Killing Floor (PC)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, June 8, 2009

Graphics: 6.00
Sound: 8.50
Gameplay: 9.50
Replays: 10.00
Gamelength: 9.50

“Killing Floor” is a great example of what a multiplayer co-op shooter should be.

These days, zombie-themed games are becoming far more common and much more popular. I’m happy with that fact because we end up with awesome games like “Left 4 Dead”. “Killing Floor”, however, takes a different approach to the genre by combining a few ideas from other games into a tidy little package that just about anyone can get into. Rather than being too complex or reinventing the wheel, the idea here is to literally buy guns, kill the enemies and hopefully finish the final wave in order to stop “The Patriarch”. I’m rather excited to bring you my review of this inexpensive, yet surprisingly addictive title, “Killing Floor” for the PC.

From a visual perspective, “Killing Floor” is by no means up to par with any of the more modern titles out there. However, the game runs on Unreal Engine 2 and for what it is, it does look rather good. There are no high-end texture or dynamic shadows here, but never let that stop you from checking this masterpiece out. This game has a very arcade-like feel to it, both in the visual style, the soundtrack and even the overall gameplay mechanics. The best part about Unreal Engine 2, though, is that most people out there who don’t have high-end computers are more than capable of running this game very fluidly even with fairly high settings.

If you’re a metalhead, this game should immediately tickle your fancy. Most of the soundtrack is filled with various forms of metal, which fits the gameplay perfectly. There aren’t really any voices, aside from basic character voices during certain situations or when a voice button is pressed, but there’s not much of a need for thatt, considering the game has full voice chat support. The absolute best part about the sound, though, is the guns. They may not be the most realistic representations of their real-life counterparts, but they sound powerful and they’re likely to make your head rattle every time you pump a round into an oncoming zombie.

The gameplay mechanics of “Killing Floor” are very simple, yet they have a small amount of depth that changes the entire experience from that of most games. First of all, this is a first-person shooter. The general concept is as simple as killing enemies until the game is over. If your entire squad dies, the round ends, but you may respawn once per wave, so long as at least one squad member remains alive and active. Up to 6 people may partake in a single match together with the standard game settings. The option to have more players is available, but you can’t level up your perks in those games. Speaking of perks, that’s one of the two things that this game does differently. Think of the perk system like a very dumbed down version of the ideas found in the newer “Call of Duty” games. In “Killing Floor”, however, there are only 6 perks. They offer different bonuses that cater to different styles of play, such as increased healing, increase melee damage, increased shotgun damage, recoil bonuses; all sorts of stuff. Each perk can be leveled from the starting point of 0 all the way up to level 5. Level 5 may not sound like a big deal, but even getting perks beyond level 2 takes a very long time. If you’re a hardcore player, though, it definitely pays off. At the maximum levels, perks give ridiculous bonuses that make the game easily playable on the higher difficulties. Suicidal difficulty is extremely hard to complete, but a well-balanced full squad with level 5 perks can do it with some basic coordination and communication. Much like “Counter-Strike”, shopping is available in between waves. In the shop, different weapons can be purchased, as well as combat armor and ammo refills. Money for the shop is earned from killing stuff, but players may also share their money with those who may need more of it. The biggest benefit of the shop is perk-specific weapons, which include a crossbow, a chainsaw and some other nifty toys. There’s no real single player game, aside from a solo version of the online mode that doesn’t even give you an AI squad. Thankfully, tons of people play this game online, so there’s never trouble finding an action-packed game. And as a final added bonus, the SDK is included with the game, which means users are already making some awesome custom maps and mods. I’ve only had the opportunity to play on a small handful of early beta player-made maps, but they seem very promising. I look forward to playing this game in the coming months, as more player-made content is released.

Overall, “Killing Floor” is a love or hate kinda’ game that’s sure to please any serious player for a very long time.

Pros:
-Capable of running on old or less-powerful computers.
-Shop and perk elements are an awesome addition to the game.
-The Steam achievements are challenging, but not impossible and extend the replay value even more.
-Cheap introductory price; $19.99 MSRP via Steam.
-Always populated online.
-Not much lag, even during matches hosted by people with slower connections.
-Guns feel and sound powerful.
-Soundtrack fits the genre perfectly.

Cons:
-Visuals are a bit outdated, even if not bad.

Bottom line:
If you like zombies, enjoy first-person shooters, own a PC and have $19.99, there’s not much else that beats the deal presented in this tidy little package. I highly recommend “Killing Floor” to any interested gamer.

Overall Rating: 9.00

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