Tripwire Interactive have always been of interest to me, ever since I saw they were working on one of my favourite genres. I love zombie games; I devour them as a zombie might snack upon the grey matter of human brains. I shot my way through the hordes of Infected in Left4Dead, blasted the Las Plagas in Resident Evil 4 and 5 and put pay to hosts of Umbrella zombies from Resident Evil. I even struggled through Dead Rising's atrocious save system to beat down 1000s of the walking dead.
Killing Floor is a team based survival horror game that takes some cues from Counter Strike and might remind you a little bit of Left4Dead with a certain monster design. It is however different to Left4Dead and has seen life as various mods for the Unreal Warfare engine in the past. It reminded me in many ways of a better version of the original survival multiplayer from the Aliens vs. Predator PC game.
You have wave after wave of the undead to survive against and your team has access to a trader in the levels, the only hitch with this is...she likes to move around and can only open her shop for a certain amount of time. You earn cash as you battle the undead and this is where we were reminded of Counter Strike, it's a good system, it rewards active players and allows you to customise and outfit your team to stand the best chance of survival.
You can go online with other players or you can go it solo on any of the games maps. The game also comes with a fair variety of maps considering that this was originally an Unreal Tournament 2k4 mod (so it's about 5 years old) it still manages to impress in a fair few ways. Perhaps I have a fondness for UT mods that make it into retail games as well. Killing Floor is typical of a standard fps though, you have the usual controls and gamplay wise there are only a few differences here that stand out.
1. The aforementioned trader, she spices things up from a tactical choice standpoint. You can't just get to her, you have to survive first and then have a limited amount of time to get to where she's going to be (shown on a gps style HUD), choose your weapons and armour before she shuts those doors and you're back into it.
2. Z.E.D time - slow motion zombie death for certain enemies in a wave, it's cool and gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you trigger it.
3. Perks: each selectable character has a number of Perks that can be unlocked as the game progresses, they give bonuses/enhancements.
4. Teamplay: the game is teamplay focussed and there is a heavy emphasis on cooperation. The developers have included the hand welder to allow you to seal yourselves into a room by welding closed doors. This reminds us of Aliens and that can't be a bad thing.
Once you survive the increasingly difficult waves in Killing Floor, you're going to eventually come face to face with the main boss character the Patriarch. Defeating this monster wins the battle and the map.
There is also a sandbox mode where Perks are disabled and you can configure the game to your liking, spawn waves, monsters that spawn and so forth.
The maps in Killing Floor are well designed; they have been created to provide numerous tactical opportunities to the team players. You can weld yourselves into a room and wait out the waves or find a defensible position and pick off your enemies as they relentlessly hunt you down. From the desolate night attack on a local farm to the claustrophobic corridors of the research facility, they offer numerous environments and challenges to defeat the zombie hordes.
Graphics and Animations
Once you get past the fact this is really a better version of their original mod, Killing Floor is a good looking game for something that's around 5 years old. It's been given a bit of an update and one can only imagine what might happen if the developers were given the money to fully flesh out this bad boy. The model designs, the weapons and the various characters are well made and animated.
A nice mix of dumb zombie style AI and some clever thinking AI for the more tenacious opponents, there are times it does something a little odd but those are few and far between and you are not going to care when you're blasting zombie hordes.
There's a nice use of physics in the game, shots land with a convincing impact and the shotgun is the true weapon of choice to send things into bloody chunks.
A reasonable sound set accompanies the game, it's not brilliant by any means but it is excellent for the team and their resources. The weapon sound effects are nice.
A pretty dark and atmospheric soundtrack accompanies the game, though I tend to turn off music when I play so I can hear the undead's cries of frustration when they fall down to a hail of bullets.
This is probably the weakest part of the game, whilst everyone talks in a British accent, the script leaves something to be desired and appears cringe-worthy at times with some lines that repeat more often than not. Still, it's not a bad effort at all.
Killing Floor shows its age but still manages to deliver a fun and frenetic experience for numerous players. It's not going to be up there on any Game of the Year Awards but it's certainly well priced from Steam and worth picking up as an alternative team based cooperative shooter.