Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 29.11.2016

Review for Killing Floor 2 on PC

Tripwire Interactive has great pedigree when it comes to mechanically great first-person shooters. Any PC focused gamer surely knows some of their more prestigious titles, such as the great, WW2 based, Red Orchestra franchise. The story of Killing Floor represents a lot of what makes PC gaming so great; the roots of the franchise originate in a fan made mod back in 2005, which evolved into a full retail release in 2009. Of course, for the sequel, it originates in a time in which Steam's Early Access has provided a lot more scope and resources for such projects. This is where Killing Floor 2 has resided for much of the last year until it's release this month. With the zombie-like 'zeds' being the main enemy, there is a challenge for such a title to differentiate itself from the myriad of similar zombie shooters. Does it meet it, though?

The first real experience is jumping straight into the multiplayer component, because there is no single player campaign or story to enjoy. That isn't necessarily a negative, as the entertainment medium has been inundated by zombie tales, and, therefore, there probably isn't anything original to tell. Suffice to say the world has turned into post-apocalyptic wasteland, thanks to a deadly bio-tech outbreak which produces a hoard of mutated human-zombie hybrids.

It is clichéd, but it does allow the lore of the world to be told in the setting of the 12 current maps - with many more to follow through community workshop support and developer updates. All are impressively sized, and articulate locales such as 'Burning Paris' display a striking and destructive wonder, with the Eiffel Tower burning above the 'zed' chaos below. Other interior maps are a labyrinth of dark corridors that improve the sense of horror when a group of enemies pop up and begin their hunt, especially if the player has been separated from the team.

Screenshot for Killing Floor 2 on PC

The element of teamwork is an important aspect here. This is a co-op based shooter (although with a lot of alternative community servers with competitive modes), and so survival of the waves of enemies depends on cooperation and strategy. What the developer has accomplished is to ensure that any stragglers who sneak off for personal experience gain are very quickly overwhelmed - an approach that apparently works well, something that becomes evident after playing through many rounds.

Experiences like this live or die depending on variety, alleviating the boredom of repetitive combat. As mentioned, map variety is one way; however, the number of classes is another. As a team shooter, it's no surprise to see that there is a class based perk system. This rewards experimentation with different weapons, as each of the ten classes such as 'Commando,' 'Gunslinger,' or 'berserker,' come with their own play style, and bespoke bonus weapons. Levelling these up through killing unlocks increasingly effective perks, through a significant upgrade tree.

Screenshot for Killing Floor 2 on PC

This again, does a great job at both increasing the playtime, while also presenting team strategies to blend together an effective defence force. Defence is an important word here, as well. Unlike titles such as Left 4 Dead, which put the onus on a team moving from A to B through a level, Killing Floor 2 has a defence-first approach, with mayhem encroaching the players, rather than them seeking it out. It's a personal preference in style, but this latter certainly ensures tension is never missing.

The only point where action does stop is during the lull between rounds with the trader shop opening, providing weapons and armour replenishment. Going back to the point about variety, a small, but important step, means that the same trader pod does not always open each time, meaning a team will have to travel around different parts of the map, again ensuring nothing ever stays too "samey."

Enemies are intelligent and tough and the AI does a great job in making sure they work together and flank to inflict maximum carnage. The ones above the normal peons also require a more accurate approach to ensure damage, either by having armour plating, or requiring removing of their means of attack through a headshot. Thankfully, with such illustrious shooting credentials from the developer, gun handling is super smooth and satisfying.

Screenshot for Killing Floor 2 on PC

One of the real selling points of shooting is the intense gore that accompanies it. Be warned this certainly isn't an experience for the faint of heart. It is impressive how accurately matched one-to-one damage is. Shoot an arm or a leg and it falls off, blood is everywhere, in the walls, floor, and ceiling, and it stays there. By the end, maps are covered in bodies and blood and it looks fantastic. The enjoyment is heightened when this blood and death is accompanied by a soundtrack focusing on the most hard-edged metal and rock, which really gets the blood pumping when the action starts to heat up.

If there was one criticism about the enemies, that would be that that, at round ten, in the final wave the bosses who appear normally feel underpowered compared to the previous fun. A team of six who are even basically skilled, will eliminate the two boss enemies without a great deal of struggle. It is a minor point, but it just a little irritating after all that effort to no experience an epic final round.

Screenshot for Killing Floor 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Some may be put off by the lack of any single-player content, and exclusively co-op multiplayer experiences do have their detractors. However, Killing Floor 2 does what it does so well that it is hard not to recommend it, especially as it is not the most expensive title on the market. It looks and sounds great, and it has a raft of community enhancements and developer updates/content. There are a few little niggles here and there, but for shooter and zombie fans, it is surely one to pick up.

Developer

Tripwire Interactive

Publisher

Tripwire Interactive

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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