Killing Floor Story:
Killing Floor won’t be picking up any awards for an intriguing, character building storyline any time soon. The game does have a back story but you’re never told it via cut scenes or fancy intros. In fact the only way to discover the story is by playing the game itself and reading inscriptions on the walls, floors and ceilings of the various levels. Each character also has it’s own biography with hints at the game backstory inside them.
The basic idea is, an ‘evil’ corporation known as Horzine has been creating nasty biological weapons. Problem is, they escaped and are now running wild all over the UK. Sounds similar to Resident Evil but unlike the zombies in that series, the so-called Zeds or Specimens in Killing Floor are clones created by Horzine themselves. They all come in various flavors and the Zed’s backgrounds can be explained in the various levels such as ‘Wyre’ which showcases the creation of the Stalkers, nasty, invisible women who’s sole aim is to gut you.
So we have the back story explained what is the actual goal of the game then? Well it’s simple. You and up to 5 buddies are to enter an area and clear up any and all Specimens which enter the area in Waves (Of which there are maximum of 10). If you clear all the wave’s you get introduced to the ‘creator’ and master of the Specimens, the Patriarch, a huge monstrosity that truly requires teamwork to bring down. After all that mad shooting, healing and running away you’re rewarded with an Achievement via Steamworks and that’s that.
Score: 6/10 – Nothing fantastic but then again, it doesn’t need to be.
Killing Floor Sound:
Some people, like Sannas will say audio is not important in a game like this. Well you’re wrong. Simple as that. Audio is vital. Audio can save your life. It can alert you, if you listen carefully to a Fleshpound hidden around the next corner or a Siren’s scream from behind. Not only that but Zed’s knocking down doors give off distinct sounds meaning you can surmise what’s behind it and plan around that Intel. The fantastic background music also fit’s the mood of the frantic team play that take’s place within the game. Whilst it’s nothing spectacular just like the story, it doesn’t have to be. It’s not one of those AAA, multi-million pound games that require a massive sound budget. It works and does its job well.
Score: 8/10 - Brilliant sound effects and fantastic heart pounding music. Unfortunately not enough variation on the music side.
Killing Floor Graphics:
Whilst the Unreal Engine is capable of throwing out amazing environments now, Killing Floor was made with Unreal 2.5 not the latest 3.5 which shows in the effects and environments. However don’t despair as actually the game can and does look fantastic. There is a configurable option for almost everything graphical in the game meaning you can tailor it to your hardware and get the best performance out of it. Even my girlfriend’s laptop can run it with it’s awful hardware so any machine of the last 5-6 years can handle it.
It use’s all the features that were available to the Unreal 2.5 Engine with Projectors, Karma physics and Ragdoll included. With very detailed model’s for the specimens and fantastic animations they really do look the part as a cloned specimen.
Map’s have some nice detail and look great as a post-outbreak London and the surrounding areas with a grungy, dark feel. There are also some recognizable UK associated items such as the Red Double Decker buses and the classic Telephone Box style.
An important thing to remember though is, the game is a little dated and was developed on a slightly older engine, but to prove this engine is still capable of developing huge AAA games check out what powered Splinter Cell: Conviction. Unfortunately it does mean I’ll mark it down just slightly for the graphics.
Score: 7/10 – A little dated but by no mean’s ugly. Will still show you a thing or two with it’s fantastic models and animations.
Killing Floor Gameplay:
Take Dead Rising’s decapitation’s, mix in some Left 4 Dead style gun play and add in a Tower Defense wave system and you get… yip, you guessed it. Killing Floor. That’s the simplistic view of the game at least and probably the most true and descriptive I can make it. However it has to have something to make it fun, addictive and downright enjoyable. Which it does. It’s the fact the game is so simple to play that make’s it enjoyable.
