Chances are if you’re viewing this you know Tripwire Interactive, a company who seems to sacrifice graphic superiority and overall smoothness for sheer pleasure and challenge. Killing Floor wouldn’t be the first game to sacrifice something in the name of the game though, Tripwire merely decided to focus on specific aspects that make a game in this particular genre entertaining. Instead of jaw-dropping visuals and fluid combat, we received quantity and intensity, which isn’t exactly a negative, in this particular genre the challenge is what drives me forward. Don’t let me undersell Killing Floor to you, it truly is a great game with an interactive community and more importantly, interactive developers. Tripwire Interactive hasn’t quite proven themselves to be outstanding developers with the utmost quality in the gaming World, but they have proven that developing on a budget is very doable and that they can still manage to make great games in whatever genre they see fit. Tripwire also doesn’t need to be undersold, they’ve done fantastic things by themselves and should be admired for doing so, over the years their products have done nothing less than exceed expectations. From Events to Sequels, Tripwire has yet to truly disappoint me or many others, it seems as if the company is seeking to improve at any point they can, this was shown from Red Orchestra 1 to 2 and it is shown in Killing Floor 2. Every installment seems to prove that Tripwire can and will do better, it seems to be a part of their practice really. Killing Floor 2 shows a giant leap in the right direction for not only the Killing Floor series, but also the series’ to come from Tripwire, this being Red Orchestra or whatever else Tripwire has in store for the fans. Killing Floor 2 isn’t just a copy/paste of the original, although many probably still would have enjoyed that, it’s something completely different on the evolution chart. Tripwire decided to yet again further the evolution of their company and the games they create, from the original mod of Red Orchestra for Unreal Tournament to here, it has certainly been a long and productive 11 years for Tripwire.
I can’t really admit to holding back on Killing Floor 2, the moment it came out I wanted it and the moment it was downloaded I wanted to play it, I didn’t have much restraint which mostly showed as I kept clicking Steam up to see the percent downloaded. I was generally eager to see the changes and improvements in the sequel, but I also wanted to experience Killing Floor all over again. Killing Floor had a lot going on for it and 2 should as well, the scariest thing about Killing Floor 2 is perhaps the fact that it is in Early Access, although I suppose that isn’t entirely true… try fighting 3 Scrakes after watching them murder your entire team, that’s pretty scary. Many people will be concerned with the entire Early Access part and while they are right to have some restraint, Tripwire is an indie company with an increasingly formidable resume, so I can’t say too much bad about them. While Tripwire doesn’t have many blemishes on their resume, Early Access does and Killing Floor 2 may be somewhat easy to shrug off for some gamers who are not familiar with the series, but it shouldn’t. Tripwire is a rather active company and often interacts with its own community, something rarely heard of in this industry, and I genuinely believe that Tripwire cares about their consumer base. Either way though, Killing Floor 2 is a great game to grab in Early Access. It may not have overthrown the original in terms of quantity, but it has overthrown it in damn near every other aspect.
What’s Killing Floor all about!? Well, that’s an easy question to answer actually, Killing Floor is all about blood, action, and teamwork! You and up to 5 other players will have to fight oncoming waves of relentless creatures named Zeds, Killing Floor 2 is not for the faint-hearted. Killing Floor 2 hasn’t changed the direction of the series in those terms, but it has changed the name of the game in many aspects. The weapons are perhaps the most important thing in the game, besides the blood and enemies, but where would we be without the 3 combined? Killing Floor had a knack for allowing its players to grab some fairly unique guns, from antiques to modern guns! Killing Floor 2 keeps up the trend and improves it a bit, we have antiques, futuristic, modern, and makeshift weapons. If Killing Floor 2 has done one thing properly, its create a diverse arsenal that makes it so that not everyone has the exact same gun, there’s still more to come actually! Ordinarily, I play Berserker, where my loadout tends to consist of the nail gun and the Pulverizer, nail gun is pretty straightforward, but the Pulverizer is not. The Pulverizer is a sledgehammer that incorporates the power of a shotgun, how? Fantastic question, I don’t actually know. What I do know though is that when I go approach an enemy and press my special, my hammer slams into them, a shotgun shell flies out, and the creature explodes, what more must I know? It literally makes things explode!!! So yeah, the medic guns specifically are alluring because they have a very futuristic appearance and while the rest aren’t bad, the medic guns tend to stick out the most due to their unique presentation, they also no longer heal by shooting out needles though which may disappoint some. While Killing Floor 2 has many weapons to add in, the current weapons set a trend of diversity and success. There are actually a few weapons classes missing from the game at this moment as well, Explosive Weapons, Electric Weapons, and Rifles are all currently M.I.A., so we have a lot to look forward to there as well.
Killing Floor 2 is in Early Access, so any complaints I have may only be temporary. The biggest and really only concerns I have at this moment for Killing Floor 2 are the map and boss count actually, there are 3 maps and only 1 boss at this moment. The maps are actually quite well done though and as Killing Floor fans would know, there are many maps to come. The levels introduced now are Biotics Lab, Burning Paris, and Outpost. While they have some fairly bland names, the maps are anything but bland or uneventful, they are truly packed with some interesting things and offer little to no dull moments, depending on difficulty and wave number. In terms of size they are rather big as well, I can’t really compare them to the original Killing Floor, but size wise I am not disappointed. While there is obviously a quantity issue with the maps, I do think they’ve done a rather spectacular job with the current maps, they all drastically differ from one another and they serve their purpose rather well, which is to pin you in a corner and have you and your entire team slaughtered. One of the most interesting aspects of the levels come from a new mechanic placed in the game, described as a high-powered persistent blood system, which is basically fancy wording for blood staying on the map, it actually gets pretty brutal after 5 or so waves of 100+ enemies. Surprisingly enough, I have yet to actually notice a bump in performance while the game manages to sustain such a high body and blood count, that in itself is very impressive. What deeply intrigues me though is the new challenge mechanic, while some games increase the amount of enemies and gives them more health while gimping you, Killing Floor 2 promises to bring something entirely different. Tripwire has actually stated that as you ramp the difficulty up, the amount of enemies isn’t the only thing that changes, it’s also a change in tactics as a whole. The Zeds will react differently, they will use new moves, and they will overall change the way they come at you. I’ve seen this somewhat work in the game and it’s a very unique idea that is worth mentioning and actually studying.
