Zombie shooters aren’t exactly a new concept in this day and age, and I for one just shrug whenever I see a new wave shooter pop up on Steam. The zombie market just seems so utterly congested, with many undead-themed games spawning from every corner. There’s even a zombie dentist game for kids in the AppStore, if you’re into that kind of thing. Heck, even Call of Duty has been on the undead train for a while now, with the many iterations of their Zombies minigame involving these iconic monsters in historic wars and futuristic settings. What was once the cause of massive fear from our early days in Resident Evil has become nothing more than bullet sponges for the sheer fun of testing guns and decapitating them. Killing Floor 2 is no different…
Enter Killing Floor 2, a fast-paced zombie wave shooter and successor to the popular game, Killing Floor by Tripwire Interactive. The game pits a team of six players against hordes of AI-controlled zombies while being treated to some adrenaline pumping heavy metal tracks in the background. Call it what you will, but I really think it fits the action pretty well. Nothing screams death like a heavy growl playing in sync with the symphony of heads being blown up by your Stoner rifle (I’m sane! I swear!). This actually doubles as a more effective stress reliever than a yoga session, with each kill offering a certain crunch that makes the experience quite satisfying.
This Is Just So Perking Good!
Killing Floor 2 offers a series of classes known as Perks, which not only determines your role in the field but also gives you a set of unlockable skills that influences how you play. Commandos, for example, can help on the front lines, offering heavy damage and a gratuitous amount of bullets, while the Field Medic focuses on healing and various buffs like improving damage resistance. While team composition may not sound too important in a match against AI controlled Zeds, Killing Floor 2 does reward its players for constructing a proper lineup, and is quite crucial when ramping up the difficulty or facing bosses who will exploit and dissect teams who don’t gel together. If you want to experience the game at its finest, please be sure to try its harder difficulties. Perks are also given their own set of weapons and starting items, eventually unlocking extra benefits when using perk compatible artillery.
The game’s lineup of firearms is also very impressive, sporting a series of various weaponry ranging from katanas to futuristic microwave guns and rocket launchers that turn Zeds into piles of red chunks. The game does not disappoint when it comes to weapon variety, and you will be able to slay these monsters the way you see fit. Did I mention that you can use a shovel?
Are You Serious? Zed Serious!
Other than the typical clots that fodder up the death count, Killing Floor 2 also throws in a series of special Zeds into the mix that’s sure to make you think twice about going Rambo in the middle of each wave with all guns blazing. These Zeds are aptly armed and will take you out unless handled correctly. One of my early memories include being cornered by a giant Fleshpound while the Siren turns all my grenades to duds as I threw them inside her scream radius. It did not end well for me, to say the least. These special creatures are also easy to discern across waves of Zeds due to their shape, size, and at times, lighting effects, allowing players to prioritize them before moving on to lesser threats. Some also receive extra skills such as the ability to perform somersaults (I have no idea) as you tweak the difficulty further, and can often result in quick deaths and punishing consequences for players who don’t work together.
Lastly, we have the boss monsters, and Killing Floor ‘2’, oddly enough, only has 2 of them. I feel that the inclusion of only two bosses is a little lackluster, considering that multiple encounters with these guys tend to become cumbersome, making it get old easily when playing with the same people. This, however, does not make them easy prey, as they can effectively tear teams apart and feast on unsuspecting players, especially on higher difficulties. The new and only addition to the series is Dr. Hans Volter, a mad scientist trope who attacks people with poisonous gas and a special move that allows him to catch players in a deathgrip that drains their life while replenishing his. Killing Floor fans will also be happy to know that the Patriarch also makes an appearance in the sequel, sporting some heavy hitting explosives, as well as a powerful machine gun that’s guaranteed to end anyone who fails to run for cover. Figuring out boss patterns and mannerisms is one of the first things that got me hooked into playing the game further; however, unless you are willing to up the ante and challenge yourself by ramping up the difficulty, you might find that these encounters become dull after fighting them more than 5 times, especially when you’re always being paired with players who know what they are doing.
Other than the default zombie waves, Killing Floor 2 also introduces a Vs mode, which pits players against human-controlled Zeds. While I do enjoy queueing for Vs every-once-in-a-while, I couldn’t quite enjoy it as much as the original game mode. It can be fun, but possibly not one that can be taken seriously. Perhaps it’s due to the Zeds’ lack of gimmicky moves than can be combo’d into one another, resulting in a boring loop of running towards a player and “strategically” hitting them when able. The atmosphere is tense due to having smarter Zeds within the vicinity, but if you don’t mind the comparison, the satisfaction of having to effectively dismantle a team in Left 4 Dead was solely due to the zombies’ individual ways of segregating players via their abilities. None of which can be found in Killing Floor 2, I’m afraid. The format just feels like one big deathmatch between teams instead of a tense bout that makes you scream once the zombie attacks have begun.
