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Killing Floor 2 (PC) artwork

Killing Floor 2 (PC) review


"It's gruesome, satisfying and over the top like a Tarantino film"


Killing Floor started out as a mod for UT2k4 back in 2005. I had some fun with it then but I didn't take it as seriously, when UT was still popular. Fast forward 2009 the retail version of KF came out. There were bunch of games that use this type of design, including Left 4 Dead and various modes for Call of Duty.

None of them really hold a candle to Killing Floor. This is a co-op survival wave shooter. You either play solo or up to 6 people (more with modified servers). You can play short (4), medium (7) or long (10) waves per game. Amount of people, difficulty set and number of waves will determine how many zeds (the experiments) you face as well as how much money bonus you get at the end of the round. There are four difficulties. Normal, hard, suicidal and Hell on Earth. Normal beyond easy enough to do with one hand, and Hell on Earth being quite gripping and ear pounding intense.

In this game you currently have 10 perks. I doubt they will add more but you never know. Each perk specializes in something (well minus survivalist). Some perks play so differently from one another that it might as well feel like a different game. Swinging a sword with a berserk, lighting things on fire with firebug or blowing through hordes with a shotgun. As you kill you gain experience wich makes perks level up. Every perk gains passive benefits each level as well as every 5 levels you unlock a skill choice, enabling different builds within perk specialization. Overall it's simple, but with plenty of content and depth to amuse gamers from both casual end of the spectrum to the hardcore number crunching kind that will know exactly how many S&W .500 shots will kill a Scrake in 6m Hell on Earth game.

Anyway the game type is rather simple. You kill zeds to get xp and money. At the end of the round you spend the money at the trader. You go into next round. Final round you fight one of two currently available bosses. That is it. There is a versus mode but I personally don't play KF for that. This type of design makes it simple to either hop into a match play some and hop out without any attachments. Most of the accomplishments are on personal level, how good you are and what you managed to clear. Leveling perks is not as grind intensive as first game (well minus the custom map exploits). Getting a perk to a reasonable level of power doesn't take long, and even maxing one out is not too bad, as long as you play suicidal or hell on earth difficulty.

I normally don't discuss graphics, or such aesthetics because they are wildly subjective. I will however have to note their gore system. Inspired by games such as Soldier of Fortune, they took to heart to make weapons feel powerful as you blow away chunks from zeds. You will see brains, guts, skin, blood, body fluid and streets painted with blood. It's gruesome, satisfying and over the top like a Tarantino film. Blowing off heads goes without saying, but there are many types of obliteration, dismemberment, even microwaving zeds to death.

The other really neat feature they did is actual weapon animations and handling. From reload animations to actual gun animations are just superb. This is one HELL of attention to detail. If you ever shot real guns before this will certainly impress over what most of the time games do. Ejection ports are on correct side, brass actually doesnt hit you in the face when you shoot. You can see the barrel jerk under strain of a lot of fire (zed time especially). Cylinders of revolvers rotate. Idle animations have characters check the magazine for rounds, and actually have the kind of mags that can show this quickly. Different reload animations depending how much rounds is spent (for example a dry mag fed handgun will need to be racked, while if it wasn't dry they just replace the magazine) While the ballistic performance of the firearms doesn't reflect reality (for game balance) the cosmetic aesthetic attention to detail they put in is astonishing.

If I had to nitpick and say few things that aren't on track I'd say their balancing is not always on point. Over time they have gotten it into a very good state, but some design choices are noticeable that can feel off. All perks feel powerful and with a certain role but you will get issue with say Firebug hampering others' game because they can't aim from all the particle effects of zeds dancing around from fire. Or you will have some perks feel like a one man army (berserker) while others require a lot effort or setup with teammates (like say Sharpshooter). Then there is a survivalist that is supposed to be a jack of all trades, but just ends up as "why didn't you pick that perk instead", mixing and matching stuff doesn't work as well as focusing on one good thing. The other thing I'd nitpick is that the sound is not always on point. Some guns sound amazing (like M14EBR), and some sound like I'm shooting bbs (like the stoner LMG)

This game does one thing, you shoot a shit ton of zeds (monsters, experiments etc). It's relaxing, therapeutic or whatever you wish to call it. The co-operative nature of it is as strong as ever. The variety in how you want to play is quite substantial at this point. There are MANY guns to choose from and many ways to kill and blow shit up. This is probably the best 'shoot 'em in the head' simulator out there.

4/5

pHmmSNAKE's avatar
Community review by pHmmSNAKE (April 18, 2017)

All in due time.

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