There’s never been a lack of FPS games on console, so it truly takes something special to stand out and grab your attention. Killing Floor 2 may not reinvent the wheel or break new ground, but it does manage to separate itself from its competition thanks to the fluid fast-paced gameplay, and generally (for the most part) solid design. Killing Floor 2 was announced for Xbox One a number of weeks ago, however eagle eyed fans were able to spot a short snippet of the game during Microsoft’s E3 2017 presentation, pretty much confirming that it was inbound for the console.
One of the only downsides is that this game is already available on Steam and PS4 for a cheaper price point, but the upside is that on Xbox One, you’re getting all of the post launch DLC, on top of some timed exclusive content. That’s right, The Tropical Bash, The Descent, and The Summer Sideshow DLC are yours for the taking. Timed exclusive content is less bulky, but includes a new weapon known as the Freezethrower, which comes with eight different skins. You’ll also nab yourself some cosmetic goodies, such as the Wasteland Armour, which again comes with more skins to customise how you see fit. Safe to say, there’s enough content to justify the price tag.
Killing Floor 2 is an online co-op based horde mode shooter that’s often compared to the likes of Call of Duty: Zombies and Left 4 Dead. The aim of the game is as simple as can be, in which you and a group on buddies are expected to survive several rounds of full-on carnage. You’ll be facing off against an enemy type known as Zeds, a repulsive foe that comes in varying shapes and sizes, with varying capabilities to boot. Between each round, you can spend any currency that you have earned on ammunition, armour, and weaponry, you can also sell it too, before the next wave begins of course.
As you climb and survive through each exhilarating wave, the Zeds will only up their numbers and come back even stronger. You’ll witness some grotesque looking mutations if you’re skillful enough to make it through the waves, and Killing Floor 2 never gives you the easy life as a result. The AI is spot on and thoroughly challenging, often pushing both your reflexes and your tactical response time to the limit. Each new wave pulls in new foes for you and your team to contend with, and when you factor in that if you and your team die, it’s game over, it can make for some very tense moments of play. Make it through all of the waves in one piece and you’ll be greeted by the level’s boss, and boy do these encounters make you work for your victory.
You can play the game alone or online, with an added training section that feeds you the basics of play and gives you a firm understanding of what lies ahead. This tutorial section is intuitive enough to get you going, but out in the online world, a gun is only as good as its aim. Something you’ll be hoping that each of your team members thoroughly understand and appreciate, because after all, one fallen team member will only make it harder for the remaining team members to see the experience through. You can also throw a spanner in the works and opt in for some PvP, in which you can choose to play as both humans and Zeds. Regardless as to where you gravitate towards, the game remains engaging and thrilling throughout, though online play certainly steals the spotlight.
There are several weapons that you can select from, ranging from close, mid, and long ranged combat. You can get up close and personal with the katana, get some distance between you and your foes with some bulky desert eagles, or go all out Daryl Dixon and crossbow the ugly bastards from across the map. Not action packed enough for you? Rocket Launchers will be the way to go. Or maybe you want something more inline with your standard shooter? Not a problem! There’s heaps upon heaps of different weapons that you can pick up and tear Zeds apart with, all of which feel unique and come with their own pros and cons. Furthermore, you don’t need to stick to a specific character to enjoy a skillset or loadout thanks to the class-system that’s in place.
Classes, or more accurately, Perks, can be applied to whatever character you fall in love with. You’ll be able select from classes such as berserker, gunslinger (my personal go-to class), sharpshooter, and so on and so forth. Each perk enables you to level it up through the simple yet well implemented progression system, which will gift you with additional skills / stat boosts for every few level-ups. It’s a very easy system to make friends with, but when you think about how straight forward Killing Floor 2 is, being that it’s all about surviving waves and blasting everything in your way, it’s a decent design choice that sits well with the whole package.
Each of the maps that you can take to are well designed and diverse, ranging from an opera house, a grand manor, a farmhouse, catacombs and many more. The care to attention and detail is nothing other than outstanding, with each map providing a blend of different scenery to keep the game feeling fresh. Maps also tend to lean heavily on the gameplay or influence it to a certain degree, depending on where you trek. There’s vantage points, choke points, open sections, closed sections, well lit sections, dark sections, you can even weld doors shut to buy you some extra time in the right circumstances.
In all honesty, it didn’t matter to me what map I was in, because nothing is quite as satisfying as painting shit red. Killing Floor 2 is apologetically gory, on a scale that would make Serious Sam proud. Although there isn’t much here in regards to a story, characters will often comment on their surroundings, their loadouts, and of course, the Zeds they’re facing off against. This adds a nice touch to the gameplay and makes you connect with your selected hero even more as you slowly become familiar with their personality. It’s also interesting to swap between other characters to see how they react differently in the same scenario, which adds incentive to toy around and test out different choices.
Now, for as excellent a shooter as Killing Floor 2 is, I do have one gripe. It can be overly difficult at times, even on the easier setting and especially when your team don’t pitch in the effort. Getting caught in a choke-point is far too difficult to weave out of, and has led to frustrating moments that I just couldn’t avoid nor enjoy. Difficulty works a little different in Killing Floor 2 as to what you would typically see elsewhere. The higher difficulties result in Zeds having more abilities and traits, which does make it harder, but not so much that newcomers will have too much of a tough time.
It’s all about watching your foe and observing their attack patterns, and once you suss out what specific Zeds are capable of, regardless of your difficulty tier, it makes the battlegrounds all the more controllable. One thing I want to commend especially are the visuals and the audio. Killing Floor 2 looks amazing throughout the entirety of play, and to think that we’re getting Xbox One X enhancements, I can only imagine what the experience will look like then. It sounds absolutely incredible too, with each weapon, enemy, and gory splat sounding unique in comparison to the last. Needless to say, if you enjoy a good horde based shooter, Killing Floor 2 ticks all of the right boxes.
Despite the game being overly hard in certain places, and the fact that this is cheaper on other platforms, you’re getting a decent amount of content that bundles together the core game, the previously released DLC, and some timed exclusive Xbox One content in one solid package. The gameplay is tight and fast-paced, the visuals are gorgeous, and the design of each enemy, map, character, and weapon, is nothing short of outstanding. There are enough modes and maps present to keep this from feeling stale, and the sheer nature of play ensures that Killing Floor 2 remains every bit as engaging as you could hope for. If you’re looking for your next action packed horde based shooter, you’ve found it, and you wont be disappointed.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.