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Saturday | December 10, 2016
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Killing Floor (PC)

Killing Floor (PC)

 

Zombies have long been a favourite of modern society and there is nothing I enjoy more than watching a George A. Romero horror film then heading online to frag with my buddies in Left4Dead. Today we look at a new game available on Steam from Tripwire Interactive called Killing Floor that was initially released as an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod almost four years ago.

Killing Floor is set in London after a genetically engineered experiment went drastically wrong, leading to a ‘zombie’ outbreak. This attack was so severe that there are not many people left in the capital or the surrounding areas and you (as one of them), are here to try and correct the situation. Immediately apparent, the storyline is there merely as a functioning background to get into the action and as such it is perfectly adequate, if a little predictible. The characters involved have their own personalities such as a soldier with a weird fetish for fingers and a constable who likes to brutalize his captives. Obviously this isn’t a key part of the game, but it aims to provide a little information on the individuals you can choose.

After selecting your player you can then pick one of six different character bonuses. While not as detailed as a dedicated class system these little extras go some way into providing extra abilities for your specific character. Support specialists for example are able to carry more weaponry and deliver increased damage with shotguns while Sharpshooters get extra damage from headshots and experience minimal recoil. These perks start at level 0 and they all have specific demands before a bonus is given to the player.

As the levels increase between 0 and 5 you have to play for a very long time before you reach the top grade and getting to the maximum level means you will get a specific weapon when respawning into a game. The only negative worth mentioning is that you will probably never want to explore all the perks once you find a favourite, as there are not many incentives to experiment.

You begin with a pistol, eight clips of ammunition, three grenades and a knife and in regards to equipment you get a self recharging flashlight and a hypodermic syringe which is used to heal any damage that you (or your buddies) will take. There are no health packs or food in the game for health boosts, so this syringe is a major part of your arsenal in surviving the battles. You are also given a welding torch which allows you to seal doors on your travels which comes in useful in certain situations and additionally it can be used to break seals in case you have attempted to create a safe room and something goes wrong.

The battles are intense as you start off fighting mindless zombie style creatures called Clots, who try to bite and kill you. As the game progresses you encounter more difficult beasts such as those with chainsaws on their arms and others who can smash through walls to reach you. Every monster you kill earns you money and between attack waves you can track down a trader and purchase weapons and equipment from their shop. You are limited to carrying specific weights that force you to be careful in selecting what you will carry.

In team modes there are options to drop cash for other players to pick up and to use in purchasing a wider variety of weaponry such as a flame thrower. If you or a friend die then you respawn between rounds and once all of the rounds have been completed you enter into a fight with a boss character who is known as a Patriarch. He carries a plethora of weapons and uses various modes of attack to make sure you work hard to stay alive. The Patriarch character is a chore to beat as he carries a rocket launcher and a chain gun as well as having melee tentacle attacks and to make matters worse he can cloak and raise other monsters up from the battlefield (and heal them!). He is a challenge for a fully kitted out team, and playing him in single player mode is close to impossible. This leads me nicely into the games biggest selling point, multiplayer.

Killing Floor has been totally designed for multiplayer action, unlike many other MP games, the game is not good at all in singleplayer. There are five maps on offer from the street of London to farms and a laboratory. This environmental limitation is slightly disappointing, however the developers have offered options to adjust the game to your desires. There are four different game length options which alter how many rounds you have to fight through and there are four difficulty levels which set the strength and number of creatures you have to fight. Additionally they allow settings to tweak everything from the amount of time between waves to how many of the hordes will appear to make life difficult.

When I initially started playing Killing Floor there were many bugs which ruined the overall experience but to give credit to the team, they have been ironing them out day to day and currently the game is in a much better state. There are still a few issues and I frequently try to connect to an online game with open slots only to find out that it is in fact full. This isn’t a huge issue but it is annoying to experience it on a semi regular basis. A more important issue are the lag issues which are experienced on almost every game – even those specifically configured for Killing Floor. There are also firewall issues which are explained on the game forums for people failing to connect to games. I noticed a few other bugs such as creatures getting stuck in the environment and even a few running backwards or sideways to reach me, which looks very weird when you see it happening.

The engine while dated is still quite capable and it looks impressive on a few of the levels. There are options for the highest resolutions and those of you with semi powerful modern gaming hardware should experience no performance issues even with anti aliasing and dynamic lighting set to high. The environmental damage in particular looks impressive especially when the action heats up and bits of glass and rock are flying around the screen. The character models are quite impressive and the animation is pretty good, although there is a certain amount of ‘twitching’ from models at times when they die and hit a wall or environmental object.

The sound is a little disappointing with annoying trader speech grating after only a short time of play and it appears as if only one or two people voiced all the dialogue. Ambient sound effects are a little better with some good monster sounds and horror effects to set the mood.

Killing Floor is an enjoyable experience and one that is picking up online day to day. If they iron out a few more of the bugs and the community keeps expanding then this has a good future. Single player gamers will need to look elsewhere as this is totally aimed at multiplayer and hopefully they sort out the online lagging and connection issues because this was the most annoying aspect I had to deal with.

Gameplay
83

Multiplayer fragfest!
Graphics
76
They are perfectly acceptable, but the odd glitch ruins the experience a little.
Sound
65
Terrible voice acting and the rock soundtrack doesn’t really suit the game.
Value
80
It is reasonably priced and offers a lot of game time if you have some patience with the connection issues.
Overall
79

Good fun, recommended.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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