Killing Floor 2 Preview (PC)

We’ve spent some time with the early access version ahead of it’s launch on April 21st.

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When it first came out we didn’t really take Killing Floor seriously. It appeared to be riding on the coattails of games like Left 4 Dead and Gears of War’s horde mode without any real identity of its own. It probably didn’t help that we were playing it over Christmas when everything had become Christmas themed and it had this strange combination of an earnest attempt at horror and some light comedy. Monsters come in waves, you shoot them, they explode into blood and guts. Of course we hadn’t really grasped the sort of game this was, and there hasn’t been any others like it that have achieved the same level of success. Killing Floor is about progression, slow progression through class trees, unlocking perks and becoming steadily more powerful until you can take on the hardest challenges. It’s also about ridiculous outfits, terrifying and hilarious monster designs and incredible amounts of gore.

The second entry in the series is about to hit early access and it already plays like a more polished, AAA version of the first. Visually it looks great, with a handful of low resolution textures being the tradeoff for huge numbers of exquisitely detailed and modelled monsters attacking you at once without any slow down. All of the assets could be replaced between now and the final launch but already the lighting and level design is superb.

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Each round you stock up on weapons and ammo from a store and then prepare your area for defense. You might want to weld some doors shut to create chokepoints, you might want to leave them open for escape routes. It’s up to you and the levels are big enough to enable a variety of approaches to each wave. We’ve mostly been playing on normal so far and the difficulty ramps up nicely as you go from fighting naked shambling zombies right up through invisible (also naked) ninjas and then finally a terrifying boss that uses grenades, machine pistols and nerve gas to systematically rip apart your entire team. As the waves go on there’s more at stake and that final encounter really does become terrifying, especially with the excellent sound design that lets you know exactly what kind of doom is heading your way.

Every now and then a zombie kill will enable ‘ZED time’ where the colours fade out only leaving black, white, yellow and red. As you can see in the screenshot above it really emphasis the gore and gives you a second to focus your attention on lining up a couple of kills. It’s hard not to feel like a badass when you spin around, line up three headshots, taunt the zombies and then reload in slow motion.

We’ve had a lot of fun with Killing Floor 2 already and the developer is promising tonnes of content to be released regularly, just like with Killing Floor. If you’re at all interesting in co-op FPS games, you need to get on this.

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