When the first Killing Floor came out around 2009, I didn’t really expect that much. After all, it was another mod from the Unreal Tournament 2004. However, it had changed a lot from the first release in 2005. It was almost a brand new game with all the power that Unreal engine could deliver six years ago.
Last year, John Gibson, the head honcho of Tripwire, announced a sequel to one of their most beloved games (Red Orchestra being the other), and an Early Access came out on Steam a few weeks ago.
Killing Floor 2
At the time, there’s not much more than a Waves Survival mode and three maps with four classes, called Perks (Field Medic, Commando, Support, and Berserker) who have different weaponry and stats. Between Waves you can re-stock your ammo or buy new weapons on the Commerce Pods, but beware, if you buy a gun that belongs to other Perk, you won’t gain experience.
After playing years in just a couple of maps of Counter Strike with two weapons (De-Dust 2, Inferno, Ak 47 and Desert Eagle) I couldn’t complain and It was quite enough to spend a couple of good, fun, lag free hours, surrounded of hardcore and metal music provided from bands like ‘Living Sacrifice’ and ‘Impending Doom’. The three maps are quite large, while not that detailed yet. There’s the ‘Biotics Lab’, which is a normal lab with exteriors. Then there is ‘Burning Paris’, a map between the ruins of the ‘City of Lights’ (the most rounded up), and ‘Outpost’, and icy map where you can check how awesome is the technology designed for making bloodstains more real. Tripwire actually did that. They created a whole new tech called M.E.A.T. (Massive Evisceration and Trauma) that it’s a system to make goriness believable. Blood in the map is a trademark of Killing Floor, and you can actually tell. The ‘Outpost’ map gets a fresh red dyed after waves and waves of zomb… I mean Zeds. You start in a mostly white, snowy environment, to finish in a scarlet red river. They have also improved the amount of dismemberment points of the enemy’s bodies from five to twenty-freaking-two. I made the test by using a weapon that resembles a radial saw in the two times dead body of one of the bigger zeds. And yeah… the arm fell off. Sweet. All that intelligence on the service of evil.
The three maps are large, but after a while playing you can recognize where the good killing spots are. You can play solo or with a crew of up to six, and that way the strategy can become rather simple. A whole back to back massacre. While the zeds and beasts have a good AI and they can appear from anywhere, is just a matter of having each other backs and shoot those bastards back to their graves where they belong. Normal zeds are super easy to kill. It’s not the same for other kinds of Zeds like Bloats or Husks that have a larger Health bar. You get help –especially as a Commando who has a crappy assault rifle- from slow-motion events that gives you an extra second for the headshot which is not hard to accomplish.
Last wave is the Boss, that takes a lot of damage and delivers a lot too, but you can just run around and eventually you’ll kill him. You can also (and this is a tactic you can use all along the match) weld the doors with your welding machine and lock up the zeds or the boss until they throw the door down. The Boss –maybe it’s a bug- won’t do anything until he trespasses the welded door, so all your squad can just empty their rounds on him.
Of course, higher difficulty levels can become totally different. At this moment, there are four: Normal, Hard, Suicidal and Hell on Earth. Suicidal and HoE are serious challenges and you can get your ass wiped in the first Wave. But don’t let that discourages you.
This Early Access is a good sample of what a game Tripwire wants to deliver. They have said that it won’t be out until Christmas and I like that. It’s not only that they have to develop more maps, classes, weapons, and modes. It’s that the game looks not so far away of its six years old predecessor. So, I expect a much more improved visual aspect, which is fine by now, but it can be so much better. The guys at Tripwire said that they are developing ‘Killing Floor 2’ with Unreal Engine 3 and not UE4 because they want to make the game available for the most range of rigs. I find that praiseworthy, but they need to make the most out of the UE3 or ‘Killing Floor 2’ will look like a mod of ‘Killing Floor’. Oh, the irony.