A few years back there was a game by the name of Killing Floor that was released on Steam. It was developed by Tripwire Interactive and saw a great deal of success, with good reason. Killing Floor provided gory, unadulterated mutant slaying mayhem for up to four people. The community loved it so much that it even spawned a meme. Fast forward to 2015 and Tripwire Interactive is now hard at work on the sequel which recently hit Steam’s Early Access program.
Admittedly, I got into the original Killing Floor a little late. While my friends on Steam had been playing it consistently since the game’s release in 2009, I only started playing it last year. By that time, the game had developed a significant following and most of my friends had moved on. That didn’t stop me from enjoying my time with the game and it certainly didn’t stop a sequel from piquing my interest. There’s a reason why Killing Floor is so revered after all — it’s just a good game.
Since most of my friends weren’t playing Killing Floor by the time I got around to playing it, I didn’t really get to experience everything the game had to offer. Sure I could could up with random strangers, but there’s something far more satisfying about seeing your friends get mauled by mutants and trying to survive together. What I’m trying to say here is that I didn’t get to spend much time with my friends in the first game so I didn’t play that much of it.
With Killing Floor 2, I had friends to play with right off the bat. It might be in Early Access but people were already lining up to buy the game as soon as it was available, thanks to the cult following created by the first game. I started playing Killing Floor 2 with a friend of mine who was kind enough to buy the game for me and we spent several hours mowing through hordes of mutants. Before we did that though, I had to take a look at the menu.
In Killing Floor character customization was limited to skins. In Killing Floor 2, they’ve added the ability to completely customize your character in addition to picking a skin. Right now you can choose from a total of seven characters, each with their own accessories. As it is now, it doesn’t seem that you can unlock more accessories through playing the game but there are plans to sell accessories a la Team Fortress 2. You can get an additional skin and accessory by purchasing the deluxe edition but whether or not you want to throw in an extra $10 is entirely up to you. If you decide that you want to, they’ve offered the option to upgrade separately after purchasing the initial game, a nice gesture by Tripwire Interactive.
There are also perks which are accompanied by different classes like in the original game. However, unlike in the original game the perks are separate from the class. In Killing Floor, the perks are tied to your class and level. In Killing Floor 2, you unlock perks as you level your class but you have to pick between them. It’s not an uncommon system for perks and it usually works pretty well. However, in Killing Floor 2 it seems like it takes quite lot of time to actually level up your class.
I didn’t play enough of Killing Floor to really level up my classes but I can say with certainty that the leveling process in Killing Floor 2 feels like far more of a grind at the moment. To put it into perspective, at the time of writing this review I’ve put in over seven hours. I’ve spent all seven hours in the game as the Berserker class but I’m still just short of level 5. If that’s anything to go by it’ll be a while before I hit 25 as a Berserker, let alone every other class. With four classes and 25 levels per class it’ll be a while before you unlock every single perk. The good news though is that as you level up, even if you don’t unlock a perk, you’re still gradually boosting your stats.
The Berserker, for example, gains an additional 1% melee damage per level, 5% + .8% attack speed per level, and 10 + .6% movement speed per level. Each class has different stats that are tailored to that specific class and each class gains them at a different rate. It’s an odd system, but since you only get perks every five levels or so it’s definitely necessary. The game actually calls these “perk bonuses”, but since I have yet to unlock a perk I can’t tell you whether or not they change depending on the perk you’re using.
As for the actual gameplay, it’s very similar to Killing Floor. Some things have been tweaked but Killing Floor 2 is still very much a mutant slaughtering co-op gorefest. As a matter of fact, Tripwire Interactive seems to have taken great pride in the amount of gore that the game is capable of this time around. The goal was to create more realistic gore and they have definitely succeeded. Whenever you kill a zed you can expect to see some awesome fireworks, even if you don’t always get a chance to admire it while you’re fighting off swathes of enemies.
It’s incredibly polished for a game on Early Access but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems here and there. For one, it seems to have relatively long load times. That’s not such a big deal since you don’t spend a lot of time loading but it can get pretty tiresome during long marathons. I thought it was just my computer, since I’m using an older video card, but my friend who recently picked up an NVIDIA GTX 970 also has the same problem.
I also thought the difficulty could use some tweaking but it’s hard to say whether or not that’s because I’m bad at the game or if it’s genuinely difficult. There are a number of difficulty options ranging from Normal to Hell on Earth, which is the hardest, but I feel like the game could be a lot more fun if there was an easier difficulty where you got more money with the trade off being less experience. With as difficult as the game seems to be now, the experience gain just doesn’t seem to even out and that’s probably the biggest issue I found.
With three levels and one boss in the current iteration of the game, it won’t be long before you’ve seen everything. The only thing left to do then is gather achievements and level up your classes. Maybe some people will enjoy playing the game for the sake of it but I found myself getting less interested the more I played. I’m not less interested in the game though, it’s just that running the same three levels over and over with one boss can get pretty repetitive. But that’s fine. It won’t always be that way and even if it was, it’s still a fun game to play all around.
While Killing Floor 2 still has a ways to go before being complete, it’s already made plenty of improvements to be worth the upgrade. Just keep in mind that the game is in Early Access and right now there are only a few levels. There will also be occasional wipes, which means you’ll probably have to grind your classes back to 25 again. If that doesn’t bother you and you loved Killing Floor, I think you’ll find plenty to like about Killing Floor 2 as it is right now. It might be a little on the short side, but there’s plenty of replayability and it only gets better with friends.
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Release Date (Early Access): 4/21/15
What I liked about it:
Killing Floor 2 takes the gore from the original game and turns it up a notch, making plenty of other improvements along the way. The blood is satisfactory and playing with friends is a lot of fun. It also has up to six player co-op, which means that you can bring a lot of them.
What they can do to improve:
I’d like to see more customization options for your character in the game. Right now the options are rather limited. But since it’s in Early Access and that isn’t core to development, it’s to be expected. Items could be rewarded for completing levels and unlocking achievements in addition to being offered as DLC.
What’s in store for the future:
By the time Killing Floor 2 is officially released there will be more perks, more levels and more weapons. Tripwire Interactive also plan to incorporate community feedback, as well as some additional features that are going to debut with the full release according to the Early Access page.
When you can expect the full release:
Killing Floor 2 will remain in Early Access until it’s done, but they’re shooting for a full release by the end of 2015. If you want to keep up with the development or pick up the game right now, check out the Early Access page on Steam.Tweet