TripWire’s Killing Floor 2 has something that some games have often struggled with: identity. It knows exactly what it is, and embraces it in spades without chucking disparate ideas at the wall like mud and hoping something sticks. To that effect, Killing Floor does exactly what it says on the tin, and we got to sample some of its multiplayer-based delights while snuggled together inside a creepy abandoned shopping mall.
Killing Floor 2 gameplay
Killing Floor 2 is all about teamwork. The game adopts the well-oiled, wave-based mechanic where a team of six is pitted against increasing numbers of enemies—in this case, zombie-like mutant beings with a penchant for chomping on your fleshy bits—before getting into a ruck with the final, hulking boss. As one would expect, there’s an abundance of classes available to pick, from gunslinger, medic, assault, explosive experts, and more, allowing your team to mix and match so you’re as best equipped for the task ahead as possible.
We plumped for gunslinger in this case; a trigger-happy class brandishing two meaty revolvers for some Wild West-style gunplay. John Marston eat your heart out. Naturally, your class is then complemented by some available perks/skills to select from. There’s a bunch to choose from, and can range from combat to defensive-based boots that help give you that little bit of an edge in battle. Yes, it’s abundantly familiar stuff, but there’s a nice selection on offer; enough to give you that warm sense of individuality and uniqueness depending on your choices.
Killing Floor 2: Zed time
After gearing up we got stuck into a match, which put us in a prison complex featuring multiple levels, plus an outdoor era that came in handy for grouping up. As mentioned earlier, Killing Floor 2 is all about teamwork; coordinating your efforts via headset to ensure you have the best chances of taking down the lumbering hordes of Zeds as they attack in swarms. Capping foes in the nogging is instinctively the best way to dispatch these enemies, although they come in different flavours to freshen things up. In addition to your regular Zeds, there’s the crawling variety that scuttle about on all fours like rambunctious toddlers, only these will quickly will overwhelm and nibble on you if you aren’t fleet-footed enough.
Then there’s the bloated, shambling sub-bosses who take a good battering before kicking the bucket, and it’s times like these that you’ll need to focus your firepower as a group to eliminate them fast and efficiently. The action is frantic too, with Zed waves popping up all over the shop, climbing over fences, shooting out of the ground, and charging down hallways to get to you. It’s thrilling stuff, and there’s a palpable sense of satisfaction when your team emerges triumphant against overwhelming odds. It also helps that the controls are responsive and intuitive; Tripwire has wisely not opted to muck about with established first-person shooter tropes in this respect, and it makes for some seamless, visceral gameplay that’s an absolute blast to experience. Zed Time, which is essentially Killer Floor 2’s take on slow-mo, is a nice counter to the fast-paced combat, allowing a brief opportunity to land critical headshots and even the odds.
In between waves you’ll have a chance to regroup, heal up, and upgrade your weapons and ammo at various pods. Each one is marked by a blue arrow that points you in the right direction, although you’ll only have about a minute or so to tinker with the pod and grab what you need before being thrown back into the action. Yes, it’s not much time, but it adds to the intensity of the proceedings and adds a welcome dollop of strategy into the mix; you’re going to have to plan ahead and think about what weapons worked well, which ones didn’t, how much ammo you need, and more as you flick through menus and gear up before the next Zed wave comes knocking.
Speaking of waves, our demo had seven to deal with, after which the boss rocks up alongside some rudimentary foes to hassle you. This is a real testament to the game’s team-based DNA; all our team immediately focused on the Big Bad, splitting up into small groups so we weren’t clumped together like a massive target, allowing us to flank the hulking adversary from all sides. While we were only able to sample this one boss, it’s a clear indication that Killing Floor 2 is able to pull some meaty punches in terms of challenge, as our team was reduced by half after just one devastating attack. Ultimately he kicked our collective asses, but not before we whittled down his health into the red.
While we only had about an hour of playtime, it was more than enough to see that Killing Floor 2 has all the makings of a solid zombie shooter romp. With heaps of customisation, solid level design, and fantastic co-op antics, there’s every chance this will be kept busy spinning in your PS4 for a long time to come—we’ll be sure to bring you our final verdict near release date.
Killing Floor 2 is released on PS4 on November 18, 2016.