Some of the most successful games in history started life as mods.
Killing Floor 2 is no exception, being the sequel to a 2009 first person co-op shooter that was originally built as an Unreal Tournament 2004 convert. It’s been a long time coming, but since 2015 the fully fledged sequel has been in early access, honed and tweaked ever since.
That level of polish certainly shows in the finished build. Tripwire have clearly listened to their community and made a game that feels crisp, smooth, and sharp.
However, there is a clear divide between the PS4 version of the game and PC. The big caveat, of course, being the Steam Workshop support. The ability to ‘mod the mod’ has been a huge part of the success of Killing Floor on PC and will almost certainly be critical to KF2’s success.
Unfortunately, much like Mount and Blade Warband earlier this year, a big chunk of the games’ heart is completely absent without it. It’s not hugely surprising as mods have only really become a recent thing on consoles. Thanks to Bethesda, big hitters like Skyrim, Fallout, and DOOM are really catching fire with players who want to experiment and share nifty tweaks and twists with their friends. But if these games have shown anything, it’s that modding on consoles can and should be available to all if developers want it.
And here’s the thing, by not having that level of access on PS4 it potentially affects the games’ longevity on the platform. With arguably the strongest lineup of shooters in years – Overwatch, Battlefield One, COD, and Titanfall 2 – Killing Floor 2 may struggle to build a home, let alone keep one.
That said, it’s a bit unfair to lump them in the same category because this is an entirely different experience. Essentially, KF2 is a more flesched out, developed, and strategic variation on Call of Duty Zombies, but if COD Zombies were crossed with Left 4 Dead. You have a variety of classes available to you – each with different ability types – and must find ways to bring them together collabratively to down hordes and hordes of zombies of different breeds and types.
Running through the classes, you can take the guise of the Berseker – an effective melee class – who starts with a severed tool akin to a shovel and can plunge through zed craniums with unsettling ease. The increased weapon damage is also married up with stronger damage resistance. In each game, you can earn XP by killing Zeds and fulfilling objectives in order to increase the level of the class and gain new abilities which can be used to change the balance of play. As with Overwatch, you’ll really need a balanced medley of classes in one team in order to create a well-oiled and functional unit.
You’ve also got a Commando unit who is liable to be the most popular with an overall balance and effeciency with auto weapons.
Other classes include the Field Medic who can shoot healing darts, a Demolitionist who – you guessed it – blows shit up, and a Sharpshooter who’s pretty handy with a Sniper Rifle.
The aim is to fight your way through one wave – a maximum of 10 – beating a sea of mindless walkers, along with some bloated, boomer-like Zeds, and screechy Witch-like preachers who bring legions into battle with piercing screams. Once you’ve beaten a wave, you get to run to the Trader Pod which spawns at random locations on a map and lets you restock ammo, as well as buy new weapons such as guns and katanas.
You’ll need to watch the weight you’re carrying around with you and decide accordingly which weapons to take into the fray. Again, the amount of weight you can carry is dependent on the class you roll, so this might factor into your choices. The good news is that there’s a wide assortment to choose from, including shotguns, dual pistols and auto rifles. You only get a minute to buy items though, then you have to prepare for the next onslaught.
The cool thing is that by spawning the Trading Post at random locations on the map, Killing Floor 2 is encouraging you to see maps in full, rather than sit and camp in one spot the whole time. This actually freshens up the experience and offers potential for various different strategies. You can also fortify your position by welding doors together to slow the progress of certain Zeds. This can be quite useful, particularly in boss battle situations.
At the end of a set number of waves, you need to lock horns with a large, enraged beast – think Super Mutants on steroids – who has a pretty healthy energy bar and dishes out several different attacks to make it difficult for you to predict his next move. One minute he could firing a minigun at you, next he’s charging in stealth, battering into you. There are other bosses as well, but just to give you an example of how the intensity rises.
And the intensity definitely does amplify. Being chased around the map on your lonesome, trying to pepper your foes with pistol shots, or blast them with a shotgun while staying alive is definitely going to make for some incredibly tense moments, especially if you have teammates in your ear trying to ‘help’.
You can also jump into a VS Survival Mode which lets one team play as mercenaries and another as Zeds. This is a great switch on the standard format of play and really mixes up play. The game also allows you to craft weapon skins and customiable items by collecting common, uncommon, rare, and exceptional skin materials. This is done by recycling existing skins and opens up further opportunities to customise your characters in fun ways.
The other neat thing to note is that KF2 will launch with PS4Pro support and be compatible with Sony’s new hardware out of the box. It’s great to see continued support for the hardware
Oh, and the soundtrack. The rip-roaring, grungy, hardcore soundtrack really gets the blood pumping. It’s brilliant!
Unfortunately, the amount of modes shipped with the game are not enough to really diversify the action and this does become a tad tedious after multiple playthroughs, unless you have a good, cohesive group from the very beginning. Playing with randomers is likely to be frustrating more than fantastic.
The offline component is also very limited, pretty much forcing you to spend your time online only. For one thing, there is no local multiplayer which feels like a massively missed opportunity. For another, there doesn’t appear to be a way to play with AI bots. Admittedly, we haven’t played online as much as we should prior to review due to very limited numbers on the servers and we’ll certainly update our impressions now the game is available to all. As far as I’m aware, this isn’t cross-platform with PC so the amount of PS4 players available to us prior to launch was obviously a limited pool
All that said, this feels like it’s going to thrive on regular content updates, which hugely appeals to us and means we’ll be keeping a regular eye on the game as it continues to grow in the weeks, months, maybe even years to come. We’ll certainly be updating our impressions in this post to let you know what we think.
But basically, if you want to experience Killing Floor 2 the way it should be experienced, jump on PC. The community is bigger, and the opportunities for customisation are endless. We think you’ll have a better time all things considered.
It’s definitely not that Killing Floor 2 is a bad game. Not at all. But in such a competitive climate, with such stripped back functionality, unfortunately, it’s one that’s going to need to offer a lot more in the coming weeks to keep bringing you back. What it does offer, however, is strong, co-operative team based fun that is as good as we’ve seen it on Playstation 4.
+ Lots of fun with a regular group
+ Map placement of trading posts really fills out each map and encourages various strategies
+ Boss battles are intense, particularly with that heavy metal score
– Limited modes
– No local co-op making this, essentially, an online only game
– A mostly stripped back experience compared to PC
Killing Floor 2
8 out of 10
Platform review on :- PS4