Killing Floor was originally created by Tripwire Interactive and since its 2009 debut on steam has thrived in the past 6 years of existence. Even so, the titles age has caught up to it beyond the stylized violence and gore which it is so well known for. That is more than enough of a reason for players to get excited to hear about the coming of a sequel coming to PC which of course would bear the title Killing Floor 2. The more enthusiastic players jumped right aboard to preorder the title and gain early access via Steam where the more cautious player base decided to take a step back and wait after the number of cash titles that have been released lately focusing on big release sales and not so much on gameplay.
Without a doubt, Tripwire Interactive did not follow this devious path and is working on a passion project that any fan of the original title will be very pleased to play, even in early access. Much like the first title the same formula is used with several classes put together surviving wave after wave of increasingly gruesome creatures that are dispatched in the goriest way possible. At the end of each wave, a sales booth opens up allowing players to upgrade and explore new options to expand their arsenal. A weight system is also included with each weapon to dissuade the hording of the most powerful pieces and instead encourage a variety of gear across all players in a level.
Currently, there are four classes each of which has their own weapon set with a few weapons which have no perks such as the flamethrower and katana. These classes are fairly classical with their own perks and currently include the Commando, Support, Berserker, and Field Medic (Note that the developers have previously announced up to 8 different planned perk sets including a Sharpshooter, Firebug, Demolitions, and Gunslinger). One of the most interesting mechanics in the series is to level a perk or class, you do not necessarily have to be using it. If players enjoy using the Commando skill set but also want to try out the Field Medic perks at a higher level, they may simply use the Medics’ weapons with the Commando class to earn experience towards leveling up their Field Medic class. This is a throwback from the original and a fairly simple concept, but is a great way to help players level their lesser used classes in a leveling system that can feel quite grindy at times. The grind is well worth the work, which will lead to very useful perks at specific levels, and can ultimately be tailored to the way you wish to play.
Looking at the weapons currently in the game there are several different categories and each weapon has its own pros and cons which balances out quite nicely. There is however a decent amount of weapon kick emphasizing the series’ focus on ammo conservation and aim versus the “spray and pray” ideal more traditionally adopted in most modern games. Some weapons also have their own unique abilities such as the Medic weapons which can heal friendly players from a range and a Berserker weapon which fires saw blades that can be picked up after being fired. The weapons thus far are definitely fun and looking at the buy menu from the “store” in game there are several categories of weapons that have yet to even be shown which would suggest a much wider variety of zed killing features to be coming in the future.
As of now there are four maps available for play each with the same boss after a selected number of waves and on varying difficulties pending on the server being played on. There are currently four maps available to play, each with their own style however if this title stays true to the original, a large multitude of maps will be available when the final release date approaches. Each map has several very well placed “holdout” locations where even a single player can take on hordes of zeds at a time with little to no problems so long as they have some steady aim and a small stockpile of ammo.
The zeds players will come across are similar to those from Killing Floor and include some terrifying classics such as the siren and the fleshpound while promising new and challenging enemies to mix into the current horde. Each of these along with the return of the previously unknown enemy, who has since been revealed as Hans Volter, will provide a very challenging experience for players at any group size on all maps and should not be taken lightly. The first few rounds of Zeds may be easily dispatched but once the wave numbers increase to a decent level, each and every enemy encountered will have to be dealt with carefully. The slow motion effect which is a series trademark reappears in this sequel as well allowing for some very nice Zed destruction and satisfying escapes from otherwise sticky situations.
A lot of what has been seen so far in the big picture has been viewed as very similar to the first title. However, for players that appreciate the finer details of their zed slaying experience, Killing Floor 2 offers so much built on top of the success of the original. Lights can be shot out making a simple subway station into a terrifying place to step foot into, blood will consistently stain the ground all around the players and if a group constantly uses the same area to fend off waves of enemies, it will certainly show. Graphically, the upgrades to the title are also very pleasing and lead to simply shooting a zeds head or limb off being a gory and bloody good time. Not only this, but a lot of the animations to the undead hordes have been polished very finely and create a more satisfying experience while fighting alongside a group of up to five other players.
Customization is no stranger to Killing Floor and Tripwire Interactive has stayed true to this as well in their early access release. With several characters to choose from, each can be customized in a variety of ways with different hair styles, color schemes, clothing accessories, and a multitude of little pieces that can truly make your character yours much more so than most horde shooters even attempt to do. Other cosmetic pieces can already be purchased via a digital deluxe upgrade which has been stated to be available for individual sale later down the line.
Now comes the big question of the game in its current early access state and whether or not it may be a good idea to board the hype train. As long as the developers stay true to their plan, certainly yes. Killing Floor may currently have more content as a full release game and cost $10 less than the sequel currently holds, but much more work is going into this titles future and Tripwire Interactive has a reputation for listening to the concerns of their player-base and adjusting to please their loyal customers. Playing on servers with a maximum of six players against similar enemies with graphically sound gameplay and three maps available across four perks with several weapons may seem small (not really). But at the price of $29.99 which is half the price of most Triple-A releases and with the future holding much more content, this is definitely worth a look and even in its current state, is well worth the money.