Killing Floor has lived a strange life. It began back in 2005 as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, gaining an audience of dedicated fans who pushed it to become more. In 2009 it finally released as a standalone game, offering up all the blood, guts, gore, and carnage for players to enjoy without the hassles associated with a mod. Now, nearly six years later, Killing Floor 2 is launching on Steam Early Access, promising the same fast, frenetic, classic feel of the gameplay, with updated visuals and design elements.
My time with Killing Floor 2 was spent mostly trying to compare it to the original release on Steam. While I enjoyed the game, I never devoted as much time to it as it really wanted from me. I leveled up a couple of the classes, and pulled off my share of headshots, but it was never a game that drew me back in like it had done to so many of my gaming friends. That could easily change with Killing Floor 2 though, as it does a fantastic job of capitalizing on the successes of the first, while glossing over some of the possible missteps of that players might not have enjoyed as much.
The most immediate benefit to upgrading to Killing Floor 2 comes in the way of visuals. Killing Floor, even when it launched in 2009, never really had bleeding edge graphics. KF2 fixes that with some fantastic visual work that really helps bring you into the action. Of course, it still isn’t up to the levels of some AAA titles, but it looks great nonetheless, and fans will appreciate that they can easily have a smooth online experience over the more grandiose visual effects.
Those same fans will also note the vastly increased level of detail when it comes to the gore and violence that they surely love so much. Tripwire has put a ton of effort into the way you can eviscerate the multitude of zombie characters that are trying to destroy you. Blood, guts, and gore all persist on the level, leading to later rounds that look like they take place during the culmination of The Shining, with red coating the floor, walls, and almost any surface players can see.
Gameplay has remained largely intact, as Tripwire took a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach.” There are certainly improvements here, but without diving too deep into the minutia of the game it is tough for any but the most dedicated to pick up on them. You still team up with your friends, choosing between various classes of characters, and try to take on wave after wave of incoming zombies. Pulling off particularly tricky shots, such as the always favorite headshot, can result in a time dilation mechanic, allowing you and your teammates to take out zeds with precision accuracy.
Killing Floor 2 offers the same fast, fun action that fans have come to expect, just with a few upgrades thrown in to sweeten the pot. The content is a bit light at the moment, being an Early Access game and all, but what is already here is quite enjoyable. The maps feature plenty of choke points and safe havens, while the always shifting shop location keeps you on the move. The weapons are accurate and feel effective, especially when you pull off that perfect headshot. And now you can select weapons from outside of your character class, giving you extra variety, while still letting you level up the character that you want.
There’s certainly more to Killing Floor 2, and more is yet to come as the game progresses through the tumultuous Early Access program, but what is already there should be enough to bring back fans of the first game, and appeal to those who might have missed out. Killing Floor 2 is available now via Steam Early Access, and will arrive on PS4 some time later.