Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: April 15, 2017
Killing Floor 2 is a survival horror first-person shooter game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Killing Floor 2 is the sequel to PC game Killing Floor which released at retail in 2009; although its origins dated back to 2005 when it was initially released as an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod which went on to sell over 3 million copies on PC via Steam from 2009. Tripwire Interactive was founded in 2005, also being known for the Red Orchestra and Rising Storm series of tactical first-person shooters, while their following game will make the leap into virtual reality with Killing Floor: Incursion, but before that can Killing Floor 2 achieve the same quality as the first game of the series?
The story building up to the events of Killing Floor 2 involves a scientific research facility named Horzine Biotech who were experimenting in human genetics for military purposes; only for the experiments to mutate and attack everything insight resulting in them needing to be locked away. The experiments eventually break free; initially overrunning the Horzine Biotech facility in London, England before spreading throughout England and becoming widespread across Europe. Civilians and mercenaries have joined forces in a last ditch attempt to destroy the specimens known as Zeds before the catastrophe in Europe is unleashed on a global scale. However, it must be stated that players looking for an unfolding story taking place in and around gameplay will be disappointed as the story is only told in live action videos and written descriptions that are all external to the game.
The only single player game mode is survival in which the player must battle against waves of A.I. controlled Zeds through over a dozen maps comprising of a short, medium or long duration containing 4, 7 or 10 waves respectively which culminates in a battle against one of two vicious enemy bosses. However, there is no capability to play as the Zeds against the mercenaries in single player, despite the Vs. Survival mode being available in online multiplayer.
There is a wide variety of weaponry with the ability to customise loadouts after surviving each wave through the trader in exchange for in-game currency that is earned by killing Zeds, although all of the weaponry and armour have a certain weight to them which must weigh in at equal or less than the total weight allowed within the inventory. Weapon categories are assigned to the ten perk classes including melee weapons such as a katana for $600, a lawn-mower blade and knives which are both provided as standard; grenades from $40; pistols with a single pistol provided as standard with dual pistols costing $150 and better pistols such as a desert eagle available for $200 with dual desert eagles costing a further $650; assault rifles, shotguns and sub-machine guns from $200 each; heavy artillery guns such as an RPG and grenade launcher from $650; a flamethrower for $1,100; and more besides. Your budget also has to stretch as far as replenishing ammo for every equipped weapon, so there is no room to just randomly purchase a weapon without seriously stocking up on armour and bullets beforehand. It is also important to notice how the gunplay is dramatically improved due to the inclusion of Zed Time which provides slow motion effects when headshots or hordes of enemies are killed simultaneously.
Earning XP to level up your chosen perk is important to your progression through any map for longer durations and higher difficulty levels as gaining enough XP to increase your rank within a selected perk will increase perk bonuses along the way to unlocking new perk skills. Obtaining XP can be achieved by successfully completing XP objectives that are unique to each perk class such as inflicting Berserker weapon damage and killing nearby Zeds with a Berserker weapon in order to gain XP towards increasing the Berserker perk class rank which can be applied to any character of your choice.
There are ten perk classes with new perk skills unlocked when levelling up to rank 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 such as the Berserker perk class being able to unlock Dreadnought to increase total health by 75% or Skirmisher to move 25% faster, sprint 25% faster when using a perk melee weapon and regenerate two points of health per second. Each of the ten perk classes have their own unique perk bonuses such as Berserker including an increase in Berserker damage, damage resistance, night vision capability and Clots being unable to grab your character.
You can play as one of 14 characters such as a heavy metal lead guitarist and Swedish biker named Oisten Jagerhorn; a cryogenically frozen German soldier since 1942 called Anton Strasser; Police Constable Rob Briar who was on duty at the time of the London Zed outbreak; and many more interesting characters who all have full biographies that provide an insight into their personality and background. All 14 characters start out with the same standard emote, although there are multiple layers of character customisation; for instance PC Rob Briar can have his hairstyle changed; outfitted with police blue, night black, army green or SAS camo riot gear; and a useful accessory can be equipped such as a riot helmet or S10 NBC mask or something superficial such as sunglasses.
Enemy design is rather varied as the majority of the dozen or so enemies have unique attacks or abilities and vary in size, but have two things in common as they are all capable of creeping up from anywhere even through vents or sewers and look as though they are straight out of the most horrifying of horror films. Smaller enemies including Cyst, Clot and Slasher inflict the least damage by grabbing your character to immobilise him or her, although their quantity in numbers when they simultaneously attack is their strength, while Stalkers have a cloaking ability that enables them to attack stealthily; unless your character is within the Commando perk class. Medium size enemies include Bloat which produces a corrosive green vomit that obscures your character’s vision, while Sirens will disorientate your character and disable grenades through high pitched screams. Larger enemies are capable of withstanding just as much damage as they are able to inflict such as the Scrake with a chainsaw in place of their right arm. There are two incredibly difficult to defeat enemy bosses to overcome in the form of Dr. Hans Volter who wears an Exo suit to provide him with superhuman strength and movement with a pair of assault rifles and gas grenades as his main attacks, although despite all of that he will still feel the need to suck the life out of any nearby character when his health is running low, while the Patriarch has a powerful minigun and missile launcher in place of his left arm and healing syringes to recover health when retreating.
