By: Brian Gunn
Killing Floor 2 is the latest game from Tripwire Interactive. They’ve polished and tweaked its core gameplay, with much more focus on future support this time around after the first game got a lot of attention for its holiday-themed promotions. Is it worth the upgrade, or is the original still a better use of your time?
The Killing Floor series is a relatively simple horde shooter, thus it’s hard to mess up the controls. Tripwire has nailed the basic run-and-gun action in pretty much all of their titles. In addition to mowing down zeds, players can take support actions like welding doors shut or healing their fellow players. This entry also marks the series’ debut on consoles, and everything has translated fairly well to controllers.
Visually, Killing Floor 2 isn’t particularly noteworthy. Character animations can look stiff, and overall the game favors function over form to allow dozens of enemies on screen. Enemy design is wonderfully grotesque, even if some of the character models seem a little on the low quality side.
I hope you like heavy metal, because Killing Floor 2 is frequently drowning out the action with some generic but fitting tunes. It can be a little grating at times, but when you trigger the slow time while the bass is churning after a series of headshots and get to rock out it feels awesome.
Guns sound great, and the few voice acting samples are amusing. The game takes advantage of decent sound systems as well, with the creepy chittering of enemies often revealing their position before you can see them, which is a nice advantage to have on more hectic waves.
Killing Floor 2 is a primarily multiplayer game based around surviving incoming waves of enemies. It’s functionally similar to things like Call of Duty‘s zombie modes or Gears of War‘s horde.
I say primarily multiplayer as it does technically have single-player functionality, but its only real purpose is to learn the basics and practice some maps. If you’re investing in this game, plan to be social.
There are two main modes on offer, starting with Classic mode, which pits six players against waves of enemies. Each round lasts until the last body falls, and then players get a bit of a breather. During these breaks you can visit a shop to restock supplies or buy better weapons, as well as set up some rudimentary defenses.
This typically just means choosing doors to weld so you can either force enemies down certain paths or nuke them while they are breaking down the doors from another vantage point.
The other mode is for 12 players, and it allows them to control the undead hordes. This plays out similar to the VS mode in the Left 4 Dead series, though it’s not quite as interesting. Most players will probably find themselves sticking to the classic mode.
Killing Floor 2 features a class system, along with many levels to grind. Commandos are good with medium range weaponry, while SWAT start with a fast SMG and will need to engage enemies at closer range.
Players will want to choose classes that complement each other, such as bringing a medic if your friends all like to play characters that favor getting close to enemies. It can be pretty easy to get overwhelmed if you’re not working well together with your teammates.
There’s a bevy of visual customizations to unlock, whether it’s from micro-transactions or the game’s loot box system. Couple that with grinding out the class skills and there’s a lot of meta-gaming to do in addition to the basics of shooting enemies.
Thankfully those enemies have a decent amount of variety to them, starting off with just basic hordes of melee attackers and then leading into showdowns with some pretty crazy mini-bosses.
Killing Floor 2 is a polished and satisfying game with well thought out developer support that is likely to continue for a long time. Just don’t expect to get anything out of it if you want to play solo.