Killing Floor 2 is the sequel to a a horror based horde style first person shooter. The game follows its predecessor close, with the only major difference being an upgraded engine that makes it look like a gorgeous reason to upgrade your computer. Its a gory game and that’s one of the reasons why you play, for the sheer beauty of how gruesome it is. There is no subtlety to the game, you are getting rushed by monsters in waves and its action and combat heavy. Even in early access, the game feels polished, refined and finished even with six maps. The menus and shop interface that make it so much better. It makes all the difference and makes the game more approachable than the previous one.
When you step in, its almost like a haunted house, you get in, you have your fun, then you go on your merry way. You can just turn off your brain and enemies will come to you. There’s no puzzles to solve or any single player campaign, just action wave after wave. To the game’s credit, its easy to select a match from a server and when one game ends, you all vote on the next map to play.
The game controls nice on a mouse and keyboard or a 360 controller. It controls like a lot of similar first person shooters. You have iron sights, a throw button for money or weapons, holding one button lets you select from your inventory of things, there’s a quick heal, jump, run, alt-fire, reload and a crouch that almost feels useless. Commandos also have night vision or and everyone else has a flashlight depending on the weapon. The night vision only lasts for a limited duration, but it does the trick, until you can find your way to a bright area.
In terms of equipment, you have primary weapons, secondary pistols, melee weapons, a med kit to get you quick healed and a welder. While I know the welder is used to seal doors shut, I never see many people using it. Perhaps some would rather have mobility to escape a room that’s full of monsters rather than creating bottlenecks so there are less entries. Each weapon has its own stats for damage, range, firing rate, bashing, reload speed and ammo capacity,
The stats between tiers of guns seem minimum at best for the cost. Its still good to buy extra guns due to your maximum ammo capacity. The more waves you face, the more bullets you’ll need for your foes. There are still glowing green ammo boxes here and there.
Between each wave of enemies, a store will open up and a path will show you the way to ensure that you find it after a jog. The store is only open around a minute, but it feels like enough time. I have a feeling that the real reason for shops opening up in different locations is to encourage you play different parts of the map. I’ve seen a lot of games where players just hustle back to the biggest area to fight enemies.
At the store you can spend credits to refill your ammunition and body armor. You can also purchase new weapons that stay with you until you die or the match ends. If someone else on your team is dead, they will drop a weapon for the next person to pick up. There is still a way to throw a weapon on the ground as well as money for anyone that needs it.
Between games and even waves, you can select your perk from one of six. They include a berserker that’s geared more toward melee weapons, the commando who prefers assault rifles and grenades. The support class starts you with a shotgun and a frag. The field medic begins with a restoration gun and medical grenades to heal allies. The demolition perk has a stick of dynamite and a grenade pistol from the start. Last up is the firebug that can only use spears and torches. No, the perk uses fire and Molotov cocktails.
These perks start you off with select weapons, but you can still use a weapon from any class. Any perk class can use any weapon and you can level up with any weapon. Every five levels, a new ability gets unlocked, but for the most part perks include passive benefits. Some grant you more health or damage, others have quicker welding speed. To get more experience to level up, you need to kill enemies with weapons from the class. There are other ways to increase experience, but that’s the bluntest way.
While the game is designed for online multiplayer, there is a single player option for offline practice or if you just like the challenge of being the lone survivor. When a game starts, you chose your difficulty, map, amount of waves and perks. There are only a few maps, but in a game whose predecessor had ludicrous levels of downloadable content, I expect the same here. You can still have a lot of fun on the game’s six or so maps.
Each map is laden with details and offers a few arenas with multiple entryways. Even with a team of six, there’s still a lot of potential for something to sneak up behind you. Its okay though, because having five teammates ensures that someone is always watching your back by sheer coincidence.
Each monster is a gruesome piece of art. Hairless naked zombies, obese men with two butcher knives with brown stained bottoms and green boils that vomit green chunks to cover the screen and blind you. Darkened black mutants with spider legs extending out of their back who crawl on the floor below your sight lines or on a ceiling above you. There’s a siren that walks slow and does radius damage with her shriek. Men with one arm, no flesh who have a sword instead of a hand that scrapes long the floor.
Wave after wave, the enemies keep getting larger and tougher. Giant mutants with a chainsaw arm start appearing. They dance and whirl as they chase after you trying to smash their saw in your back. There are giant bruisers with huge metal hands that use them to block your gunfire as they chase after you. It all crescendos with the final wave and a boss fight. One last tank that just sponges bullets and challenges the entire team.
The game makes excellent use of its gore. Limbs fly off with explosions and a headshot will explode a head, but a headless body can still shamble around, but usually a bullet to the head will drop an enemy. Intestines will explode out of the big guys. Sometimes everything will slow down so you can take in the atmosphere as its painted. The slow motion also helps with aim.
When you die, you’re out for the wave. If your team survives, you’re back in the game. its a system that prevents exploiting if you lose, you drop out and reenter. The game lets you spectate who is still playing to still keep you interested.
For those that like customization, you can customize a lot of things on your character when it comes to the look. You pick a person, select from a brief list of faces and clothing textures then select what’s on their face. Its deep enough to be enjoyable, but shallow enough without getting lost in the details. The real reason to change characters is for when you get bored of their voice overs. There are no skills that differ between them, because that’s reserved for the perk system.
The soundtrack has a mix of big metal songs and tense tracks that would get found in a modern horror movie. It has almost as much thrash metal than Brutal Legend. The voice acting is high quality, but you’ll hear the same French woman who runs the store telling you her pod is open or when it can open. There might be a lot of one liners, but you’ll hear them all quick enough before you change characters. The enemies make believable noises while you’re looking at them, but even foes that make loud growls can still go silent enough to surprise you.
Killing Floor 2 excels in the gore and the easy to drop in or drop out aspect. its fun to play, but without a set goal of a campaign it might turn people off. Its easy to find a match and keep playing without breaking the flow. While the game supports six players at once, it still feels like you can still do your own thing on lesser difficulties. You can still make it through on your own, until a huge mob of later wave enemies sneaks up from behind pins you to the wall.