If you’re a fan of the original Killing Floor standalone, odds are you’ve already noticed one of the key differences between the original and sequel, that being the graphics. The graphics in Killing Floor were not terribly good, they lacked a lot in detail and even compared to other games that launched that year, it really wasn’t anything special. With gamers being the way we are, I am actually fairly surprised that it was as popular as it was, a lot of people seem to judge a game based on its level of graphic prowess, which was sorely lacking in Killing Floor. In screenshots alone you will notice the difference between the two, it is kind of an unfair comparison though and I think it is better to compare it to Rising Storm, which is Tripwire’s most recently released game. Comparing the two is rather hard seeing as the two are on completely different levels as well, but when you look at the small details, it is clear which one is superior in terms of graphics. I mean, the difference in detail is even in small objects as well, comparing the wood in Rising Storm to Killing Floor 2 alone shows a rather drastic difference. I suppose it makes sense as this is the most recent game for Tripwire, but this is a level not yet seen by fans of Tripwire or Killing Floor, it’s a step up in the right direction that shows Tripwire improving upon one of the more noticeable issues that persist in their games. Another being that Killing Floor 2 is surprisingly fluid, combat feels somewhat seamless and it just doesn’t feel nearly as clunky as the original. These problems could mean many things to fans of Tripwire, in Red Orchestra 2 it was the hit detection and overall movement (seriously, who runs like that?) and Killing Floor it felt like the same issue, except the graphics were overall worse as well. The games are surprisingly fun even with these complaints, but that great thing about Killing Floor 2 is the fact that it feels a lot better in all terms, the clunky has become the… I can’t think of a rhyming word to support my argument, it is a significant improvement though, just like Red Orchestra 2 was to the original, it has gotten better and evolved to a point where it is a lot more enjoyable. What’s even more interesting are the improvements for the medics! If you played Medic in Killing Floor you probably got annoyed when your needles were dodged or that you didn’t get enough Dosh, well, now the healing bullets are basically heat seeking and you get dosh as well as XP for healing members of you team. There are a ton of improvements across the board, from the graphics to the gameplay, Tripwire has made momentous strides to improve upon the original. The revamped perk system is something worth noting as well, the perks now have talents that unlock at certain levels. It seems to be at every 5 levels, but you will have a choice between two talents that will either help shape your playstyle or change it completely. I am not entirely sure why they call the classes perks though, it legitimately confused me at first. Right now though there are 4 perks in the field, with a promise of 6 more to come.
The game also features 11 different Zeds, most of which are familiar enemies from the first game, from the Clot to the Fleshpound, the enemies have returned in number and they’ve also received a nice makeover. They obviously use the original designs as inspiration, but the new designs show drastic improvements from the previous installments. Two you may not recognize at first glance would be the Scrake and the Fleshpound, but it’s safe to say that you will clearly recognize them due to their weapons, the appearance change is rather significant. The Fleshpound specifically looks as if he has added a lot of muscle mass as well as some height. there’s one boss at this moment, his name is Hans Volter, an evil scientist with an interesting arsenal. Hans has his dual-wielded carbines, toxic gas, stalk hand grenades, smoke grenades, and the ability to drain health in-between phases. Hans is sadly the stereotypical evil scientist with a heavy German accent, but he still manages to bring some entertainment. Despite the cliche route, Hans is a rather intriguing encounter and while you can predict his moves (especially since he yells them at you), he is a difficult boss to battle. I have only beaten Hans with a group a few times, he’s pretty hard even with a full group of competent players. Currently, the game is host to 8 characters, 6 of these are from the original while only 2 are fresh on the scene. Although the character count isn’t anything impressive, I expect that to shift later down the road. The 2 new faces though are Neal Donovan and Ana Larive. While the new characters are fantastic, i do wonder why Tripwire decided to bring so many familiar faces back at the start of Early Access, to me it would have made more sense for them to create a sort of Classic Character Bundle.
While Killing Floor 2 may not have reached its true potential yet, it is worth grabbing for fans of the original, if not to see how drastically it has improved, do it for the gore. Tripwire once again manages to prove that they can do they better and that they are a developer worthy of your attention. While Killing Floor 2 is just jumping into Early Access, it shows a lot of improvement and a lot of promise. From possible weapons to custom maps, Killing Floor 2 has a long way to go, but it’s mostly due to the potential being so high. It’s not your typical Early Access game where you have to worry about it actually getting finished, I trust Tripwire when it comes to that, it’s the type of Early Access game that has already demonstrated its worth and wants to prove itself even more. Killing Floor 2 is brutalful and not only does it better the series itself, it also brings Tripwire up with it and shows that the trend of evolution and betterment they have set for themselves is something they aren’t giving up on anytime soon. I am having a blast with the game at this moment and can not wait to see what Tripwire adds into the mix as I ride along, Killing Floor 2 is an Early Access gem that shines bright with prospect and potential.