Review: Killing Floor
L4D gets its first imitator.
Killing floor is a FPS that on the surface owes a lot to Left 4 dead, it is in fact the opposite. Killing Floor here on known as KF started out life as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. Released in 2005 it precedes L4D by 3 years and whilst KF lacks some of the polish of it, it more than makes up for it in depth.
Another thing that separates this game from L4D is the ZED time. At certain points the game slows down, this enables you to aim your shots better, one person triggers it off for everyone and it can be slightly annoying when all you’re doing is changing weapons or reloading. It does look really cool when you’re blowing heads off left right and centre in slow-mo.
This game is set in Britain, and all the characters talk in a slightly annoying knees up mother brown, gawd blimey guvnah cockney accents. The characters are generic soldiers and have no real characterisation and as such you hear the same loops of speech repeated a lot.
The story as minimal as it is, centres around large groups of genetically modified creatures escaping from a biotics lab. You are part of group of 6 cockney soldiers who are dropped off to various areas to eliminate the creatures. Strangely you aren’t well equipped and to begin with you only have a knife and a 9mm pistol which incorporates a torch.
Luckily as you kill enemies you gain cash to buy weapons from the trader at the end of each wave, the shop is similar to the safe rooms in L4D. I think the trader must be related to the mysterious trader from Resident Evil 4 or Drebin from MGS4. As she moves around the map without you seeing her, only to open up shop somewhere else.
The game also has a choice of 6 perks, theses act like a class choice would in a RPG. As you level up these perks you become more effective with certain weapons as well as get discounts on weapons and armour. The field medic means you can heal yourself and others more effectively, as well as moving a lot quicker you get cheaper and better body armour.
Support specialists specialise in uses shotguns as well as improvements in welding doors shut. The ability to weld doors shut brings in a larger degree of tactics, though welded doors can be broken down eventually you can keep repairing them. So you can have one person welding a door almost constantly to stop being attacked from behind whilst the rest of the group concentrate their fire on the wave of enemies in front.
Sharpshooters are all about using rifles, crossbows and Hand cannons to get head shots. The Hand cannon is a more powerful pistol than the starting 9mm, similar to a Desert Eagle. As you improve this perk you get less recoil and quicker reloading times as well as getting the above weapons at a discount rate.
Commandos main ability is the fact they can see the â€œStalkersâ€, (an enemy that’s nearly invisible until it gets close) from a greater distance away and uses the bull-pup gun which is a fully automatic rifle similar to a MP5. They can also extend the ZED time by killing something whilst in slow-mo, they are not the only class that can do this though. So if someone sets off ZED time anyone can extend it if they’ve got the perk ranked high enough.
Berzerkers are close combat specialists, they can’t be grabbed by the Clots, which are the basic enemy type in this game. If you have the cash to purchase the chainsaw the Berzerker is a deadly class, though with the limitation of not being very effective at distance. This is perk best chosen early on in the game when you are facing weaker enemies.
The fire-bug is a personal favourite, if you have the cash, then go for this perk and buy the flame-thrower. It does a lot of damage and once levelled up has great range, the only downside is you have to be careful of setting yourself and other team members on fire with it. Whilst you get some fire resistance with this perk you will still lose some health and is best used in open areas.
This game has a wide selection of weapons, you are limited to what you can buy by a weight limit, this means you can’t go around carrying all the most powerful weapons which is a nice bit of balancing to the gameplay mechanics. You also need to choose what weapons you pick carefully, depending on which perk you have.
Tripwire Interactive have done it again. Okay, so you may not be familiar with their previous work unless you have been PC gaming for aw hile now, but these guys know how to make a kick arse Unreal Tournament 2004 mod and Killing Floor is at the time of writing the top selling game of the week thanks to favourable word of mouth.
Killing Floor â€œborrowsâ€ some design elements from b-movie inspired games from the past. Most noticeably Left 4 Dead and House of the Dead. That said this game does do the whole zombie blasting gender justice as the combat is so visceral and everything from the lighting in the world around you to the weapons you wield is beautiful to behold.
That said there are some rough edges, the slow motion for example is awesome when you are kicking zombie arse but rubbish when it’s activated by a team mate while you are wielding a door. Then there is the amount of maps that come with the game, only six to start with. Killing Floor is getting new maps all the time thanks to its nice level editor. Still it would have been nice to have gotten more official maps with the game.
Killing Floor gets my whole-hearted recommendation as this is possibly the most fun I have with a game full of the rising dead since Dead Rising. It’s great to play fun with friends proving you can all get on the same server together that is as the game is so popular most servers are full these days.Secondary Score: 8/10
Once you complete all the waves of enemies you have a final chance to get to the shop and buy the large weapons, specifically the L.A.W. Rocket launcher, because you are about to face the final boss. The Patriarch is the scientist who created the monsters and has been mutated and somehow has a chain gun attached to his arm. He can also become invisible and heal himself, so he can take massive amounts of damage as well as take it.
Graphically this game is nothing special, though the grainy filter used helps make the game look suitably dark and dystopian. Though the game lacks the graphical polish of bigger games, it looks nice enough for a budget game and it will run well even on older machines.
I’ve found myself losing a lot of time to this game, which is always a good sign. Ultimately with games of this sort your enjoyment will vary from game to game, all depending on who you are playing with. If you are playing with friends or good team mates then this game is excellent, if you’re playing with selfish pricks then the game is a pain.
Overall though this is well worth the fifteen quid asking price, as long as you don’t go in expecting a triple A polished experience. I’m certainly looking forward to see what new stuff this game will bring in the future with the modding community. As well as official first party updates, they were very quick to patch the exploits and bugs which riddled the game shortly after its release, so I’m hoping hey are as expedient with some more game content.