Killing Floor 2 Early Access

KF2_Horizontal-Logo_HighRes review

Killing Floor 2, Developed by Tripwire Interactive is a wave based, first person shooter, co-operative, horde survival game (try saying that ten times fast) currently in Early Access on Steam. Unsurprisingly, it’s the sequel to the 2009 hit, Killing Floor, which just so happens to be one of my favourite games of the recent years.

The story for the original Killing Floor involved a biotech company, experiments which went very badly wrong, and the city of London becoming one massive kill zone… A Killing Floor… Set 1 month after the original, players are thrown across Europe in a fight for survival against what remains of these experiments.

The main focus for Killing Floor 2 is the Co-Operative play, team up with 5 other players for possibly the most entertaining evening you can imagine. The more players there are in game, the more Zeds (Zombies) you face. Not into online Co-op? Well there is a single player offline mode for you to try your hand at which scales down the amount of Zeds you will face, although this does not make the game any easier, at least at the beginning.

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The more you play the more XP you gain, the higher your level becomes the more bonuses are applied to your chosen class, hit certain levels and you can start customising your character with various perks of your choosing.

There are 4 Classes available:
Berserker: Close quarters combat specialist, specialising in hand to hand weapons… and DIY tools (Nail guns, Sledgehammers with small explosives attached & Saw Blade launchers)
Commando: Assault weapons specialist (M4, AK47, SCAR-H)
Support: Shotguns!, Shotguns! Shotguns! (Combat Shotgun, Double Barrelled, AA-12)
Field Medic: Healer, his/her Weapons have an alternative fire mode which fires healing darts (Pistols, Shotgun, SMG’s)

There are 7 characters to choose from, and if you own Killing Floor 1, you get 2 Classic characters thrown in on top and, going by a recent survey, Tripwire Interactive are keen to bring back a few more. All of these can be customised with different colour clothing and headgear which helps each character feel unique to you and your sense of style.

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So far there have been 4 maps released.
Burning Paris: Set on the streets of Paris, the Eiffel Tower lays mangled in the distance, fight your way through the streets and Metro stations
Biotics Lab: the scene of horrific science experiments
Outpost: a research lab set in a scenic snowy mountain range
Volter Manor: a grand estate in the middle of a wooded area
Each map is very open, and you are free to run about it as much or as little as you wish. Which seems daunting to start with but you quickly get used to the landscape.

Your enemies are quite frankly disturbing to look at and on more than one occasion I did find myself jumping out of my seat with brief moments of terror. Being grabbed from behind in a darkened corridor with only the muzzle flash lighting up a Zeds face as it appeared inches from the screen, is a genuinely unnerving experience. With names such as Clot, Cyst, Slasher, Crawler, Gorefast, Stalker, Bloat, Husk, Siren, Scrake and Fleshpound.. you know you’re not going to be in for a pleasant ride. Throw in some Boss Zeds.. and it’s downright nightmarish…

A typical game starts with yourself (and any team mates) armed with your basic equipment, from here you just need to survive. Killing Zeds rewards you with money and experience which can be spent between rounds. The end of each wave a mysterious French woman unlocks a trader pod for you to spend your hard earned credits on various weapons, ammo, armour and even grenades.

Repeat this for a few rounds (Short games last 4 rounds, Long games last 10) until you are made aware of a boss creature appearing.. this is usually where I die.

One thing in particular I quite like, as you fight your way around the levels, each kill has a chance to activate “Zed Time” be it through head shots or explosions. When Zed Time activates the game slows down revealing the over the top gore and dismemberment you are unleashing.

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Killing Floor 2 is a lot of fun to play with other players, but so far I’m finding the Solo mode a little too hard. Whether or not this is down to my own skill level or the fact that as it is a Co-Op game at heart, I’m not really sure. The Dev’s idea of balancing for solo play seems to be to simply reduce the amount of Zeds for you to fight, this isn’t really rebalancing the game as they appear to have the exact same health and strength as they do in co-operative mode and five bullets are always better than one.

Not that I’m complaining that much, but it is frustrating to play solo for nearly an hour or two and not manage to finish a short game successfully.

A complete blast to play with friends and fun yet slightly irritating to play on your own, until you have levelled up a bit anyway, Killing ay on your own, until you have levelled up a bit anyway, Killing Floor 2 is one to watch if your on the look out for a zombie survival shooter.

Pro’s:
Combat is satisfying and bloody
Excellent open level design

Con’s:
Single player difficulty is rough on new players