Tripwire Interactive’s Killing Floor does cooperative multiplayer right. My first impressions that the game was a sloppy clone of Valve’s Left 4 Dead franchise are unfounded. This fun, zombie-killing first-person shooter exceeded my expectations for an indie game.
In a six-hour late-night gaming session with my fellow Poly reviewers, I solely played with the Sharpshooter perk, granting me a deadly marksman with an extremely generous headshot modifier. There are a total of seven perks, each one catering to a particular style of play. Each perk has a total of six levels, with each level granting higher bonuses. The new levels trickle in slower than an IV drop, but achieving 2,500 headshots in a six-hour period isn’t that bad if you aim solely for the head.
The gameplay promotes teamwork among players; going Rambo is the equivalent of shoving a live grenade down your throat. To survive, you need to designate firing lanes for each one of your friends to minimize overkilling and maximize situational awareness; ammunition is often a scarcity and enemies can come from any corner. Levels are divided into 10 waves, with each subsequent wave spawning increasingly numerous and difficult enemies. Each kill and level completion grants money to buy better equipment, like body armor, katanas, and battle rifles, from the Trader in between waves. While jamming to a heavy instrumental in-game soundtrack blasting through my computer’s speakers, I carefully picked off high-value targets with the crossbow. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the exploding “melon” sounds of a crossbow bolt ripping through a zombie’s head.
The game, unfortunately, has few enemy types. With nine zombie types with only one attack, there is little ingenuity or randomness in enemy artificial intelligence; every enemy of a specific type will do exactly the same thing. Implementing a secondary attack for each enemy type could spice up fighting and make the combat more probabilistic.
But, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great game. Just make sure you play it with friends. Everything is better with friends; you can talk about that extraordinarily clutch headshot that you made that saved the team from wiping—and brag about it all week long.
The video game Killing Floor, put out by TripWire Interactive and available on Steam, is actually a very good co-op game. I was initially worried about paying for it because I was worried that it wouldn’t be very good, but I’ll put its value in these terms: It cost me less than a movie ticket, including the DLC pack I bought to play as a queen’s guard, and it provided me with over six hours of quality play time in one night. Even if I don’t play the game again, it has already paid for itself roughly three times over when compared to a movie.
Besides its value, it was a lot of fun. I got to run about with a flamethrower and play my favorite role in all of video games: the god of hell-fire. I lit things on fire with impunity; anything that moved received a dosage of the cleansing combusting goodness. The infection quailed and fell before me as I set it aflame. Fear me!…. ahem. Anyway, it’s a great game.
My feeling on Killing Floor can be summed up in a simple explanation. It is similar to what Call of Duty did with the zombies maps in Call of Duty: World at War, but significantly better. It has the same basic feel: waves of enemies spawn and come after you and, if you survive, you get a short respite during which to buy equipment to survive the next wave.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I loved the zombie maps in the Call of Duty games. It was a new take on the whole zombie survival game that focused on surviving in a fortified location instead of trying to escape. However, I felt that the content for that gameplay mode was lacking. There was only one type of enemy, and the only changes between the levels were an increase in the speed and health of said enemies. I also thought that the weapons were lacking in variety.
Killing Floor, on the other hand, has about a dozen different enemies that try to kill you, and each of them are surprisingly unique in both their visual design and what each of them do. Some are the standard melee, shoot-’em-in-the-head-once zombies, but then there are the enemies that shoot missiles, enemies that are invisible until they are right next to you, and the enemies that scream so loudly that they damage your health. On top of that, the weapons specializations give the players extra damage, lowered recoil, more ammunition, and buying discounts on their chosen weapon type.
So if you liked the zombies gameplay mode in the recent Call of Duty games, but wish there was more content (and a lower price tag), this is definitely a game for you.