The rise of VR gaming has allowed for a lot of experimentation, both in gameplay and within franchises themselves. Every development studio has surely asked themselves how they could craft a VR title, and it seems that most have come up with the same answers. Either port over an existing game, or create a new one that serves as a spinoff of sorts. Tripwire took the latter approach with Killing Floor: Incursion, making a few hour long campaign that tells its own story within the larger series universe. Unfortunately every choice followed this same tactic, making for a very derivative adventure throughout.
Killing Floor: Incursion, like so many other VR games before it for some reason, places you into a simulation of sorts. Your character has been injured in a zombie attack and is placed inside a mental sim while he is healed. The campaign that follows isn’t all that interesting storywise, though you will have some fun popping headshots off on various types of zombies. This action plays out exactly how you’d expect, if you’ve played any of the other PSVR shooters out there.
That’s kind of the theme of Killing Floor: Incursion. The game came out on PC last year, so it’s not surprising that it isn’t on the bleeding edge of VR gaming trends. However, there’s just not much here to keep VR enthusiasts’ interest. If you’ve played other VR shooters then you’ve likely experienced all of Killing Floor’s tricks before you even start up the campaign. Sure, the game tries to inject some humor and life into its world but that mostly falls flat.
The opening tutorial was especially egregious for this. Players are inserted into a stark, scifi setting and then get treated to an exceptionally slow explanation of Killing Floor: Incursion’s controls and mechanics. These aren’t too intricate so some players might just skip the tutorial, which would make for a better overall experience, but there are many key nuggets of info here that players need. Sprinkled throughout the slow, meandering explanation comes the “jokes” that made me think back to Portal for their tone, but not for their execution, which was largely bad.
Killing Floor: Incursion is not a bad or boring game
Once you move past this and into the game proper things improve. Killing Floor: Incursion is not a bad or boring game. It’s not an especially enjoyable one though. The campaign offers some thrills as Zeds swarm around you. Hacking them with a knife or headshotting them with a pistol is especially fun. Two-handed weapons don’t work all that well though and are best avoided if possible. Throughout the campaign you’ll encounter action and horror set pieces that propel you through the computer generated plot. Sometimes you’ll stop shooting to fill a gas tank or perform some other puzzlish task, but mostly you’ll just be blasting away.
What detracts from the fun here is the repetition involved, as shooting zombies does certainly get old. There aren’t enough variety to the creatures to really shake up the formula, and if you’ve played one VR zombie game you’ve played them all, in a sense. One design decision also hurts the fun, with teleportation linked to a stamina meter of sorts.
In most VR games you can teleport around at will, at least if the game focuses on action like Killing Floor: Incursion does. Here though you are limited by distance and time. Warp too far and you’ll have to wait a bit before you can move much further. This makes sense in a design perspective, forcing players into confrontations that they could otherwise avoid. But in execution it just slows progress through the game, and makes it so some fights feel cheaper than they should.
Outside of the campaign is an endless horde mode of sorts, which is where Killing Floor: Incursion shines most. It’s still not an ideal VR shooter, but this mode is where players will find the most fun. Firing off shots, picking up new weapons and ammo, and trying to survive just works a bit better than the campaign. Adding coop, a staple of the KF series, really works wonders here too, but even that has its drawbacks.
VR is still a niche market, so any sort of multiplayer can be tough to get working. Killing Floor: Incursion is no exception, but the game hurts itself by having a buggy coop setup that was troublesome in many ways. Matches would be hard to find and start depending on the player population and the temperament of the game. Once it works, this is when you’ll have the most fun with the game though.
Killing Floor: Incursion hits PSVR just a bit late in a lot of ways. It’s arrival comes months after the PC release, which already felt pretty derivative of other VR shooters out there. If you’re a fan of the property then the game might offer enough to justify a purchase. Otherwise it’s just a standard VR shooter that doesn’t go far enough to differentiate itself from the crowd.
Killing Floor: Incursion
- Available On: PS4, PC
- Published By: Tripwire Interactive
- Developed By: Tripwire Interactive
- Genre: Shooter
- US Release Date: May 1st, 2018
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "Killing Floor: Incursion hits PSVR just a bit late in a lot of ways. It's arrival comes months after the PC release, which already felt pretty derivative of other VR shooters out there. If you're a fan of the property then the game might offer enough to justify a purchase. Otherwise it's just a standard VR shooter that doesn't go far enough to differentiate itself from the crowd."