Screenshot of Killing Floor 2 Cover Image

What is Killing Floor 2?

Killing Floor 2 was published and developed by Tripwire Interactive, as a first-person shooter videogame. The sequel to the title produced in 2009, it was available in the early access version starting in April 2015. Initially the game could only be played on Microsoft Windows systems, but was later on made available for PlayStation 4. It uses the Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games and is expected to have a version for Linux & SteamOS.

Key facts about Killing Floor 2

  • Killing Floor 2 gameplay is based on wave-combat a concept popular in zombie shooter games.
  • The videogame has a complex character progression system, but not a proper single player.
  • Killing Floor 2 maps are large and diverse, despite the limited role of exploration.
  • There are plenty of abilities to unlock, but the process is long and a bit tedious.
  • Killing Floor 2 is more about intense action and less about a story or a plot per se.

Gameplay of Killing Floor 2

The Killing Floor 2 gameplay bears all the hallmarks of first-person shooters. The emphasis is on killing zombies created by a deadly outbreak at a biotechnology company. Players are involved in a nonstop killing frenzy, trying to survive waves of incoming enemies called Zeds. As in most games of this type, the waves tend to get increasingly difficult. In addition to killing the upcoming enemies, players also need to prepare for the inevitable boss fights.

There are plenty of weapons to use but ammunition is always a problem, especially when dealing with powerful bosses. These are randomly determined at the beginning of the last wave, so it’s virtually impossible to be 100% prepared. An eclectic mix of long-range and melee weapons need to be used by players to stand a chance throughout the invasion. Players can also use welders to block the waves of incoming enemies and take advantage of terrain.

In order to accumulate more ammunition and gain access to more powerful weapons, players need to explore the entire map. This makes it impossible to dig yourself up in a hole and simply wait on Zeds to invade. By killing opponents, players accumulate experience points as well as virtual currency which can be traded for equipment. When they take direct hits from enemies, players can heal themselves using medical syringes. Their peers can also rush to their rescue and prevent them from dying.

Killing Floor 2 difficulty scales well

In the case of an untimely demise, players will have to wait until the end of the round. It’s not possible to respawn during the mission and this fails it all players die at the same time. When they survive a round, they also receive money that can be spent on body armor, weapons and ammunition. In total there are four difficulty levels and these influence the toughness of incoming enemies. The games can be configured based on this difficulty as well as the number of rounds before boss fights.

Screenshot of Killing Floor 2 Zombie Attack

Killing Floor 2 gameplay was further enhanced ahead of the patch released in the first quarter of 2016. The dynamic difficulty option allows players to make upcoming waves stronger or more manageable. There are a total of three basic combat classes, cold field medic, support and commando. Each has its own gear and special abilities and the team needs to consist of all these characters to survive. In order to maximize the number of points they collect, players should inflict damage using class specific weapons.

During each level, Zeds attack from different directions and use various tactics to inflict maximum damage. Players need to counter their assault with the skills they have, including active and passive abilities. Most of them can be used either offensively or defensively, yet some skills benefit their peers. Customization is reduced to visuals, as players can dress up their characters as they see fit.

Plot of Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 plot is very simple and little information is shared on the characters or the narrative. What we know is that a deadly outbreak started in a biotechnology firm in Europe. It quickly spread across the entire continent and the European Union collapsed shortly after. A month after the events in the prequel, action begins and players try to survive in a hostile environment. This is pretty much all that players are told about the narrative before they jump headfirst into the sharks infested waters.

Defeating waves of Zeds allows players to unlock more powerful gear and protective equipment. Some of the basic elements from role-playing video games are featured here, but in a very diluted way. Basically everything is a tutorial for the boss fights, which are significantly more powerful than regular zombies. They have bigger health bars, inflict more damage and are more likely to focus on individual players.

Screenshot of Killing Floor 2 Boss Fight

These monsters require perfect coordination and some degree of strategy to bring down. Regular rounds are forgiving, but mistakes committed against bosses will almost always result in the untimely demise of players. If all of them die simultaneously the mission is lost and players have to start from square one. The problem is that there are not enough bosses in the game and players will sooner rather than later learn their core mechanics.

Development of Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 didn’t spend a lot of time in development, because the producers were focused on another game. It was Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad that required most of the time and resources of Tripwire. Under these circumstances, the first-person shooter zombie game was surprisingly successful. It was produced with a relatively small team size and budget, yet it was released on time. The original game required no more than 10 people who worked round-the-clock for three months.

The sequel used a heavily modified game engine from Unreal 3, despite the fact that the Unreal Engine 4 was already available. Only a few of these features were brought into the game, as developer didn’t want to scrap all the content already produced. To create hype around the game and convince players that it’s worth pre-ordering, it was released on Steam. Its Early Access program brought it into the houses of tens of thousands of enthusiastic players. This also brought more money to the developers’ coffers and allowed them to use motion capture for a better gameplay.

Where can I download Killing Floor 2?

Killing Floor 2 is actually a big step forward compared to the original game. However it retains many of the popular concepts and even some of the game mechanics. That’s why those who visit the Tripwire website would benefit from acquiring the bundle instead of just one game. If they are in the market for a different type of game, it’s worth considering Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. This is the best game from this developer and the one that they focus on even when developing Killing Floor 2.

Screenshot of Killing Floor 2 Last Fight

For those who would rather dwell exclusively on first person shooters with a zombie theme, there are other options online. Call of Duty Black Ops II, Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Dead Space 3 and Dead Rising 4 are great alternatives. Their developers had access to significantly more resources and this shows.

What are others saying about Killing Floor 2?

Killing Floor 2 was well received by the audience, especially by those who have played the original. The appreciated the fact that developers extracted an astonishing amount from the limited resources. A small team of enthusiasts continues the story of the original game, with better graphics and exciting gameplay. The absence of any real plot prevented the first-person shooter from reaching its full potential. Some are also unhappy with the fact that with just two bosses, fights tend to get repetitive after a while.

My rating of Killing Floor 2

I was a bit surprised initially to see that so many first-person shooters now have a zombie mode. I understand that this is regarded as a distraction from the more serious gameplay, yet I’m not a big fan of it. At the same time, I enjoy taking some time off to blast zombies back into oblivion. Killing Floor 2 delivers precisely this mindless fun that even the more serious gamers need every now and then.

I haven’t played the original, as a quick glance at the graphics had a deterring effect on me. Now that I know how few people work on it, I have to admit that they did a hell of a job. Killing Floor 2 is significantly better and once again a small and enthusiastic team made this videogame possible. Without being one of the best games of 2016, it packs quite a punch and can provide a couple of hours of good old-fashioned fun. Don’t set your hopes too high and you won’t be disappointed by a game that deserves every point it gets in this review score of 8 out of 10.