Tripwire Interactive (studio)
21 May 2019 (released)
29 May 2019
Now there’s nothing more fun than playing together and indeed there’s nothing more fun than slaying together. For the last decade we’ve had some incredible co-op zombie shooters, including Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty Zombies and many more. But nowadays the genre has been littered with many titles that lack the depth, charisma and brutality of these founding games. However a small developer known as Tripwire Interactive decided to throw their hat into the ring and delivered a compelling and visceral title named Killing Floor. Now we’ve got the sequel and a brand new VR experience which sets to kill the competition. Or does it?
Killing Floor 2 is a co-op tactical shooter with plenty of monsters and zombies to gun down and slaughter. Working together is the game and Killing Floor 2 prides itself on banding people together in order to survive waves of relentless enemies (unless you prefer to play solo – but that’s not as much fun).
Now there’s no actual story to Killing Floor 2, or rather more there is a rather light plot that’s heavily connected by a series of events the players take part in. Namely killing “Specimens” From the events of Killing Floor, bio-tech firm Horzine's attempted to create military clones is hijacked by an insane researcher and unleashed on the UK. The clones spread across Europe, paralyzing the response from the European Union. Within Killing Floor 2, taking place a month after the first game, the outbreak has spread beyond Europe, causing governments to collapse and communication systems to fail.
So as I mentioned, it’s a light plot of zombie outbreak of sorts, you and three others banding together to rid the world of evil and so on and so forth. There are over 20 locations in Killing Floor 2 and each has a distinct theme and feel, including an overrun airship in the midst of a thunder storm, fighting enemies in a derelict farm and so on.
Now each level is beautifully crafted and has an impressive visual flare to make them sleek, detailed and unique to one another. I enjoy the vast levels and how much each level has for content. All level have different layouts which aren’t confusing, harbour plenty of tactical advantages, cover and advantage points to lure and kill enemies. It doesn’t fall into that trap where Call of Duty Zombies often amounted to just getting guns, camping and fighting the waves until you died. There’s an end goal and each level often keeps you moving.
What is disappointing is the lack of focus and interesting objectives. I hate to say but Call of Duty Zombies at least lays out clear objectives which pace out each map and allows players to unlock new areas with what feels like purpose and often have interesting and dynamic missions. Killing Floor 2 just becomes a tedious grind of go here, fix this, activate this and kill waves of monsters.
Now fighting monsters it is pretty intense. While the shooting mechanics are nothing special and to be honest, the controls and character movement often feels a little floaty for my liking. There is a great variation of enemy types, an immense amount of weapons to choose and plenty of end game bosses to duke it out with. You can purchase weapons, upgrade them along with your gear and unlock new abilities and perks as you level up. It’s all fairly standard but there is a great deal of perks you can customise and each class has their own unique skill sets for you to level up.
AI can be a little brain dead at times as enemies will often just charge your position and just head right for you. Even in DOOM 2016, enemies would flank, take cover and retreat if they needed too. Killing Floor 2 can be bloodbath in many right ways but you can see from time to time the waves coming from a singular direction. But I do love the vast death traps and loot you can pick up to keep the action flowing. And as mentioned, there are plenty of bosses and most of them are pretty awesome and highly creative!
There is a cheesey loot box style system in place but thankfully these are earned rather than simply paying out right for them with real money.
Killing Floor 2 is a decent zombie shooter but one that lacks any real replay value. The amount of highly crafted levels is awesome, the action is intense and playing with friends just amplified the intensity. Yet the lack of any interesting objects, story or characters does make it a little forgettable and it just lacks that creative spark from games like Nazi Zombies and Left 4 Dead.
Now you want to hear more on the VR experience, don’t you? Well I can safely say it’s a solid VR experience and one that stays in keeping with the foundations of the original base games. Over a 5-6 campaign, players will maim, slice, shoot, batter and blow holes into hordes of monsters. It has a very survival-esc nature to its combat and much like Dead Rising; most objects make a nice weapon when the opportunity calls for it. The controls are pretty smooth and ideal for the manic chaos that often rears its head, but it’s a shame the enemy variety is so low. Most times your fighting the same old looking ghoul but the vast number s of them and the intense setups they appear make up for it.
Again the storyline is nothing more than just move here, kill baddies and move on while some annoying supporting character/comedic relief (If that’s what the developers were aiming for?), often barks orders or just puts you down with lame banter. Even though doing well doesn’t faze her that much. This could’ve worked so much better as a F.E.A.R type shooter, more focus on horror and isolation, then bring out the big guns for an epic fight. By which I mean, just loose the annoying supporting case. But the developers do break up the action with some neat mini puzzles and set pieces such as taking down roaming enemies with a sniper rifle (one of the best moments of the game).
So Killing Floor 2 is a fairly solid co-op shooter that doesn’t bring anything new to the table but is still fun with a few friends. Killing Floor VR is however the standout for this double feature, with a solid campaign of violence, gore and monster slaying that enjoyable if not somewhat repetitive. Still a double feature worth checking out but there are other solid co-op zombie shooters which stand high above Killing Floor. Let’s hope Killing Floor 3 is something special indeed.
++ Captivating co-op gameplay
+ Great lineup of colourful locations
+ VR experience is grand
--Lack of focus of interesting objectives
- Repetitive and nothing new to the genre
A PS4 Review copy of Killing Floor Double Feature was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.