At its core, Killing Floor 2 uses the typical formula for zombie wave shooters. A ballsy move, considering that most new games try so hard to break the mold to distinguish their game from other titles in the genre. It’s fun, doesn’t take itself seriously, and is just your lighthearted blood-filled dessert after a healthy serving of long storylines and rage-inducing competitive multiplayer.
The game is pretty straightforward. A team of six players are attacked by a finite number of Zeds that spawns in various places, gradually increasing as you finish the fixed number of waves selected upon creating a match. In between bloodbaths, you will be given a small timeframe to sprint towards one of the pods marked on the map to purchase new guns and replenish your armor and ammunition. Players earn cash (dosh) by killing Zeds, and the struggle of saving your ammunition for one wave to get stronger guns before the next one makes for a short yet fun challenge. This sequence lasts until you reach the predetermined final wave and beat one of the two bosses available in the game. The more players enter your game, the more Zeds are added to each wave, and the more bullets it takes to take down special zeds and bosses. You can also opt to play solo, but yeah… let’s not talk about that.
One feature I find enjoyable in a shooter game is Bullet time, which generally slows down the action on your screen to really savor proper aiming and emphasize the effect of heads popping to the many shots you’ve invested on the horde. Zed time, as the game calls it, activates under certain conditions and lasts depending on both the number of Zeds you kill within its timeframe and the Perks at your team’s disposal. I’ve never seen bullet time implemented on multiplayer games yet, so seeing it in action upped the experience quite a bit.
As I’ve said Killing Floor 2 brings nothing new to the table, but in a world where every shooter tries its best to be different (despite not being so different in the end), we have this game; an elephant who refuses to move and just wants to be itself, regardless of competition.
Killing Floor 2’s players, contrary to its death-filled music are actually quite nice, with little to no toxic behavior even when facing higher difficulties. I’ve seen new and old players get along quite nicely, with veterans actually being helpful in guiding less knowledgeable players around Perks and techniques. This was made clear to me when we had someone had AFK in the middle of the game without warning. Instead of raging, everyone just laughed and protected the inactive player, constantly joking about it upon his return. Killing Floor 2 is a great stress reliever, and its community is one factor that adds up to that.
Graphics and Sounds: 9/10
Killing Floor 2 absolutely delivers when it comes to visuals, offering high caliber explosions with Zed meat flying everywhere. The game also does well in painting the area with the blood of your enemies, a testament to why this game carries its name well. Everything is rendered beautifully, and the maps are just a treat to revisit, with each area greatly differing from the rest. The graphics have taken a big leap from its predecessor, making it all the more satisfying to see Zeds go boom.
The sound is superb, to say the least. You have a good line-up of heavy metal tracks that fits the overall tone of the game, and the sound effects are no exception. All guns fire adequately and really makes you feel the crunch from each round.
Value for Money: 8/10
The game is a steal for me, as it does offer an enjoyable experience overall, whether you play it seriously or just something you boot after a long tiring game. And while I would want more from Killing Floor 2, what it offers is already more than enough for its price tag.
While Killing Floor 2 doesn’t do much to stand out among its peers, it does well in being what it aims to be; a fun fast-paced wave shooter that’s just there to sate your guilty pleasure of shooting down Zeds along with some adrenaline pumping music. The boss fights are pretty fun, although I do wish they had more variety, which can hopefully be addressed through future updates and expansions. The maps are huge and are nicely done, each sporting a unique theme and brilliant paths that intertwine well, making it a breeze to kite Zeds from point to point while making it easier to run for cover when projectiles are hurled at you. Map familiarity is greatly rewarded in this game, and knowing Zed spawn points can not only save your life but boost your kill count as well. The soundtrack works really well for me and I would advise players to turn on the vocals option if they want to add more punch to their killing-spree. Who needs Spotify now?
The game also has a cash shop, which features character and weapon skins, as well as a series of emotes you can use to either annoy or entertain your teammates. I guess it does not count as pay-to-win if you’re fighting against AI opponents, so perhaps adding in a couple of new weapons would be a welcomed feature. Killing Floor 2 does a good job of being an enjoyable wave shooter for those looking for some gory goodness. And while it does offer something for the casual audience, it also has something for team shooter enthusiasts who want to really see how far their skills will get them. Haven’t tried Killing Floor 2 yet? Please do so. There’s a lot going on that’s sure to keep you interest-zed… Sorry, couldn’t help it.
+ Addictively fun, even in long bursts
+ Satisfying weapon sounds
+ Amazing soundtrack
+ Lots of weapons to choose from
+ The perk system gives people roles outside just shooting Zeds
– Offers nothing new to the genre
– Lack of game modes
– Needs more Bosses