The environment design has an appropriate amount of variety as it lets you fight off wave after wave of Zeds throughout over 12 maps with every map containing 10 hidden collectibles for players to find individually or as a team. There are such diverse locations as one of the Biotics Labs that the Zeds originated from before the European outbreak and Containment Station continues that with a look at a Horzine facility. However, there are many maps that showcase a far more horrifying tone not just from enemies, but the surroundings themselves such as catacombs and caves that lay beneath modern Europe; Black Forest is set within misty woodlands that anyone could easily get lost in; and Infernal Realm depicts an unnerving realm of desolation.
Tropical Bash is a free downloadable content pack including a new tropical island themed map titled Zed Landing containing an active volcano, a new makeshift mace weapon called the Bone Crusher, a new Zed in the form of a dual-bladed Gorefiend, dual perk weapons increasing the choice of weaponry per perk and new emote animations. A further free downloadable content pack titled The Descent includes two new maps including a community developed map titled Nuked that is considered to be so good that it is now part of the official line-up of maps, a new Holdout sub-mode for survival gameplay that drops players into random locations at the start of each new wave on the new map called The Descent and two new weapons including the Spitfires which is a fan-favourite weapon from the first Killing Floor game and a Stoner 63a light machine gun for sustained fire. There are also Tanaka Biker, Mr. Foster Classic, Cardboard Knight and Briar’s Bobby uniform bundles containing a variety of cosmetic skins for the respective characters at a price of £3.99 per uniform bundle. A Horzine supply crate key is available for purchase as an in-game consumable key with the purpose of opening any Horzine supply crate you have obtained at a cost of £1.99.
Killing Floor 2’s remote play performance is excellent as it retains the quality of graphics, audio and general performance from the PS4 version even during online multiplayer. However, the controls remain unoptimised as firing a weapon is mapped to the right of the rear touch pad and aiming is mapped to the left of the rear touch pad which would have felt far more natural if it had been mapped to R and L respectively. The same can be stated for crouching or sprinting and melee attacks being mapped to the bottom left and right of the rear touch pad respectively when they may have been better mapped elsewhere such as the touch screen. Despite taking some getting used to; Killing Floor 2’s remote play can be a rewarding experience if you are persistent in becoming accustomed to the predominantly rear touch pad oriented control scheme.
The four control schemes are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller; providing enough variety in the process for players to be confident in finding a control scheme that suits their play style. The default control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire a weapon; holding L2 to aim down iron sights; pressing R1 to utilise alternative fire or block; pressing L1 to throw a grenade; pressing X to jump; pressing square to reload or holding square to heal; pressing O to use or holding O to weld a door; holding triangle to enter weapon select; pressing up on the d-pad to equip healer; pressing down on the d-pad to toggle flashlight; pressing left on the d-pad for voice comms; pressing right on the d-pad to throw dosh; pressing L3 to crouch or sprint; pressing R3 to perform a melee on an enemy; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look around your surroundings; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad to display the scoreboard, while vibration occurs when shooting a weapon to reflect the feeling of recoil and when a Zed has landed an attack, although there is no light bar implementation which is surprising as it could have provided an alternative health display for your character through displaying appropriate colours.
Killing Floor 2 is graphically impressive as it depicts an atmospheric, foreboding tone that is hard to perfect in gaming to this level of expression with scary, monstrous imposing enemies fixated on your character’s demise as blood splatters are scattered throughout the eerily designed environments to deliberately showcase the Zed’s evil intentions. Killing Floor 2 utilises a heavily modded Unreal Engine 3 that has been customised by the development team to include elements of Unreal Engine 4 and Nvidia’s GameWorks features to create what is widely referred to as a minimum of Unreal Engine 3.5. PS4 Pro support enables 1800p resolution which is upscaled to 4K resolution with PS4 Pro’s increased RAM allowing ultra textures for enhanced surface detail across everything during gameplay and even better dynamic shadows. Killing Floor 2 is also improved on PS4 Pro for gamers that have a 1080p television with super sampling providing a higher quality display due to smoother anti-aliasing.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the home menu, perks menus, gear menus, inventory menus, multiplayer options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad, face buttons and tapping the touch pad, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and swiping across the touch pad. The background of every menu depicts some of the quite scary enemies you will be facing during gameplay.
Voice-overs vary for each of the mercenaries as they swear when being overrun by Zeds and communicate with team members in a serious manner to remind them of low visibility or rather humorously inform the team of their generosity when handing out some free dosh, while enemy bosses taunt your character that your defeat is inevitable and a female trader comments on your team’s progression and instructs your team to return to the trade pod for re-supply after each wave has been completed. The voice-overs are excellently performed from the entire cast such as Eli James as Constable Rob Briar having previously voiced various characters in many Pokemon television series and films, Lynn Andrews III as Donovan ‘Bulldog’ Neal having voiced Piston in Borderlands 2 and Shadow Trap in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Jim Foronda as Tom Banner previously voicing various characters in the Borderlands franchise and Battleborn, Karen Strassman as the female trader who has previously voiced Phi in Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma and various characters in Persona 5. Sound effects include groans and howling from Zeds, shooting or performing melee attacks on Zeds, Zeds performing melee attacks on your character, a pulsating heart-rate when your character is near death, ambience such as dripping water or a prison alarm and more besides; complimented by a soundtrack of rock and atmospheric music, alongside the DualShock 4 speaker producing the female trader’s voice.
