Have you ever entered an arcade and noticed those first-person zombie shooters? You know, the ones where you hold a giant plastic gun and shoot at the hordes of undead that constantly flood the screen? Well, I have and let me tell you this; I’m not very good at them! I’ve always been more of a sit in the comfort of my own home to kill things kind of gamer as I’m sure many of us are.
A few years ago, Killing Floor was released for PC users. This game shared many similarities to those classic arcade zombie shooters most of us have come to know and, as expected, it was welcomed with open arms. There’s a strange sense of morbid enjoyment when all-out chaos is the name of the game, so PS4 players have been given the chance to join in with the zombie slaying as well with Killing Floor 2, the sequel to the aforementioned title which recently released, but is it worthy of such an outlandishly gruesome title?
Killing Floor 2: PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Release Date: 18 November 2016
Price: £39.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
Killing Floor 2 has no plotline as such, but there is a little context to set the scene. Zombie creatures or “Zeds” as their affectionately known are causing a calamity across Europe due to a severe outbreak, but this is never made clear. As far as the game is concerned, you kill zombies in different areas and that’s about it. However, this is a game that doesn’t necessarily need an overarching plot to succeed. The gameplay is the sole reason you will be playing this one and that is where Killing Floor 2 strengths really lie.
The game begins with players able to jump straight into the thick of the action or get a little basic training to gauge a better understanding of the controls. It is probably worth getting to grips with the basics of Killing Floor 2 as there can be a fair number of controls to learn. As the game begins to teach you about weapons and other useful titbits, it can feel a little overwhelming with a sense of information constantly bombarding the player. Some of the controls such as healing yourself and calling out to your fellow team mates may be all-too quickly forgotten in the first few matches, but as you get into the flow of the gameplay, things do eventually start to come together.
Now that the games initial training is out of the way, you will be ready for the bloodshed. Killing Floor 2 hosts a large number of classes with which to play, and you are able to freely choose between them throughout your time with Killing Floor 2. While each of these classes is tied to specific roles and weapons, all of them will suffice for the majority of the required objectives. A berserker, for example, begins with a big melee weapon and a machine gun, however, new weapons can be found by exploring each map, so this class might become a dual-wielding gunslinger by the end of the match. The same goes for any class for that matter. There aren’t huge restrictions but each will be given perks for their specialities as you continue to level them up. A large percentage of the time it comes down to personal choice rather than the best class for a particular match, and this means experimentation is encouraged instead of having to stick to just one class.
Online matches themselves come in the form of survival or versus matches. Survival is as simple as it sounds. A team of players will be transported to a map and tasked to survive a set number of enemy waves, with each wave becoming progressively harder until a boss enemy appears at its conclusion. Killing Floor 2‘s difficulty can also be changed if you wish, so the utterly insane can brave the “Hellish” difficulty which as you’d imagine is no easy feat. The zeds will regularly ambush you in huge numbers and this is where the game harkens back to arcade shooters you became so fond of back in the day. You will find yourself constantly firing or swinging like a madman until these enemies are destroyed, it’s hard to not find that entertaining. Stronger enemies require elements of strategic play to take down (basically, don’t get too close) but the real pleasure comes from how frantic and chaotic the action becomes. Whether you band together as a team or get separated, you will gleefully continue to engage the zeds with an insane lust for blood and gore, gaining immense satisfaction at the end.
Amidst the madness, you will have a break between each wave to stock up and upgrade your arsenal. Specific pods will open for you across the map and your omnipotent French assistant will natter on as you make your way there. The currency you use is humorously named “dosh” which eventually becomes extremely useful. Ammo will need to be bought, armour refilled and new weapons will be invaluable for harder waves, however, the catch is that you can only carry a certain amount of weight before the game limits your purchases. You will have to be decisive in what you want before the nice French lady closes up shop, so always be sure that you have the right weapon for the job.
The weapons themselves vary in their usefulness, with certain weapon reload times feeling excessively long, especially when a giant zed armed with a chainsaw won’t stop spinning at you. It’s definitely worth trying out everything to see what is right for you, but most of the weapons will do decent enough damage to keep you out of harm’s way.
Killing Floor 2‘s other online match type on offer is versus mode. In a nutshell, a team of humans pitted against player controlled zeds attempting to destroy them. The same formula still applies here; team human will need to wipe out increasingly difficult waves of zeds until they are victorious. Team zed, on the other hand, will have players possessing the bodies of particular enemies and they will need to try their utmost to wipe everyone out, not too dissimilar to Left 4 Dead. The humans will win if they survive every wave and the zeds will win if they manage to execute all humans, whatever wave they are currently on. Versus mode is certainly enjoyable but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be as popular as its counterpart. I managed to be in a team of just myself and this causes the humans to be incredibly outnumbered and the match unbalanced. AI controlled zeds will help you out, so one human against ten tough zeds = death. The survival mode will be where you’ll spend most of your time as all players share the same odds.
Killing Floor 2 sounds incredibly addictive in its gameplay, which it is. Sadly, that’s all there really is to it. It’s not aesthetically beautiful by any means, which all the more enforces the feeling of playing an arcade shooter. Its online modes are also the only selling point of the game. There is solo play if you so choose, but the appeal of this is minimal due to the very nature of the title. After a few matches, I felt like I had seen all that there is to see, and only hardcore fans will desire to stay longer if they’d like to experience all classes and maps.
As a whole, Killing Floor 2 ticks the most important box when it comes to gaming, and that is the entertainment factor. The gameplay lives up to the title, constantly rewarding madness and bravery over strategy and tactical approaches. You will need to be aware of some enemies and deal with them accordingly, but nonetheless, the chaos never lets up. After you peel away this aspect of the game, though, not much is left. There are no eye-watering glorious graphics on offer, content is fairly limited and offline options are all but a speck in the overall package. Versus mode feels slightly overshadowed by survival, but fans who love this will still find plenty of fun. If you’re done after a few matches, though, you may start to lose interest. However, there is something here that everyone will like, zombie fan or not.