Friday, 16 December 2016

Killing Floor 2


Kill things while standing on the floor. Like you did in the first game. That's Killing Floor 2.
You'll be relieved to hear that the game's better than I've so far made it sound. Much better.
The first game was a PC exclusive, but the sequel is also available on PS4. So does that mean starting with Killing Floor 2 means you're dropped in the middle of a complex story you have no hope of understanding? Ha! Does it feck. There is, theoretically, a story; but when I say “mumble something something downfall of humanity, mumble experiments, mumble monsters known as Zeds, something something kill them all and don't die”, I go into much more detail about it than the game does.


This is essentially a co-op wave-based shooter. Sort of like a horde mode refined until it's good enough to be the main experience (indeed, the only experience) rather than something you give a go when you're bored of the other modes. You can play solo if you like, but there's no dedicated mode for this. The waves are simply downgraded a bit accordingly; the size and intensity of each enemy wave is decided by the number of players taking part. And if you want to experience this game at its best, you definitely need to play with others.

This is a game with its tongue very much wedged into its cheek. Available characters include a Canadian who believes himself to be a Crusader-type knight (one of his designs is named “Cleese”), a Scottish priest, a beardy Swedish biker, a Dutch DJ, and more. Each has a small selection of cosmetic items to choose from, which usually have humorous descriptions. There are absolutely loads of extra bits of decorative crap to be earned and unlocked through play... and also crates containing multiple items... the keys for which you need to buy with real money. Bloody cheek!

Your choice of character has no bearing on your abilities, but your class does (duplicate characters and classes are allowed, so go for whatever you like). Each class offers a different starting loadout, and a different set of minor passive buffs and general advantages/disadvantages. You level up these classes – often, you don't even have to be playing as that class at the time – by performing actions such as scoring kills with a certain type of weapon, fortifying/repairing doors, healing teammates, and other more specific requirements. You get to choose one of two sort of “super buffs” at every fifth level of a class, especially important if you want to try playing at anything above Normal difficulty.

In a team of up to six people – and plenty of people are playing it, I didn't even have too much trouble finding players before release – you'll be making monsters disappear in explosions of gore and limbs across 4, 7, or 10 waves (your choice) of increasing difficulty before ultimately battling a boss. You spend the “dosh” you earn at the shop between rounds, refilling your armour and ammo and nabbing yourself new weapons. You can combine classes and weapons to support pretty much any playstyle, and you can change for each match. Want to be a melee brawler? Got you covered, brah. A long-distance snipery player? Enemies won't give you that much distance but yeah, sure, go for it. A mid-range max-damage support figure? Absolutely. And so on. Throw in the superb controls, and we have ourselves a winner of a shooter. 


Enemies are a good mix, such as the weak ones who die quick but can slow and distract you easily if you let them get too close; the tanky melee ones who soak up damage until they fall; the obligatory fatty, who in this case vomits mid-range acidic blinding bile; and even ones who can temporarily cloak themselves before attacking. There are only two different bosses at time of writing, and they're so damn tough most matches end in failure, but fighting them is fun nonetheless. Best of all, the nature of the game forces you to act as a team. Stay close and watch each other's backs, or die; it really is that simple. 


Killing Floor 2 good to miss. 5/5


★★★★★


Luke Kemp


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