There comes a time every now and again in gaming where a certain type of game is needed, a game that could fill a slight gap in the market, a game that you probably didn’t know was needed until you played it, really enjoyed it and found yourself becoming hooked on it immediately. That game is Killing Floor 2 and it’s just been released on Xbox One after a pretty successful and very well received release on PC.
Set in a post apocalyptic time where the world has been taken over by undead creatures, or in this case Zeds, Killing Floor 2 offers players an experience that hasn’t really been seen since the days of Left 4 Dead on the Xbox 360. It is a co-op game where up to 6 players can team up online to take on waves of Zeds where teamwork and survival go hand in hand as you work through the 17 maps available, increasing your level and perks as you go. There are 10 classes that can be used in the game and each one offers unique skills, loadouts and perks which you level up as you play and choose the best ones that match your play style.
There are various styles of Zeds that you will encounter throughout the waves and these are clearly influenced by other games in this genre and each species has its own level of difficulty and skill set that you have to be aware of. The Clots are the weakest of the Zeds and the easiest to get rid of but each one after that gets more difficult to kill and they all have unique abilities that require different tactics to kill. The most difficult to kill outside of the bosses is the Fleshpound as it charges at you with rapid rotating bladed fists that take away a lot of your energy if you’re not careful and these Fleshpounds can take quite a lot of damage and time to kill. Each of these Zeds have their own creepy unique look to them and they all sound just as freaky as they look.
Killing Floor 2 is predominantly an online game but there is an offline single player mode in there too that is unfortunately just a solo version of the multiplayer mode and no where near as fun. I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t any kind of a story campaign involved, even if there was just a little story that was incorporated into the single player waves but it is a very small criticism as the online multiplayer is where it’s at its best and certainly offers the most fun. Online performance is solid throughout and I never had to wait long at all to jump in to a game with random players online and private games with friends was even quicker to get organised and just as good with its performance.
There was no lag in any of the matches that I played and there wasn’t any disconnects either and this was all in place from the get go with no release day hitches or drops at all which the developers should take a lot of credit for. There is also a PvP mode where players battle each other with one team taking control of the Zeds and the other team as the humans and performance here was just as good and just as fun to play as the survival mode too. This mode consists of two rounds where teams will swap over from being the Zeds or the humans and the game is scored based on the two rounds combined with the rounds being won either by the Zeds wiping out all of the humans or the humans killing the boss. It’s certainly a fast and frantic mode that plays different than the regular survival mode, especially when taking control of the Zeds, but it’s definitely just as fun.
There isn’t much to fault Killing Floor 2’s gameplay as it plays really well overall with movement being very smooth and shooting controls being pretty tight and finely tuned throughout. The shooting is well balanced and is responsive enough to cope with quick turns or frantic escapes if needed. There is a neat slow motion moment that triggers when you hit repeated head shots or execute multi kills and seeing Zeds explode or rip in two with blood splattering everywhere in slow motion is a sight to behold, it’s both brutal and brilliant. The melee side to the gameplay is also really good to control and applies mainly to the Berserker class which is a melee based class where close combat is key to not only surviving but also levelling up and gaining new perks and bigger, stronger melee weapons to battle through the hordes of Zeds.
It’s a joy to play overall and I’m finding it hard to criticise any aspects of the gameplay but if I had to highlight one thing it would be that the jumping seems a little redundant, it’s not very useful and if anything hindered me escaping a few times when I got stuck behind a vehicle or some other section of the map that I found difficult to jump over to escape but that’s just a very minor criticism to what is otherwise a finely tuned gameplay experience. Other aspects to the gameplay are your weapon choices and weight management too as there is only a certain amount of items that you can carry. Each wave earns you money depending on how many Zeds you kill and you use this to buy bigger badder weapons and other things like grenades and body armour to cope with the more difficult later waves. The levelling up of the classes works seamlessly and each one is linked when using a weapon from a another class that you’re using as well. How this works is it will not only award XP for the class you’re playing as but it will also award XP to the class that the weapon you bought to use originates from so you can level up your other classes just by using their weapons, which is a nice little feature.
Visually Killing Floor 2 is a decent looking game and each map has its own unique look to it with its own art style and themed setting applied to it too. The atmosphere is well captured and the level design is big, open and really well designed with lots of variation that can be explored and if you do decide to explore then you may find some secret collectibles in there too. The visuals aren’t going to blow you away with their detail but they’re pretty good nonetheless, although I did find that there were some inconsistencies with texture mapping throughout some of the maps where some look better than others. There were also a couple of slight frame rate dips in performance when there was a lot of busy activity on screen all at once but it only happened a handful of times and certainly didn’t impact the fun I was having with it.
One thing that really stood out visually though was the sheer amount of blood and gore on show here. It isn’t just a case of when blood is spilt it slowly fades away, no, it stays there and by the time you finish all of the waves in each round the map will look like one big blood bath. There is one particular map situated around a base in a snowy environment where you can freely go outside if you wish and it all looks pristine at the start with nice white snowy grounds but by the time you get to the last wave, the snow is completely blood drenched and plastered with guts everywhere, brilliant stuff. The audio is also really good with a pumping soundtrack and cheesy quirky one liners that sound like they’re straight out of an 80’s action blockbuster. There is a great map called Tragic Kingdom that has a fantastic nasty remix of the famous circus theme called “Step Right Up” that plays while you slaughter Zeds in the fairground and its just brilliant and fits incredibly well.
There is a lot to like about Killing Floor 2 and if you’ve been waiting for something to step in to the shoes of Left 4 Dead then you can’t go wrong with this game. There is a fair bit of depth to it despite there being no single player campaign and it gets all of its enjoyment from the online multiplayer either with your mates or even random players too. The levelling system isn’t revolutionary but is fairly detailed none the less and will keep XP enthusiasts fairly happy but what this game does is it brings back some good old online multiplayer fun that doesn’t rely on over the top competitiveness and is just all about mates getting online and having a laugh while annihilating sone Zeds along the way.
The value for money on offer here isn’t bad at all with plenty of maps to keep you entertained and a fair few classes to level up and play through if you wish to mix things up a bit. You can customise your character with cosmetics you can unlock throughout and some are available straight away and are exclusive to the Xbox One version of the game. I must state though that there are micro transactions involved in the form of crates which you can pay to get the keys for but these do not impact the game at all and only offer cosmetic items with an option to just recycle them and get some crafting items if you don’t want to unlock them by paying. I have really enjoyed my time with Killing Floor and I will most certainly be jumping back in from time to time, especially when the 4K patch is released in the near future as the developers have confirmed it will be enhanced for the Xbox One X
A download code was provided for this review by the developer/publisher