impressive amount of strategy in the design of the core gameplay; more than other games with much higher budgets.
In terms of the game’s visuals, Killing Floor 2 isn’t winning any awards. It’s using a modified Unreal Engine 3, which has shown its age with the last generation. Especially with UE4 released and in full force for current gen titles, I can only imagine that perhaps the choice of utilizing the newer engine was avoided due to budgetary restrictions or perhaps due to familiarity with the UE3 engine. Textures are unimpressive, and the character models lack polish and detail. On the other hand, the frame rate is solid, and the level designs are quite imaginative and large.
Overall, Killing Floor 2 is tough to recommend. I love the uniqueness of it all, the gameplay is pretty solid, and it’s far more team-focused than other Horde-mode styled games. However it’s got a very steep price for ultimately not much in terms of sheer content. $54 dollars isn’t exactly a full retail price, but it also doesn’t really reflect a minimalist game that relies on one mode. Furthermore, the community itself, at least on the PS4, wasn’t incredibly high, and I fear that it may either continue to be that way, or sadly dwindle until a price drop due to other titles that may offer more.Killing Floor 2 was reviewed using a digital copy provided by Tripwire Interactive. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Great class based system that offers a ton of pre-planning and strategy.|
|Variety of creature types that offer pros and cons per Class is a great way to know who to target and who to avoid depending on your Class.|
|The weapon variety is just all kinds of great.|
|The UE3 Engine shows its age, with low textures and underwhelming character models.|
|The price for the game is fairly steep for what little it offers as a product.|
|Player count wasn’t currently high during this review, so it’s hard to say how long the community will last.|