+Intuitively designed class-based system that brings out the importance of each role
+Weapon designs are intriguing, creative, and overly fun
+The gore system puts almost every game to date to shame
+Each level has multiple layers, which ensures no fight is the same
+Character personalities are great and wildly amusing
+Team work is an absolute must
+Rock solid control schemes that transition well from PC to console
–Needs more cowbell (not really, we’ll pretend this con doesn’t exist)
-Micro-transactions for chest keys could deter some players.
If you’re like me, you’ve begun to groan over the Zombie trope. It’s one that has become overdone across every medium possible. Want to watch a good TV drama with some zombie humor? iZombie has you covered. Want to watch Negan cave in a man’s skull and be grossed out beyond recognition? The Walking Dead has you covered. Want to cooperatively run for your life from zombies? Resident Evil has that covered.
Want to just shoot your way through hordes between checkpoints? Left 4 Dead has that covered. Want a good book? The Forest of Hands and Teeth has that covered too. It’s a trope that has been overplayed over the years. It’s one trope that you would think could never be made to entertain and immerse players ever again due to its overused ideology.
However, what if a company like Tripwire Interactive decided to come in like the Koolaid man through the metaphorical wall and come in with a new concept within a worn out genre? Welcome to their newly released game on PlayStation 4 and just released it’s non-Early Access patch on PC titled Killing floor 2. The game isn’t shy about not having a true story unless you really want to look into it, but who cares, right? That’s something the game even presents itself to do. It doesn’t give a damn. It’s all about Zed chunks flying in the air, a few friends, and some hardcore Rock and Roll.
This alone makes the game difficult to review due to its unique approach on the cooperative genre that’s been done before, but manages to one-up the rest of the genre, and does so with brilliant success. If you wanted a description of the game, I couldn’t feasibly give you one since the game itself is uniquely profound and makes itself something entirely new the world has never seen before. The best way to describe it? Pick one of ten Perks (classes), learn to use it, and help your cooperative friends blow zombie chunks sky high during each wave.
For players unfamiliar with this style of game, Killing floor 2 isn’t shy of its tutorial in order for you to learn to play. It describes full-force what you need to do. Kill Zeds, keep your armor up, your ammo full, and make sure your team is buddied up with different Perks to ensure that your Perks correspond with one another. If you are one for headsets, it’s highly suggested to do some as randomly playing with other players is an option here, but I’ve discovered players rarely opt-in for using their mics. Luckily, that wasn’t the case when I managed to team up with a few other journalists, a few of the devs, and post-launch players that stick around.
However, if your case isn’t like mine, the game uses something a bit rudimentary but works quite well: a character call out system. While it sounds a bit archaic, Killing Floor 2 manages to do this quite well as characters will call out what Zeds are where and what one to focus on. If you aren’t like me and have the lyric options for the music up and other all volumes lowered down. Can we say Demon Hunter for the win? The callout system works quite well as the game has characters call out anything from a few Clots (the lowest of the zombie chain) to the hulking Fleshpound’s whom will do just as their name begins to describe quite well.
During your time, you’ll come to choose one of ten perks possible to develop, at a time that is and can switch between them at any given time between each wave. Players can choose between multiple classes such as the tank-like Berserker and the games pyromaniac class Firebug. The classes widely range from the game’s Support, which feeds ammo to the team, while backing up the Demolitionist, which makes sure its explosive barrages dismember as many Zeds as possible.
If you’re unsure which perk is best, it’s not uncommon to switch between them all after each wave, or simply play one per lobby to find the one that scratches that itch that is your play style. If you’re worried about experience towards one perk while using another, that isn’t the case within Killing Floor 2 as the game offers a small amount of experience towards other certain perks while playing another. While this seems dumbfounding, it’s the games way of helping you discover what class fits your play style best.
Once you have a feel for the game, Killing floor 2 is a rather enjoyable title, one that requires little-to-no experience in its genre to play. The strength of the game comes from several components that range from natural stories created while playing with friends to the carefully crafted gunplay system that features Zed Time. As you go through each perk, players will find that each gun comes with its own satisfactory gameplay and aiming the guns will be quite easy to anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter.
