Are you the sort of person who enjoys pointlessly slaughtering hundreds of helpless zombie-like creatures in a video game? Because this is EXACTLY what Killing Floor has to offer.
Originally an Unreal Tournament 2004 modification, Killing Floor has actually been around since 2005. However, as they did with Red Orchestra, Tripwire Interactive took the mod under their wings and have produced a decent Steam-distributed retail game for 2009.
It just doesn’t feel too much better than a clean, freshly polished mod would, that’s all.
Killing Floor is what you call a ‘survival-horror First Person Shooter coop’ title. You and your team must fight together to survive (ultimately winning each match) while the game tries to ‘wow’ or scare you with shock factor.
There isn’t much of a story offered in Killing Floor as the game is predominantly multiplayer. Although the history of what on earth actually happened is interesting to say the least. Something along the lines of ‘British military cloning experiments gone horribly wrong, producing ridiculously large amounts of specimens and its your job to exterminate every single one’, and save the United Kingdom of course. The word ‘specimen’ is simply a fancy alternative for ‘zombie’ and you and up to five other army or police personnel (online players) get the joys of brutally murdering every single wave of them.
Now when I say ‘wave’ I literally mean that the specimens come in waves (not the ones that you surf at the beach). There’s a little icon in the top right hand corner of your screen that displays the wave number you are fighting, and how many specimens you have left to kill. Once all of them are dead you get about a minute to find your way to the Trader (I will go into this later) and then the next wave begins. Rinse and repeat.
Obviously it gets frustratingly repetitive as you play the game more and more and more and more and more... Get the idea?
You have to fight a number of these waves which get progressively harder until the final wave where you fight the ultimate boss. Don’t bother worrying too much though, as he’s not nearly as challenging as you would expect (sort of like a Left 4 Dead ‘Tank’ who isn't on steroids).
This type of gameplay does get a little boring at times. But that being said, killing hundreds of specimens is always a good laugh and it gets pretty demanding when you’re crammed into a corner with a huge group of the things devouring you and your team.
The only real addition to the game that keeps every match somewhat original is Killing Floor’s RPG elements. As a player you get to choose one of six perks at the beginning of each match. These perks give you different advantages and level up if you accomplish certain goals. You gain experience towards all perks, despite which one you are currently using, and the advantages get better as the perk level rises.
The other extra little feature is, as I mentioned earlier, the Trader. She appears every time you complete a wave and offers weapons and gear that you can purchase (you earn money for every specimen you annihilate) to assist you fighting off the next horde of mindless creatures. But, to be honest, her habit of shouting out rude comments filled with innuendo makes me rather dislike the Trader.
Which brings me to the more technical side of the game, and the voice acting is quite possibly the worst feature in Killing Floor. All the characters talk in a strong British accent as the game is set in the UK (which is definitely not a flaw), but some of the sentences and the way they say them just make you cringe. For example; "Hold still or I’ll put it where the sun don’t shine". Enough said really.
Graphically the game isn’t bad, particularly if you take into consideration that, although a heavily modified version of the Unreal Tournament 2004 engine, it is still about five years old. So the game looks a little outdated compared to other titles on the market. However, the atmosphere feels pretty eerie and realistic for the most part.
The visuals in Killing Floor are actually pretty well-done and were far superior than expected.
There’s a decent amount of content in the game, which makes up for a few discouraging flaws (emphasis again on the voice acting). Nine specimen types are included, ranging from the ‘clot’ which is your basic zombie-like specimen, to the final ‘Patriarch’ who is the ‘boss‘ creature at the end of each match (the variety of specimen forces your team to use some tactics which adds depth to Killing Floor). Over twelve weapons are available and there are a few different characters to select from (this helps to distinguish who’s who). Tripwire have also packed in a number of Steam achievements giving you a bit of replay value as well as the RPG-style perks mentioned before. The amount of maps in the initial release is also greater than you would expect from a new title.
Other neat features such as ‘Z.E.D time’ (slow-mo when killing the occasional specimen - works similar to F.E.A.R's multiplayer reflex time) and wielding doors to barricade against the horde also help to keep the game immersive.
At this stage, the online community is fantastic. It seems to be a popular game so there’s always available servers to hop into, and the players are friendly and work as a team. This is a huge helping hand that makes the multiplayer gameplay that much more enjoyable, particularly compared to playing solo. Kudos to the community for that.
Killing Floor isn’t a bad game, nor is it really superb. The variety of content is enough to keep players interested alongside the vast number of enemies at any given time, but some of the technical inadequacies may be a little distracting.
Good effort from the Tripwire team and well worth the low price tag, but it’s difficult to dub Killing Floor a candidate for Game of the Year.