The trophy list includes 34 trophies with 18 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 5 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy with a further 3 bronze trophies for downloadable content packs. Easier trophies include the Hold Out bronze trophy for welding a door until it is 100% shut, while there are 12 bronze trophies for collecting every item scattered throughout each of the maps. Harder trophies include the Quick on the Trigger gold trophy for killing the Patriarch before he has a chance to heal; the My Perky 25 gold trophy for reaching rank 25 on any perk; the Hell on Earth gold trophy for winning any match on the hardest difficulty level named Hell on Earth. There are 7 online multiplayer trophies, although they are technically all very much achievable with some positive teamwork such as the Benefactor silver trophy for giving 1,000 dosh during a multiplayer match; the I Got Your Back bronze trophy for healing a team-mate with the syringe; the Team Player 1, 10 and 25 bronze, silver and gold trophies for winning 1, 10 and 25 survival multiplayer matches respectively; and the Vs Zed Win and Vs Human Win silver trophies for winning a vs. survival match playing as the Zeds and humans respectively. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are 4 difficulty levels including normal, hard, suicidal and hell on Earth with the major differences between each difficulty being significantly noticeable as there will be more enemies per wave, while they possess faster movement, a wider range of attacks and more health, although to make it even harder you will simultaneously have less pickups and less dosh to spend on upgrading your loadout. It is strongly advised to not attempt anything above normal difficulty until at least having levelled up to rank 6, unless you want to last less than 60 seconds on hell on Earth difficulty without having levelled up.
Survival features everything from the single player game mode, although it is far more entertaining when playing it during online multiplayer as it requires genuine teamwork and co-operation for your squad of up to six players to survive through wave after wave of A.I. controlled Zeds in which the total amount of Zeds per wave is increased in scale depending upon the number of players in your squad; therefore the challenging gameplay remains regardless of having two players or six players in your squad. Players will only respawn when the wave has ended, while players can heal each other as well as sharing ammo and dosh, alongside searching for the hidden collectibles as a team. Survival mode has an element of competitiveness to it provided by the scoreboard that informs how many Zeds each player in your team has killed. Vs. Survival sees two teams of up to six players battling it out with a major difference as one team takes the role of the mercenaries from a first-person perspective and the other team plays as Zeds from a third-person perspective before swapping around which makes for an enjoyable variant on survival mode.
Killing Floor 2 possesses flawless online multiplayer performance that is just as good as in single player with no frame-rate problems or lag in either mode. Online multiplayer matchmaking is not frustrating at all due to simplistic options including your preferred mode, map, difficulty level, length, public or invite only match, joining an in progress match or one that is yet to start and the ability to find players located within a region that will see you find an online multiplayer match within moments.
If you join an online multiplayer match that is already in progress or when your character has been overrun and killed by Zeds; the camera switches to a third-person spectator view which can be rotated around the player in focus, while a first-person perspective and a free camera is also available to view any of the action happening elsewhere in the match from the focus point of any player.
Unfortunately, there is no split-screen multiplayer which is disappointing as the game would have benefited from having an offline multiplayer component for 2 or perhaps even 4 players including all content from the online multiplayer survival mode for up to 4 players against hordes of incoming Zeds and 3 Zeds vs. 1 mercenary and vice versa or 2 mercenaries vs. 2 Zeds in vs. survival mode.
Given that Killing Floor 2 is mostly aimed at an audience of team focused online co-operative multiplayer without any offline multiplayer; it is disappointing to see that every time a huge update patch is launched at 5 to 8GB in size that you cannot play online until it is downloaded. This could easily be avoided by having the free content updates available as downloadable content and would also be helped by the inclusion of offline multiplayer, so everyone could continue playing some form of multiplayer, although as it is despite the content positively providing more replay value and keeping the game feeling fresh; it simultaneously drastically reduces the accessibility of the main area of the game, especially for gamers with slower download speeds.
Replayability is produced from a variety of features including character customisation, customisable loadouts, 10 carefully hidden collectibles to find on each map, 4 difficulty levels for a varying degree of challenge, completing XP objectives to earn XP towards levelling up the rank of your selected perk class in order to unlock new perk skills, single player offline survival mode, online co-operative multiplayer for 2 to 6 players in survival mode, online competitive multiplayer for 2 to 12 players in vs. survival mode and continued support with free content adding new maps, Zeds and weaponry to keep players returning and the online multiplayer community buzzing.
- Title: Killing Floor 2
- Developer: Tripwire Interactive
- Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
- System: PS4
- Format: Retail/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1/2-12 (Online Co-operative and Competitive Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 20.15GB (Version 1.07)