Killing Floor 2: hands-on

Game code provided by the publisher

If you’ve played Killing Floor or perhaps even Red Orchestra, then you may have already had an inkling that Killing Floor 2 would be good and while we can only speculate on whether it will be in its entirety, the version soon to hit Early Access is something I’ve very much enjoyed and am already telling friends about so I will have someone to play with on voice comms.

Having only dabbled with the original, I can’t really give much in the way of detailed ramblings on what feels the same, better or worse. On the flip side it’s all feeling pretty good so far; the pacing of the slow ramping up of the horde of zeds, combat in both ranged and melee forms are fairly well catered to, and movement is tweaked to let you run just fast enough to not get away from the horrible big bad guys – which is actually a good thing as it makes the game far more tense.

Upon its upcoming release it’ll have four playable classes and three maps; the classes are commando, berserker, medic and support, which unfortunately means no sharpshooter, demolition or firebug until further down the line. Of the classes I can only really say that I enjoyed the medic and the berserker, as their weapons are the only ones that see any sort of variation and contain interesting mechanics. Commando just has assault rifle and SMGs (with the special ability of being able to change fire modes) and the support just has shotguns, one of which can fire both barrels as a special ability. In fairness the perk system does require quite a bit of levelling, but for now neither of these classes gripped me enough to stick with them.

Medic was the best by far with a good selection of weapon types, all of which have the ability to fire healing darts out at other players. It makes the medic very combat orientated with a good degree of accessibility for healing your teammates. Being able to choose between a varied weapon set without losing the core functionality of the medic’s role is why I enjoy playing it the most. With experience largely tied into your classes’ weapons, being able to carry both a shotgun and rifle without losing out on experience or healing is a big deal; something that I’d like to see in the commando and support classes to give them less narrow playstyles.

The berserker works surprisingly well for a game that doesn’t seem to want you alive if left in melee range of enemies normally. Bashing things with shovels, explosive sledgehammers and firing nails and circular sawblades is a pretty class-defining set of weapons that separates berserker from the other classes quite radically. Being stuck into the enemies is the way to play and you end up being like a walking tank at times, waltzing into groups of enemies and bashing away until they are left as corpses by your feet.

The best bit though is the tank on tank, head to head of the berserker hammering away at one of the larger opponents. If you don’t play it right you will be overcome fairly quickly but with the support of your team, you can take them down whilst being right in the thick of it all. Coming out the other side of a bloody battle is what makes the berserker fun to play and it’ll only get better with perks.

There is also the one boss character, who I won’t spoil but suffice to say is one of those things where it’ll quite easily kill you and your team many, many a time; but on those few instances where you do manage to get through and beat them, it’s both relief and a victory. While the other rounds can get tense, it gets far more tense here, especially when you’re the last one standing and you can hear them closing in behind you, just before you can heal up from that tiny shred of health you have left over.

That is what I enjoy most about Killing Floor 2, the tense moments, the little victories from when you just survive by the skin of your teeth. It works so well because you are always powerful but fragile, one slip up and you could easily be dead, but if you can just get to that ammo pack then you can probably kill that last big guy with the chainsaw. Moments like those make it so much fun and I’m really looking forward to having my friends join me in them.

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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