Title: Killing Floor 2
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4,Linux
Where To Buy: PlayStation Store, Steam
Considering its place in the zombie survival shooter genre, Killing Floor 2 already has something unique going for itself with the simplistic variety of gameplay. There are only two modes to choose from and because of that, actually playing through the twelve different locations in wave-based combat is an uncomplicated premise. With ruined buildings, barred off areas, and fields that have been completely reclaimed by nature, each location effectively contributes to the apocalyptic nature of the game.
As far as the simplicity of gameplay, one of the primary goals is the stave off the undead enemies known as Zeds, while smartly using the variety weapons in your arsenal for success. Where the real challenge comes in, and where Killing Floor 2 excels, is using the environment to your own advantage, as each level presents a great variety of pros and cons.
With the passing of each wave comes a different set of aggressive enemies, which culminates in a boss fight that offers healthy amounts of XP once they are defeated. On lower levels (and as with any game), boss fights can prove a challenge or just be downright annoying, especially with the first few games that are played. That fight to stay alive and learn the ins and outs of your environment, however, is what drives you to keep playing. And let’s be honest: killing wave after wave of zombies is just too much fun to ignore, especially with the well-curated heavy metal music to get you pumped for more.
Between these waves, players (this can include six or fewer people) can opt to spend the in-game money they’ve won on new weapons, armor, or more ammo. It’s best to spend wisely because the money goes fast. In between the waves is also a great moment to determine a new strategy for the next round, especially if you took a beating in the last wave. Tripwire put real thought into the layout of the levels, so while it may be frustrating to keep finding yourself backed into walls, cars, or little nooks without escape with Zeds viciously attacking you, players can be victorious by gaining a quick familiarity with the level design, and even find some spots for quick regrouping in between the running and shooting. Strategy and making good use of resources is key.
Killing Floor 2 has an actively engaged reward system that adds up each time you show your zombie-slashing skills and kill a Zed. It makes the gameplay addicting in a sense because you can watch your achievements and abilities stack up while you’re in the middle of battle, but actual progression and leveling up can prove to be a slow process. Moreso than the amount of Zeds you and your team kill, the real advancement lies in the way you apply the strengths of your character’s class to the battle or wave you’re in.
I personally found that my strength as a player was in the Field Medic perk (though I was confident I was the best Beserker on the field). The Medic puts a heavy emphasis on both close to long range combat and also comes with the responsibility of keeping the team alive and well-stocked. To all the Mercy’s and Lucios of the world, this could be your calling.
Each “perk” is unique and is suitable for a variety of players, but it’s really how you handle them during the waves that get your XP moving in the right direction. But even that takes a long time, as significant upgrades within a specific perk won’t necessarily happen after two or possibly even three matches. Because it can take a long time, this may or may not be the most appealing thing to players given that Killing Floor 2 is so basic in nature.
Don’t get me wrong: the novelty and excitement in the game are strong in the beginning, but playing wave after wave it starts to develop a lackluster, almost dry quality after a while. And though the type of Zeds that come with each wave are random, when you play enough times, it’s easy to develop a “seen one, seen ‘em all” type of sentiment. The real sense of accomplishment comes in finding ways to mix and match your weapons for success. Another win for Killing Floor 2 is that gameplay difficulties are adjusted depending on the number of people in your squad, though smaller levels can suffer from the high level of action and excitement that is typically found in a team of six.
One of the best aspects of Killing Floor 2 is that you aren’t tasked with protecting a specific goal or achieving any specific in-game goal. The only thing that matters is the Zeds running from every direction and your survival, as well as that of your teammates. With that kind of simplicity, it makes way for other aspects of the game to shine.
- Gameplay: Formulaic and simple but can be intense and high action with 3 or more players.
- Graphics: Crisp and clean. It’s great when things get messy messy after killing a horde Zeds.
- Sound: The heavy metal music works well in each environment and gets you pumped for zombie slashing.
- Presentation: Solid. Great variety of level designs but progression system is tedious. The novelty of the game wears off after a while.
- Great variety of locations to choose from
- Wave-based combat is fast paced and exciting, especially for larger groups.
- Limited variety of bosses
- Takes forever to learn new abilities
- Lackluster story doesn't support gameplay
Tori is a writer and gamer originally from Vault 111, but now she resides in Chicago. She has an MFA in creative writing-fiction, runs primarily on coffee, and is an expert on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Follow her on Twitter @torithatnerd.