Last week, I decided to spend some of my free money in an effort to fight away the ebbing stress of life we all so suffer at the hands of. I spent my time on the Playstation Store and weighed my choices and my options, finally deciding. What I ended up purchasing was Killing Floor 2 and let me assure you it is a veritable orgy of violence.
Available on both PC and Playstation 4 (digital download only), Killing Floor 2 is simplicity at its finest. After one tutorial, I was accustomed already to the Battlefield-like controls. Killing Floor 2 is a “Wave Survival” game similar to Call of Duty’s Zombie mode, in which 1 player alone or 6 players as a squad fight off an increasingly difficult and growing horde of zombie-like cloned specimens called “Zeds” at dark and terrifying locations: deserted streets, forests, and bio-labs. The game is simple in both playability and mechanics with not much room for storytelling. I was a disappointed at the lack of a story mode for a $40.00 game, but, in my opinion, it made up for it quickly utilizing a not too difficult offline Single Player mode. If you are looking for a narrative, though, it can be found in map descriptions and character biographies, but I will sum it up for you here. The military started a program to develop soldiers that would not feel pain and would kill ruthlessly. Very generic. A pair of scientists from a medical company, called Horzine, started to clone specimens and alter them geneticall until they escaped. Still generic. Now the world is in ruins and you are here to clean up the mess and get out alive. Very, very generic. The only thing not generic in Killing Floor 2 are the amazing graphics, soundtrack, and motion capture which brings the Zeds and characters to amazing life. The design of a new M.E.A.T. (massive evisceration and trauma) system bathes the map in realistically gory body parts and too much blood to mop up. Carnage is plentiful here with even the most basic of attacks spilling gallons of blood everywhere. The soundtrack consists of heavy churning metal featuring real world artists like Impending Doom, Demon Hunter, and zYnthetic. If you do not like metal music, you will need to go into the options menu and turn it off, but it suited me perfectly. After all, thats my favorite type of music to listen to daily.
The real terror in Killing Floor 2 comes from the overwhelming number of Zeds attacking you. Playing alone can be quite a struggle with nobody to watch your back and the Zeds are ruthless. You have invisible Zeds, Zeds that have been spliced with arachnid DNA (eww) and Zeds that have had arms replaced with weaponry such as chainsaws and crude metal blades. Collectively you have 12 Zed types in total. Even the weakest of Zeds has a purpose and letting the weaker ones get close to you initiates a grapple that holds you down for the bigger and scarier ones to close in on you. The wave lengths can be changed from a short 4 rounds to a cripplingly long 10, all ending in a highly difficult boss battle.
Before a round starts players can choose from a list of 10 Perks in a menu, and these Perks determine your skills in the game and your starting weapons. For my playthrough I chose the class which sounded most reasonable and appealing to me personally, the Gunslinger perk. Gunlinger starts your character off with 2 high powered revolvers. Perks give additional benefits through a leveling system that starts at level 5 so you have plenty of time to decide how you like playing before dedicating to that Perk, and you can always switch later. There are multiple characters to play as and each character is purely cosmetic, only changing your in game looks and allowing you to freely choose without restrictions. All players have the same starting health and abilities so your Perk determines everything for you. For example, a Field Medic gains better health bonuses than a Gunslinger character and can heal teammates whereas a Demolitionist gets Bonus damage with Explosives and better Armor.
During the game, every kill you score rewards you with currency called Dosh. It can be used to buy better weapons and to fill up your Armor, Grenades, and Ammunition. The list of guns is beautifully long and the weapons are interchangeable with Perks, and I was very thankful for the lack of restrictions. I wasn’t limited to a specific set of guns for my Perk and could use guns from other Perks. I can’t think of many games that let you freely pick class-based weapons without class restrictions. What made this even better is that if you choose a weapon that has nothing to do with your equipped Perk, you still the get experience points which are dumped into the Perk that the weapon belongs to. Essentially in practice you could level up 3 different Perks while only having 1 equipped. Genius. The only thing that kept me from buying every gun in the store is a weight system, and I could only tote around 6 handguns and one weightless knife with the weight system in check.
Killing Floor 2 is fast paced action horror so fans of traditional horror games may want to steer away from this one. If you are willing to forego horror and want to have something with more explosions and mindless gore then by all means pick it up while it’s still fresh. The scenery is bleak, dark and creepy and the Zeds will surely give you nightmares. I had fun with it and I am definitely going to invest more hours into this apocalypse.