Killing Floor Review (PC)

Weíve talked before about digital distribution and the doors that it opens, but sometimes it simply needs talking to the right person, at the right time. Killing Floor, a new zombie themed survival shooter started off life in 2005 as a popular Unreal Tournament 2004 mod. Four years later, and an innocuous phone call to developerís Tripwire saw the mod released as a standalone retail title. Granted, itís been distributed via Steam (which may or may not have had an impact on it being developed) but it just goes to show that those who donít ask donít get.

Officially, the game has been out since May 14th via Steam, but a retail release is expected at the end of the week. For those of you who havenít played the game yet, Killing Floor is a fun, yet simple game that doesnít pretend to be anything then what it is. Whilst there is a general back story, thereís little about the game to make you care about it, or really pay attention to anything that could be construed as a plot device. No, Killing Floor is pure zombie-crunching action, although you can sort of tell it used to be a mod, as thereís really not much to it.

Comprised of only two modes, Single and Multi-player, Killing Floor is geared towards a multiplayer setting, and is a smart addition to the Steam roster. Embodying that action spirit perpetrated by the likes of Team Fortress 2, Alex Quickís mod-turned-game is akin to Call of Duty 5ís zombie mode, with a hint of Left 4 Deadís darker theme. Based off of the Unreal 2.5 engine, it does feel a little bit like the old school shooters, but thatís not necessarily a bad thing.

The levels of Killing Floor are really what make the game. The modified Unreal engine makes them look quite nice, and thereís a respectable amount of interactivity with the environment. Coupled with this are minor tactical elements such as being able to close and weld doors shut, thus controlling the flow of enemies for tighter kill zones and bottlenecks (unless they get fed up and decide to just break the door open). Levels are more or less open, with differing areas and levels in each map, and the way the game plays out ensures that youíll explore most of it in one sitting, providing you donít die.

A typical game will have you and a small team of up to 6 players try to survive waves of zombie attacks that increase in size and difficulty, culminating in a big Ďbossí battle at the end. In-between each wave, players have the chance to stock up on weapons and ammo, as well as healing wounds by visiting the ĎTraderí. This woman has various locations dotted about the map, and she changes venue after each wave (ensuring you explore different areas of the map). Even with the variety of maps available, a player may soon find themselves getting bored of the usual system after a while; however another plus point of this game is the near-extreme customizability of any one game. Standard fares such as difficulty, numbers in each wave, ammo/health/money penalties etc... Are accompanied by specific wave set ups, which mobs appear and how often. Constant content updates and patches that would put even mainstream developers to shame also help keep the game going, and of course you can mod the game to your liking if thatís your thing.

Still, despite all of the praise levied against the game thus far, itís not perfect. Unlike other games where bugs, silly mechanics, or even sheer stupidity keep it from scoring high, in the case of Killing Floor, itís limited solely because there really isnít that much to the game. Actual combat, whilst as good as any other FPS in terms of handling, is a bit limited by a sparse weapon set that could be more diverse. Everyone starts off with a 9mm handgun and some grenades, and you earn money by killing zombies. Whilst you can never get rid of that single handgun, you can purchase an extra one, or an even more powerful handcannon. Other weapons include different strength shotguns, rifles, an automatic, as well as a Flamethrower and a Rocket launcher.

However, with only a couple of basic weapons and then a stronger version available, there is a danger that combat can become stale. It also can take quite a bit of effort to wield the more difficult weapons, limiting the choice even further for casual players. Also, itís very easy to fall into the habit of just picking the strongest weapon, especially in late-stage gameplay.

As mentioned earlier, there are also only two game modes, solo and multiplayer. Whilst Solo mode is handy for brushing up on your skills, trying new things, and having a general muck around, only the most Ďleetí of players will actually be able to survive beyond the first couple of rounds. Even then, thereís still the danger of things becoming stale, even more so since youíre not playing with anyone else. Customizing options will also be Ďlimitedí in the sense that you avoid doing it because the game is difficult solo anyway; you donít really want to be making it even harder.

Priced at around £15, Killing Floor is just about worth its weight. The extra content and support provided by Tripwire, as well as the modding community will help add extra value to that. Those of you who are happy with L4D might enjoy a change of pace with this title, then again you may not. There really is very Ďlittleí to this game in terms of depth, and it still feels a little bit like a mod. Play or not, itís still a decent little title, and a testament to just how far you can take your hobby if you but try.

Top Game Moment:
Head shot!

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By BoneArc (SI Elite) on Aug 05, 2009
euhhhhh il pass Sorry :\
I would be glad to play a game like Left 4 dead 2 but This ? Not so much
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Aug 06, 2009
It's a good filler brtween the L4D titles, yet on it's own it is crazy fun with 5 team mates. It's a good alternative to L4D, and while very samey is well worth the trip. Just buy it, don't think twice.
By melzerith (SI Core) on Aug 07, 2009
NO Zombies ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Naked ones at that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Hunter_Raj (SI Member) on Aug 30, 2009
it's nice like cs
By SoulOfNight (I just got here) on Sep 05, 2009
Not so much fun in this game. Very bad production :/