Unlike many shooters in the genre, Killing Floor 2, as stated is based on survival. It follows steps many may recognize from Halo 3: ODST with the game’s Firefight, which pitted players against a set amount of waves before they were extracted and would pit them against increasingly difficult waves to face off against. This is similar to what Killing Floor 2 does. Much like the previous title, Killing Floor 2 focuses on its class systems, but the wave system as well.
Each lobby will differentiate between what Perks are needed and how they will be used. Some lobbies may consist of a Berserker, Commando, Swat, Survivalist, Demolitionist, and a Field Medic. To some, this set up is ideal and will take players through each-wave and each difficulty depending on how well the group works together to stay alive. At the end of the set waves chosen, this varies between sets of 4, 7, and 10, they will encounter bosses such as megalomaniac The Patriarch or the over-self-centered Dr. Hans Volter. Both of these bosses bring in different encounters as each has their own fighting style.
The Patriarch varies between close to mid-range in order to take players out. However, due to his ego, he has a tendency to call out his plan of attack, which can give players a fighting edge against him. On the other perspective, we have Hans Volter who ranges from all ranges of combat. Most commonly a massive amount of area of effect brought on by his gas canisters that will kill players that stand in them for long. In turn, he also likes close range where he will run at players, drain their health, and focus on regenerating himself in order to dispatch groups of players all in one swift go.
Between each “healing” period, bosses will call in a horde of additional enemies for players to kill off in the process. As players level, they will find themselves coming to the more enjoyable segments of the game, which is the new difficulties, such as my favorite, “Hell on Earth”. To adjust for the change in difficulty changes, the games change into something new as the game goes through. They change from instances of being mindless drools to hyper-aggressive mutations that will feature new ways of attacking, new abilities, and increased health to make players fight even harder.
Luckily, each difficulty warrants a new level in your perks to adjust to the increased difficulty. Players will find themselves on Normal from Perk levels 0 to 6 before moving on to Hard, which features perks 6-12, before Suicidal which is from 12 and up, and Hell on Earth, which advises perk level 25 to play. If you find yourself weary of PvE, Killing Floor 2 offers up a creatively fun PvP mode, which some may note, resembles that of Left 4 Dead‘s PvP, which offers up a group of players playing as Zombies versus a group of survivors. The same thing happens here in the games amazingly fun, but challenging 6v6.
Just like in the PvE mode, players will find themselves choosing their Perks while playing as survivors, and as Zeds they are randomly assigned to a living Zed. However, their Zed is not standard as one would think it would be. Instead, players find themselves taking control of a mutated form of Clots, Crawlers, Stalkers, Gorefasts, and much more in their time of playing. This portion of the game, outside of PvE’s amazingly addictive cooperative experience, is where the game begins to shine on a cooperative pace. Let alone do players need to work together, they have to learn how to overcome these mutated variants, and how to work together to do so.
Killing Floor 2 – PC (Reviewed) and PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Deep Silver (Physical Copies PS4)
Release Date: Now Available
Just like in the PvE mode, at the end of a set amount of waves/rounds, players will find themselves possibly taking on a player controlled boss, which changes the combat pacing quite a bit. Just like the PvE mode, the boss can run off, heal, and challenge players to an Evolve style outing as they face off for who wins and who loses. The downside here, the players do, at times, find themselves outnumbered due to the ability these new mutations have and could find themselves quickly dismembered if they aren’t working together and communicating.
Whether it’s from the Hellish landscape of the map Infernal Realm, which seems highly inspired by DOOM or the seemingly inspired by Resident Evil map Biotics Lab. Killing Floor 2 remains strongly unique from gameplay designs, to graphical design, and the multilayered maps that ensure no-one-session is the same designs. It is one game that could easily draw fans in and keep them there for a while thanks to the games pick-up-and-play style that feeds its replayability quite a bit as players unlock new clothing options for their characters. If you’re wanting a game that will keep you busy for days to come Killing Floor 2 might be right up your alley, especially if new maps begin to head our way through the community. For now? Frag on my friends. Frag on and don’t forget to turn the lyrics on for the music in the options menu.
Our review is based on a retail version of the game given to us by the publisher of the game. For our review, we used a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200RPM HDD and a custom built PC. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you