If you’re looking for a game that mixes the relentless hordes of Left 4 Dead with the cartoon-ish characters and over-the-top arsenal of Team Fortress then Killing Floor 2 may be up your undead-infested alley. A super-fun run-and-gun for almost none of the family!
Killing Floor 2 is that classic story of evil corporation meets the world. Taking place only a month after the first game, the outbreak caused by Horzine Biotech’s failed experiment has ravaged the world and destroyed any semblance of humanity. All military and government enforcement has been dissolved and continental Europe is now a playground for the specimen clone bio-weapons that run rampant and unchecked through its streets. The only hope for mankind now lies in the few mercenaries and civilians that remain; establishing private mercenary companies to track and combat specimen outbreaks as they arise. You are one such mercenary.
A pretty standard first person shooter that drops you into the middle of the craziness. This is one of those easy pick-up-and-play games; totally intuitive, I was in and blowing off heads within minutes of start-up. Playable both online with up to 6 other players or in the offline solo mode, Killing Floor 2 throws wave after wave of zombie-like creatures (called Zeds) into the path of your bullet in a number of thrilling game modes. Players can earn cash by killing enemies which they can then spend between waves on armour, ammo and a huge array of weaponry; from the simplistic shovel and pistol to the more excitable selection of assault rifles, shotguns and more. The Rail Gun was a personal favourite.
Much like Left 4 Dead, the Zeds come in a variety of gut-wrenching flavours. The shambling Cysts make for great cannon fodder while the bladed Gorefiends can render you mincemeat in seconds, and the Husks may even fire back. After you’re done sending every wave of Zeds back to hell, the end of the round sees you or your squad face down the boss. The relentless charge of the undead will certainly keep you on your toes and require you to adapt with different weapon choices to best fit the situation. All the while, the game goads you on with a great soundtrack of everything from electronic to rock and heavy metal (and everything in-between).
The roster of mercenaries available to the player are as mad and trigger happy as you’d expect; with everything from a Police SWAT member to a medieval knight, all with an assortment of player classes to upgrade and accessories to customise to your personal preference. Killing Floor 2 overall encourages variation in your play style; whether you’re the revolver-spinning gunslinger type or maybe prefer the efficient quick-scoping style of spec ops, or hell maybe you just want to run around and bash in some brains with a big hammer? There’s a bit of something for all tastes. Skill and precision is rewarded with the slow-motion bullet time mode simply named “ZED-time”, a nice touch that could well save your life in a pinch.
Killing Floor 2 could have the potential to be a lot of fun; the kind of thing you’d play with friends over a beer and a slice of pizza or when you’ve got a spare few minutes in your day to blow something up. Unfortunately it doesn’t support local co-op so you’re forced to play online with friends and strangers, a bit of a misstep by the developers. It handles like any shooter you’ve come across, if perhaps a little clunky in places. If you’re a fan of Call of Duty zombies or Doom then chances are you’ll enjoy this game; although it isn’t anything new and won’t defy the genre in new and exciting ways, you’ll have a laugh at the slew of badly written puns spewed by your character as you just blew that horde to sloppy bits with a nail bomb. The sophisticated French AI complementing your every move as you go is just icing on the cake.
In terms of replay value, you could say Killing Floor 2 has it. Once you’ve played one map you’ve basically played them all. However, if you’re committed enough, you can keep replaying maps with friends, buying weapons and upgrading classes for each character to your heart’s content. There’s certainly plenty to do, if you don’t mind grinding.
My main gripe with this game, which it’s fair to say is quite general as gripes go, is that there’s not much strategy involved here. Sure, you can seal doors and set traps; but more often you just shoot at them, more or less aiming for the head. There’s a Cyst shambling toward you? Shoot them. There’s a Bloat vomiting on you? Shoot them. The varying strength and impressiveness of the weapons is really more for window decoration than actual function; an SMG for a small Zed, a big gun for a big Zed. It is the kind of game you could play at 3 a.m, drunk off your skull and chewing on something deep-fried, and that’s not a bad thing by any stretch! I’ll probably end up doing just that at some point in the future. As for the rest of the time, it’s a point and shoot. Pure and simple.
So the final verdict; is Killing Floor 2 worth buying? It’s a tough call. It’s ultimately a game best suited to online play, and it may as well not have the offline solo mode. If you’re already a fan of Killing Floor, you’ll enjoy the step-up in graphics and gimmicks offered by the sequel. If you just want to grab a grotesquely fun zombie shoot ‘em up for you own personal enjoyment, sure, but you could probably do better without straying too far from the same price range. Like so many games of this genre; it’s something we’ve seen before, and it’s very much a matter of preference.
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