You start by picking a Perk, which are interchangeable between waves, that give bonuses to certain weapon use or armor and damage. Each Perk has 6 level’s that can be earned by using the weapons attached to the Perks requirement such as the Bullpup or Scar to level the Commando Perk. As the Perk level’s you gain increases to existing bonuses and earn new bonuses that compliment the Perk. Eventually at level 5 and 6 of a Perk you earn the right to spawn with a weapon other then the Pistol chosen by the Perk. For example a level 6 Sharpshooter spawn’s with a Crossbow which is fantastic on harder settings for controlling the amount of Zed’s you can run in to.
Once a Perk has been selected and the round start’s, you get a few second’s to get into your chosen positions and formulate plan’s with teammates, if you have any that is. Once the timer is up you get a wave of Zeds. Depending on the difficulty of the map and the number of player’s you have you could be facing anything from 15 Zeds to 90+ Zeds on the first wave and that number increases with later waves.
Each kill you make earns you cash which can be saved up to buy bigger and better weapons such as the AA12 Shotgun or the LAW Rocket Launcher. Cash can be spent during the short break’s between wave’s known as the Trader time. Trader’s are dotted around various location’s of the map and change location after every wave to stop player’s from holding up in one spot the whole game. Due to the expensive nature of some weapon’s player’s have the option to pool cash together to buy a weapon for a player and the game wholly supports team play, so much so in fact that the more difficult settings are all but impossible without a decent set of squad-mates with you.
After surviving the increasing number of Zeds across the wave’s including bigger and more powerful versions such as the Fleshpounder and Scrake you’ll eventually come across the ‘Boss’ of the game, The Patriarch. The Patriarch is a 9 foot tall humanoid with a Gatling Gun attached to his arm along with a Rocket Launcher and a massive Tentacle in his chest for melee attacks. He get’s the largest amount of health out of any Zed and like the rest of the game get’s more health and damage depending on the number of player’s in the match as well as difficulty. Oh, he also has the ability to heal to full health up to 3 time’s (Which can be interrupted) and cloak to become invisible in which to sneak up on unsuspecting squads. This guy take’s a lot of damage to put down and can easily wipe out an inexperienced or unprepared squad.
So, as you can see, it really does have simplistic yet detailed gameplay. I’m aware that doesn’t make sense but play the game yourself and you’ll see. With the choice of 7 Perks and over 30 weapon’s including the Katana, M32 Grenade Launcher and Flamethrower there are a variety of tactics available to player’s to try and a great choice of maps to test them on.
Of course, a game of this nature does suffer from repetitiveness if overplayed and unfortunately there is only one boss which is a shame. A pool of bosses would of been nice and forced people to have some variation in their end game tactics to allow for a random boss.
Score: 8/10 – Fast paced, addictive gameplay however it gets repetitive after a while.
Killing Floor Content:
Whilst there’s an option for a Single Player mode it’s the exact same mode as Multi Player in every shape and form. So use the SP as a training ground if you will or an extreme challenge on the harder settings.
There are a total of 20 map’s all different in play style and design with some being wide open and others tight knit corridor mazes. All have their own achievements attached to them thanks to Steamworks and offer some re-playability once beaten to get the harder achievements.
With 7 Perks all offering their own play styles and bonuses over 6 levels, there’s a good variety and plenty of scope to them and at least all of them should be tried especially with the amount of weapons that are available to hand that some Perks can make better use of then others.
Tripwire also make use of a good DLC system by releasing free maps and special time sensitive events which are supported by non-gameplay changing paid for character packs. The Character packs are just alternative skins that offer some change to the existing ones and don’t affect gameplay in the slightest.
There is also the SDK tool’s allowing people to make their own maps and model’s as well as change the gameplay and balance of weapons and Zeds. So much so in fact that Tripwire has created a special white-list that allows some of these custom mods and maps to be played whilst still leveling your perks and some offer a greater challenge then the existing maps.
Score: 8/10 – Lack of variable Bosses doesn’t spoil Tripwire’s commitment to free map DLC which is an idea that the bigger studios should look at doing.
Killing Floor Overall:
A fantastic and addictive survival co-op game. Kept up to date by official map releases long after the game’s release and supported by a large, active community. This is a game I whole heartedly recommend and is a must have for those that love co-op game’s that truly support team play as well as those that love killing Zeds/Zombies.