After posting my first impressions last week I now feel like I’ve played the game long enough to write a complete review. So here it is, my first impressions compiled into a review :
Killing Floor is a first person, co-op survival horror shooter that is based on the UT2k4 mod of the same name. However, for the commercial release Tripwire Interactive (the guys behind Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45) promise to have greatly improved the production value and gameplay aspects of the mod so it can be a competing product in todays market. Featuring co-op gameplay and zombies, which seem to be all the rage (no pun intended) at the moment and with a self called “agressive pricing strategy” behind their back, can they deliver?
Solo Mode Gameplay on the West London map
First off let me say that I have never played the original UT2k4 modification. I’ve heard about it several times and seen it on some websites, but not being active in the UT2k4 community I’ve never played any mods based on it. Red Orchestra was an instant buy for me when it came out because I love slower paced, more realistic approaches when it comes to shooters. Not being disappointed by Tripwires first offering I began looking forward to Killing Floor when it was announced last month.
The game has been out for a week now and has topped the Steam Sales charts – not a bad start. On paper, the game features nearly everything that’s “in” at the moment: Zombies, online Co-Op, a perk system with persistent leveling and enough gore to put it on the radar of Germanys rating board. Though I guess you don’t have to try hard to achieve this status. All it’s missing is a cover system.
The gameplay consists of you and up to 5 other players being dropped into a map, killing zombies. Lot’s of zombies. Contrary to Left 4 Dead, you’re not playing a string of maps that result in a campaign. You’re staying on the map you start on until the very end while pre-set numbers of waves of enemies are trying to overwhelm you. The number and difficulty of the waves can be fully customized – you can even choose which enemy types spawn in which wave and how the enemies are multiplied if you play with more people. However, this mode disables the use of the perk system, as games have to be played under the “official” rules in order for the perks to work. The official rules include four difficulty levels and three different wave lenghts. After completing a wave you’re able to buy new weapons at a trader which randomly spawns at one of different, pre-set locations on the map. The shop features 13 different weapons, ranging from your standard fare shotguns and pistols, to more exotic weapons like a crossbow and a Lever-Action rifle. The guns feel satisfying and are fun to use. The only problem is that if you pick up two pistols of the same kind, you’re only able to use them akimbo style and are no longer able to choose just one pistol. This is a real problem if you’re trying to shoot at far away targets, or when trying to save ammunition. It’s a real mystery why the developers thought this way a good idea.
The perk system features six different classes to choose from, each with their own unique bonusses, mostly weapon related damage boosts and discounts at the trader. You level up through completing one or two given tasks for each class – for example in order to level up your sniper rank you have to score a certain number of headshots. The required number to accomplish these different tasks continues to rise so rapidly, it gets almost ridiculous. On the first level you have to get 100 headshots. The second level already asks for 700. Every perk has five levels so you can spend some considerable time on leveling these up. Perks can be switched during matches, though the changes only take affect after you completed a wave.
Enemy types range from smaller, fast zombies that grab you, to crawling, leaping hunters. The bigger enemies consists of a fat, vomiting zombie, a guy with a chainsaw arm and the “Fleshpound”, an enemy with spinning bludgeons on both of its arms. Some of these types sound familiar, eh?
After completing all of the waves the “Patriach” spawns, the boss zombie and former scientist that presumably created the zombies. He carries a minigun and rocket launcher and can heal and cloak himself. Here’s another problem of the game:
At the moment this enemy is slightly overpowered. A team which has no problems at all to complete ten waves of enemies just gets raped by the Patriarch. Out of about 20 times I reached him so far, we were only able to defeat him about five times. That’s frustrating.
A montage of Co-Op gameplay
The graphics are definitely “okay” for an Unreal Engine 2.5 game, though it can’t hold up with newer titles. Especially the lightning effects on the nighttime Farm map are just look downright ugly. Sound effects are also okay, the weapons all sound satisfying, though voice acting is horrible. Mr. Sterling certainly wouldn’t approve the bad english accent the characters use. The music that plays during fights is rather good, it’s a metal/industrial mix that accompanies the action quite well.
Overall the game is fun to play in short bursts – after three days my interest started to fade and I couldn’t play for hours, like I did on release day. When played in these short bursts though, the game is a lot of mindless fun. Playing this with friends is just an overall good time. The Mod SDK is already released so the game should spawn some Mods and Maps in the coming months. Big respects goes to the developer and their pricing – 20$ is just the right price for this game.