by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Mod gone commercial
Killing Floor started its life as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 and quite frankly, it should have stayed that way. Its aspirations to become a commercial product don’t suit its scope. That ‘quick to the draw’ statement was not born from spending too little time with the game, although I did initially put it away after just an hour of gameplay, thinking “what a shallow game”. Wanting to make sure that my judgment was fair, I picked it up again and found that there was a lot to be liked.
But first things first, let’s start with the game’s storyline. Oh wait, there is none. You are just a soldier and things are about to turn really ugly for you and your mates. Hordes upon hordes of demonic creatures are throwing themselves at you and they are not interested in smooching. Is the lack of a storyline a bad thing? Not at all, you just dive straight into the zombie killing fragfest that Killing Floor was meant to be.
Careful readers will have noted that I mentioned mates. While it is entirely possible to play Killing Floor by your lonesome, it was really meant to be played as a co-op game. On ‘easy’, you may be able to fend off the enemy waves alone but as soon as you move the difficulty level up a notch, playing as a team becomes imperative for survival. I was forced to sit out quite a few matches even on normal level in spectator mode, watching how my remaining team mates struggled to survive. If too many of the team die too early in the round, the chances are slim that the remaining members are able to live through the rest of it. In standard games, up to 6 people can play together but there are mods that will let up to 30 players play on a single map. With this number of players, it is not unheard of to have well over a thousand creatures spawn during a single round so there is plenty to shoot at.
For what is supposed to be a commercial product, the actual content of Killing Floor is disappointing. The game ships with only five maps which is strange considering the 70+ maps that are available on the official forums. There aren’t that many enemy types either. The 9 that are there started looking so familiar that I almost got myself killed asking an ugly looking creature “haven’t I seen you before?”. The lack of content felt even more painful when I logged onto steam and had it inform me of new characters that could be downloaded for a mere 1.79 euro. So first you sell me a virtually empty game for 18 euro - that used to be for free - and now you want me to pay money to beef it up? I don’t think so. I’m glad I got my copy from the publisher.
On the positive side, it is a thrill to gun, stab or burn down wave upon wave of creatures with any of the game’s 10 weapons. Between rounds, a shop opens its doors where you can buy new weapons, armor and ammo. With an array of weapons ranging from a trusty combat knife to juicy flame throwers that set flame to everything they touch, you are sure to find a weapon at the shop that will satisfy your needs. The 9mm and .50 caliber handguns can be ‘dual wielded’ and are a blast to play with because of their firing speed and, well, enhanced ‘drama’ when firing. I quickly took a liking to the Bullpup, a fast shooting assault rifle that has a very serviceable scope attached to it to shoot enemies at longer distances.
You can enhance your abilities by selecting a class, or perks as they are called in Killing Floor. Most classes such as the Commando or Sharpshooter focus on improving your skills with one or two specific weapons, but the Medic and Support classes are the exception to the rule. Medics walk faster and heal both themselves and other players quicker than anyone else can. Playing with the Support class will allow you to carry much more ammo than any other class. It also gives you quicker results using the welding tool that allows you to open doors that are welded shut.
I have tried to find the difference between the commercial and the free versions of Killing Floor. Apart from the commercial game being tied to Steam, I can’t find any difference at all. So the question is, what does the game have to offer to its punters? It beats me. It looks just as old as when it was first released in 2005 and has no additional content, unless you are willing to pay for it. Worse: the new – paid - DLC that gives you four new characters feels like an insult if you consider that your friends have been playing this game for free for years.
Is Killing Floor a bad game then? Not at all, it is quite a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t put any money down for it. In fact, you can download the game for free, legally, from dozens of places on the web and you won’t have Steam nagging at you all the time about its updates. If I would have to judge this as a mod, it would easily deserve a nice, fat 8. As a commercial product however, it doesn’t get anywhere near that score.
Slaughter zombies with your friends. Lots of gore everywhere.
Outdated. Doesn’t give you any reason to pay for what is normally free.