Killing Floor 2 is the sequel to the incredibly popular horde-based shooter from Tripwire Interactive. The developers are going for the bigger is better approach; featuring a new graphics engine and updating the gameplay. The developers have gone to early access this time (which you can read more about in my interview,) and while it’s not done yet, there is plenty of blood and gore to go around.
(The following spotlight is based on the Early Access version of Killing Floor 2. Screenshots and impressions may not match the current version. There is no estimated date for when KF 2 will be done or an update schedule at this time.)
For those who haven’t played the series before, Killing Floor is a cooperative horde style FPS. The story is that an evil corporation has released a virus that has transformed people into mutants, forcing you and a group of friend or random people to take them out. A single match can be played on different maps and different difficulty settings and lengths.
The game is designed to scale the challenge based on the current number of active players in game; the more players in a match, the bigger the waves. Each wave throws various mutants and monsters at you and your team, requiring the entire crew to work together to survive. Enemies will always spawn off screen in the massive areas; making sure that no matter where you are, things will turn into a bloodbath.
Unlike Left 4 Dead which had enemies explicitly designed to force cooperation, Killing Floor does it simply by force of numbers and enemy strength. You simply just don’t have the ammo or the ability to take on massive waves by yourself and you’ll be easily surrounded and killed.
Later enemies like the Flesh Pounders have such high health and go berserk that no one person can effectively kill them without some aid from the group; even then, there will be other enemies vying for your attention.
In the first Killing Floor, the perk/class system was a loose way to define team roles and provide benefits. With Killing Floor 2, Tripwire has expanded on it and making it easier to grow stronger.
Currently there are six of the promised ten classes in Killing Floor 2. Each class gets specific passive bonuses to their stats and weapons and a specific starting load-out. In the previous game, leveling up became more and more difficult as the specific means became longer to pull off. In Killing Floor 2, you’ll gain perk specific experience by simply killing with the perk’s specific weapons along with a specific option as well.
Leveling up will increase your damage and max health, along with the class specific bonuses; meaning that there is more reason than ever to go up the perk trees. What’s new with the system are specific perk passive abilities that unlock at every five levels. Each threshold unlocks two different bonuses and you are free to choose which ones you want equipped for your perk; with a limit of five total at level 25. These passive bonuses are big deals and will allow you to fine tune the perk in different ways and gives you a bit more flexibility and personalization compared to the first game.
Speaking of personalization, you can choose from different characters and give them various accessories to help add an additional personal touch.
While there aren’t any microtransactions in the game right now, there’s a good bet that we will see cosmetic DLC at the game’s release. Modding is currently an option in the game, with custom maps already starting to take shape.
While Killing Floor 2 is certainly a step forward from the first game and a great game to jump into, there’s not much reason to stick around right now.
Killing Floor 1 became popular thanks to a wide variety of enemies, weapons and tools, unfortunately Killing Floor 2 doesn’t have that quite yet. For an early access game, it’s well put together from a technical and graphical point of view, but it’s still missing some key gameplay elements.
The different matches all start to bleed together because of a lack of enemy variety; there is only one new enemy in the game at the moment and he’s a boss. The weapon load outs are very small as well and the game currently lacks the original’s assortment of gear.
The perk system is both a blessing and a curse towards playing Killing Floor 2. On one hand, it provides a meaningful and game effecting form of progression. On the other hand, it further punishes new players who will not have the health or damage output compared to their level 25 friends and the system is just very repetitive at the moment. It would have been nice to have more ways of leveling up to help make things more interesting.
The maps all look very nice, but there isn’t any real personality to them, in the sense of affecting the flow of a game. When you’re busy fighting waves of mutants, one open area will feel like every other. I would love to see map specific enemies or situations to help liven things up.
There is one final issue for early access members and it may be a deal breaker for some. Tripwire is going for the long haul with Killing Floor 2; with new content coming occasionally and not adhering to a set schedule like other early access games.
They’ve said that this is because they want to focus on making everything as perfect as possible and putting out big updates instead of smaller ones. For people who get excited about early access games that are frequently updated like Darkest Dungeon or formally Prison Architect, Killing Floor 2 may be a tough pill to swallow.
Killing Floor 2 is not a bad game and the gameplay loop of horde-based combat is still great with friends and random people alike. However at this moment, there just isn’t enough here to live up to the “2” in the title. Still, getting the core gameplay down can be the hardest part and Tripwire has already accomplished that; it will be interesting to see how the rest of the game systems and content will be fleshed out over the months or even years left of development.