So Killing Floor 2 is free on Steam this weekend. My initial reaction to this was somewhat reserved, as this is an Early Access sequel to a game I haven’t even played before. Never mind though, I decided to give it a shot. Oh boy, was I surprised.
Actually, if you haven’t played it before, just stop reading this article and go enjoy some co-op goodness.
Still here? Fine then, you get to read my superlatives.
A little backstory — when I was a wee child the first real game I played was Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2. Actually, I watched my dad play it for a few months before mustering the courage to try it out for myself, standing in awe before this living Star Wars world being presented on a small screen in front of me. The blaster sounds, the light emanating from the walls when you shoot, and the constant surprises from enemies springing from each corner got me glued to the screen for hours on end. It really was something I’ve never seen before.
When I sat down to play Killing Floor 2, I honestly felt something very similar. Sure, there wasn’t anything groundbreaking, as going into it I kinda knew what I was supposed to do, i.e. survive each wave while barricading entrances and gearing up after each stage. But the thing is, all aspects of it worked towards one goal — delivering a bad-ass shooter.
First of all, shooting feels heavy. The amount of recoil your guns have really forces you to conserve ammo and go for the burst-fire approach instead of “spraying and praying” (although sometimes that’s your only choice as you’re surrounded by hundreds of ‘Zed’). Whether you want to go melee or long-range, there are already tons of possibilities out there, with classes ranging from traditional commandos and medics to insane explosives-based ones that burn everything in their sight. My favorite one must be the Demolitionist, a class utilizing C4 and grenade pistols. You know, your normal means of mass destruction. And as for the targets you get to blast into tiny bits, they are pretty much an artist’s paint — predominantly red and overly abundant, covering the canvas thoroughly.
Metaphors aside, whatever map you’re playing on gets covered in blood, guts and all sorts of nasty intestines in the matter of seconds. In other words, this isn’t a game that shies away from presenting a hardcore atmosphere, and I’m kind of glad that’s the case. While enemy variation could be a bit more rich, differentiating what you’re up against happens extremely fast if you’re new to Killing Floor. In fact, the whole process of starting a game for the first time and figuring out what’s happening was extremely easy and seamless, maybe due to resemblances to other co-op survival shooters like Left 4 Dead or the zombie modes in various Call of Duty games.
But despite how cliche the idea of fighting zombies in creepy abandoned places is, this is a game that simply doesn’t seem to care all that much. Nicely timed slow-mo segments that happen when you eliminate big foes are one of the most satisfying moments of the game, allowing players to carefully place their bullets where it matters. In the same time, there isn’t a single map that looks mediocre compared to the rest. Wide-open ones like ‘Burning Paris’ may seem straightforward at first, but each new wave reveals underground passages and tunnels that can make your head spin. In the same time, maps like the ‘Catacombs’ are exactly what you would expect — nasty, dark and perfect for lighting up with explosives.
Last but not least, music is what makes Killing Floor 2 so damn good. You’re decimating wave after wave of failed specimens rushing at you with their unnatural abilities, running past hallways with bones and graves strewn around, and all you hear is the juicy riffs flowing through your speakers (or headphones). An entirely instrumental soundtrack that features 100% pure heavy metal mixed with a moderate dose of industrial elements — it’s simply the perfect music to have while you witness zombies’ heads flying away and giant, fat bloaters exploding in excrement. Sorry for making this graphical.
Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ve had more fun in any game recently. I’d describe my experience with Killing Floor 2 as pure brutality, as it brought me back to the years of Doom and Quake and reminded me what those games stood for. Sure, it’s an Early Access game that still needs more content to be added. I also didn’t like that the overall movement was a bit too slow and sluggish, on top of the lack of any FoV slider and the abundance of bullet-spongy enemies. But even in its current state, Killing Floor 2 is one bloody solid co-op shooter.
Original Author: Georgi Trenev