Efficient Gaming Spotlight: Killing Floor 2

I want to shoot complex zombies.  Regular zombies are so passé.

Killing Floor 2 is a game about shooting zombies.  Yes, it’s another zombie game.  Yes, the market is flooded with zombie stuff.  Fortunately, the explosive action that accentuates Killing Floor 2’s excellent moment to moment gameplay, more than makes up for the fact that it’s another zombie game.

Link: killingfloor2.com
Platform: Playstation 4, PC (Windows/Steam)
Game Type: First Person Shooter (Single / Co-op / PvP)
Cost: PC: $29.99 / PS4: $39.99 (+cosmetic DLC)
Avg Session Time: 20 minutes - 1 Hour

 

I bought Killing Floor 2 (hereafter referred to as KF2) a few weeks ago during a steam sale.  Gameplay videos and steam reviews made it look like a much more exciting and enjoyable game than its predecessor. [Note: I played Killing Floor 1 and it never clicked with me.]  It went on sale for $15 and at that price, why the hell not?  I’ve spent more at lunch.

I made a good choice.

Image Copyright gameoverthirty.com
Die Zed!

This game is a god damn good time and it’s perfect for exciting and efficient gaming.  The premise of GO30 is to find those games that you can work into your busy schedule and I can confidently say KF2 fits right in.

Why KF2?

Killing Floor 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel.  It’s a co-op (or single player) horde game that spawns wave after wave of increasingly difficult zombies (“Zeds”).  KF2 stands out from other horde games in three critical areas: player mechanics, map design, and gunplay.

Like other games in the genre, the player chooses from a variety of classes (called “perks”), each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  You can read more about the perk system here, but in general, each perk provides the player with bonuses and a unique way to combat the Zeds.  My personal favorite is the Commando perk.  Commandos specialize in assault rifles and revealing stealth Zeds.  A friend of mine prefers the Demolition perk.  Demolition, of course, makes everything explode.  Each perk has twenty five levels of experience.  Every five levels in the experience “ladder” allows the player to choose between two significant bonuses.  If you don’t like what you picked for your level bonus you can change it as long as you are between waves of attack.  Overall, KF2’s player and leveling mechanics feel more rewarding than other similar games.  The bonuses are significant and can change the way you approach combat.  It’s a system that doesn’t feel like a chore and rewards the player for investing a little time in the game.  The leveling mechanic is also a gentle reminder to try a harder difficulty because the game is at it’s best when it’s challenging (but not TOO challenging).

The gameplay is greatly enhanced by KF2’s excellent map design (more on custom maps in a moment).  The official map rotation features a wide variety of designs but they all excel at one thing: tunneling the Zeds towards the player while not completely restricting player movement.  No matter where the player stands on each map, the Zeds (usually) have three or four attack angles.  This design decision is complimented by the player ability to weld doors shut, thus restricting entry points.  The welding mechanic adds a layer of strategy but also creates a risk verse reward scenario because a welded door can no longer be used as as escape route (until it breaks or is removed).  Proper map design is essential in a horde game because it balances the excitement of close quarter battle with escape strategy, all the while feeling “fair” to the player.

Killing Floor 2 Outside
Typical outside area with three or four attack paths

[KF2 also supports custom servers that run custom maps.  As you might expect, custom maps go from relatively “normal” to “completely nuts” with as much as forty people running around, destroying zeds.  The custom maps are a mixed bag.  There are some very unique maps (the Spongebob map comes to mind) and then there are some that are simple square room with Zeds pouring in.]

The final point I want to make is in regards to the excellent gun and weapon mechanics.  I’ve played a lot of different horde based games and players weapons always feel very similar to one another.  The Gears of War games, along with Call of Duty Zombies, always felt very similar in terms of player weapon mechanics.  Killing Floor 2 just does a better job of making each gun and player class feel different.  Each gun or weapon is mechanically different (enough) to offer a new experience.  This is especially important because the player character has to buy weapons in between rounds.  Do you prefer something that does a ton of damage or has a large magazine?  Do you want a rocket launcher or a grenade launcher?  How about a nail gun?  Regardless of your weapon choice, each model is highly detailed and complimented by excellent sound design.  Each weapon feels impactful in the hands of player and most avoid the “plastic pellet gun” experience that some games can’t seem to avoid (here’s looking at you The Division, Call of Duty).  There is even a perk that excels in melee weapons.  Sword and board on point.

If you want a new co-op experience for you and your friends, I highly recommend you go check out Killing Floor 2.  It’s a game you can pick up and put down.  Each “event” can last as little as twenty minutes so there isn’t a time sink to worry about.  Like most games, there are flaws and annoyances (Zed stuck in a wall), but it’s the overall package that makes KF2 work so well.  It’s the perfect experience for those of you who enjoy co-op FPS games but need to keep your gaming efficient and immediately enjoyable.

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