I got my hands on a Killing Floor 2 press kit the other day, prying it open with my shaking little fingers and an eight inch hunting knife. I was beyond excited considering my previous experience with Tripwire Interactive, following them since the inaugural release of Rising Storm.
Granted, I was a little late to the party, but the drinks had not yet run out, and the multiplayer communities surrounding TwI’s gun-god power trips are only going to grow from moon-sized to constellation.
For a little bit of history, I’d invested plenty of time into goring out enemies with all manner of weaponry and in all manner of cosplay. Rising Storm offered me solace as a battlefield
commander, ordering artillery strikes on faceless opponents and taking bets on how high a body could fly and how many pieces it would break into. Their realistic gunplay served as reminder that Starbucks shooters are not the only recipe to pit 32 strangers up against 32 other strangers and have the audacity to try and unite them under a flag.
Killing Floor was a pleasant surprise in the vein of zombie arcade, and when I picked up a Winchester for the first time, I suddenly realized an absolute potential that I had not previously known. The kickback and relative bounce of the zeds as I gave a nearby barn a JFK paintjob was on par with my executional orgasm. It was an arena that rivaled Left for Dead with simplicity, and Call of Duty for actually being fun.
So here I was, adjusting the settings for an absolute graphical overhaul to the first game. I could feel my blood boiling as I anticipated the hardcore, visceral action that awaited me.
There were four classes to choose from, three of which you can throw to the wolves for all I care. Berserker is the way to go, and if anyone tells you otherwise, hit them with your military-grade shovel and dig their grave, because if you’re not getting the mileage out of these new weapons, you’re not playing this game properly.
All things considered, the inter-class weapon-blending completely dissolves abstraction in the playing field. As a hammer-wielding extra from Mad Max, I found that using the entire array of shotguns and a puny medic pistol was more enjoyable than simply hacking around like a butcher trapped in a pig farm. The assault rifles were a little bit lackluster, but then again I wasn’t so much trying to aim as I was trying to express my freedom and liberty.
They gave us a pretty narrow selection to choose from in regards to characters, weapons, and maps, but the fun was just beginning. I customized a big, bruiser type character with a rippin’ hangover. He wielded mighty meat-mashing weapons that brought flashbacks to the elevator scene from The Shining. I felt like a disgruntled farmer at one point, shakily staring down the sights of my double-barrelled boomstick with one good eye, only to feel several pounds of recoil, missing the target entirely and having to painfully reload while mysterious spider bastards gave me hugs on all sides.
Speaking of hugs, the Clots still like to hold you in place, and if you didn’t bring your pepper spray, it’s going to be a hard time getting their shiny asses off your back. In KF2, however, they suddenly feel the need to capture your attention like a horny teenager at a club. I can’t count the number of times I was wetting my pants, saving thirteen shotgun rounds and a breakup letter for a charging Scrake, only to automatically turn and dump them into the poor, innocent skull of a nearby fleshling.
Let’s talk Fleshpounds. For those of you who played the first KF, you know the crushing horror that accompanies a red-tinged Fleshpound. For those of you who are new to the series, don’t be the one jerkwad who either has his back turned, or is the guy to not turn tits over toss when a blade-spinning giant comes to fist you into next week.
You see, red usually means good when you’re playing a game about brutally separating body parts with amatuer gunplay, but when a Fleshpound give you the “stop” signal, you should really reevaluate your life and buy the next plane ticket to Nope City.
All that jazz aside, let’s get into the more interesting stuff, shall we? Killing Floor wouldn’t be an apt name without tremendous amount of killing, now would it? “Friendly Knife” is what happens when you run behind a person in Battlefield and try to set the world land speed record for appendix removal. It would be a great game, don’t get me wrong, but KF2 has moved the bar up another rung for any game that promises to have death and mayhem.
Goddamn it’s satisfying to chop through an enemy, and I really mean that. You cut through them with the ease of a construction worker, grave digger, or weeaboo, and the only thing stopping you is reveling in the raining fountains of blood that shower down upon you. The nice thing about the new level design is showing back up to an area you previously fought in and recollecting the bloodbath that occurred because you are literally standing in a bath of blood.
I started playing in a winter arena, fighting in a courtyard with a saw gun reminiscent of Half-Life 2, and began to write down marketing solutions for selling red snow because there too damn much of the stuff! There were zed parts sliding off buildings and the only thing I could think to do was get out of Dodge before the EPA hit me with a fine for toxifying the North Pole.
Either way, the arenas in KF2 are much cleaner and much more nuanced than their predecessors. I didn’t get much of a chance to explore though because half the time I was still trying to pull my pants up and get my gun loaded before all hell broke loose. I remember the sky boxes and backgrounds for the winter brawl and the Parisian death battle were very elaborate and three-dimensional, adding character and depth, but I’m pretty sure they mostly serve to distract you while a Husk cooks eggs on your flaming skull.
The gun animations are great, feeding into a dastardly bullet time in which zombie shootout becomes the wild west, but my goodness do you need coordination. In the previous game you didn’t really have to worry about special zeds until later levels, and even then, by that time you had guns big enough to commit war crimes. It was hilarious when a lone Fleshpound would open a door and try to walk into a room with six survivors. No one wanted his aggro, so they steadied their trigger fingers for all of two seconds. Then, without any word, a hail of bullets from a makeshift firing squad would poke holes in that flesh-sacked blood bank until he tripped and fell over to where the Berserker could beat his lifeless body into several pieces, all before the rest of the zed army showed up.
Speaking of army, the final point in this First Look, I would just like to point out that mecha-Hitler is a go-to source of an evil villain with more vileness to spare than Care Bears gone rogue. Yes, if you haven’t seen TB fighting him, then I’ll just go ahead and point out that the final boss is a modified ex-Nazi because Horzine is THE MOST responsible company in the world, especially when making super weapons.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt though in saying they were halfway decent in making a gun-toting nerve gas machine that curses raw German in your ear until the cows come home, and just like cows, he’s great at herding you all into a small room where he can release poisonous chemicals that probably melt your skin off and turn your lungs inside out.
My advice on beating him?
Killing Floor 2 is developed by Tripwire Interactive and will be available April 21st, 2015 for early access, RP$29.99 on Steam for PC and Steam OS