I didn’t know much about Killing Floor 2 when I saw Tripwire Interactive’s demo for the game. I knew there was a first game, obvious by the “2” in the title of the latest game. I also knew it was a shooter where you fought against zombies and other weird looking monsters.
The six player co-op game is wonderfully bloody and difficult. It requires players to work together or everyone will die. There is a solo mode, but you would have to be ready for an insane challenge. Killing Floor 2 is releasing on Steam Early Access on April 21. This build will include three levels, four perk classes, twenty-seven weapons, eight playable characters, eleven zeds, and one boss. There will also be mod SDK support for custom levels.
Tripwire Interactive is very careful about releasing a polish build into Early Access. There’s still a lot of work to complete, but this section Killing Floor 2 is a great sample of what to expect from the finished game.
I don’t care about the story, but that’s OK
The story of Killing Floor 2 is kind of secondary to its gameplay, but explains the different environments. You play as a survivor in Europe, after “Horzine Biotech’s failed experiment has quickly spread and gained unstoppable momentum, essentially paralyzing the European Union.” In the demo, I played on a street in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. There was also a lab level and a base where you fought outside in the snow.
Before you start a game, you set the level, difficulty, and how many waves of “zeds,” or monsters, you will fight against. The number of zeds differ depending on the wave, but the highest I saw was over 120 monsters in one wave.
I like that bowler hat
There are different characters you can choose and customize. Customizations aren’t that in-depth. There’s no true character creator, but there are enough options so you can have recognizable characters. Customizations include different costume colors or accessories like hats or glasses. You also choose a class, that aren’t locked to specific characters (which is nice). The standard assault, medic, and support classes are available, but there’s also an amazing melee class called the Berserker who gets up in the faces of zeds and beats the crap out of them.
Killing Floor 2 has levels which are tied into the different perks. These perks are class-specific, but can give small buffs to yourself or your team. I asked how long it would take to get to level 25, the highest level, and I was told around 40 hours. You unlock new perks when you reach different levels and choose between two perk options. These perks are passive so you don’t have to activate them during combat.
Level 0 teaches you to work together
The first round of the demo had us playing as level 0 characters. I chose the support class, equipped with a shotgun and pistol. The first wave wasn’t a big problem since these zeds were mainly slow walking zombies. There were some bigger zeds with giant swords for an arm, but they weren’t that difficult to kill. But even with wave one, by the end I was running out of ammo and was forced to use a pistol.
You earn money after each wave and you run to an upgrade station as the between round counter falls. You use funds to buy new weapons, buy ammo, or body armor. A cool feature is that you can drop money for other players. This is important because you need to keep everyone alive..
Each class has different weapon upgrades. The support class gets different shotguns like a sawed-off double barrel shotgun up to a 20-round auto shotgun. You can also sell back old weapons for a little cash which makes sense because you are restricted by weight so you can’t carry everything.
Each wave gets more difficult. This is because Killing Floor 2 loves adding new kinds of zeds. Gigantic, fat, acid-spitting zeds, screaming harpy-like zeds, and ant-looking zeds all became the norm in the last few waves. The levels are designed so they can come from anywhere and staying together is very important.
The medic class can throw healing grenades to keep everyone alive. In the first round, we only lasted until wave six. Wave six had some of the biggest and most aggressive zeds in the game. They really enjoyed punching everyone in the face and targeting one player until they died.
By wave six, everyone had upgraded weapons and were fighting in different zones but the amount of zeds Killing Floor 2 released became overwhelming and anyone alone was picked off.
I love the Berserker
The second demo was playing at level 25 with all the perks unlocked. I decided to try the melee Berserker class. That class still gets a pistol, its primary weapon is a shovel. Melee is feels like Dead Island or Dying Light. Attacks are based on your movement. Run forward and you have a vertical attack. When strafing you attack from left and right. The secondary attacker for the Berserker is a heavy attack, which takes longer to wind up, but does more damage.
After a couple of rounds, I bought a sledgehammer with an attached shotgun. You don’t use the shotgun as gun, but use it to add power to the heavy attack swing. This is great for defending against a lane full of zeds.
It did take some getting used to fighting in close quarters, but with a medic behind me constantly healing I was able to defend a passage by myself while knocking the heads off zeds. It was very satisfying. The downside of the Berserker is if there isn’t a medic constantly healing you, you will die quickly.
The Berserker also gets some of the best weapons. The highest level weapon is a saw blade launcher. You can also use it as a melee attack, but that attack depletes the gas tank. You can fire the saw blades and they will ricochet off wall and hit anything in its path. You can also pick them back up to replenish your ammo.
At the very end of the demo, Tripwire offered to let us play the hardest difficulty, Hell on Earth. Even with level 25 characters, experiencing the insane amount of zeds was staggering. Tripwire said that they don’t simply add more zeds to each wave. Zeds are given new attacks that players haven’t seen before. As the Berserker, I only lasted two waves before I was killed. This was because close-quarters combat depleted my health faster than I could heal.
Blood and guts: a great experience
As someone fresh to Killing Floor 2, I found it a lot of fun. Working with your team is the only way to survive. I enjoyed the open level design too because even though there are recognizable lanes for zeds to appear, a lot of times they will climb out of places you didn’t expect.
The Early Access release is a small section of the full game, but I could play this mode for a long time. I’m looking forward to Killing Floor 2’s updates when more people jump into the cooperative madness and combat.
Killing Floor 2 will release on Steam Early Access on April 21, 2015. Retail price is $29.99 (US), ₤19.99 (UK), and €26.99 (EU). The game will be available for PC and SteamOS first with a PlayStation 4 release expected in the fall.
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