Let the bodies hit the floor: Killing Floor 2 Review
Killing Floor 2 is not a game with a lot of ambition, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Narrow in focus, Killing Floor 2 has only one gameplay loop: killing as many zombies (or Zeds, in this game's vocabulary) as possible in order to survive and resupply, culminating in a boss fight each time. What Killing Floor 2 lacks in depth, however, it makes up for in polish and sheer carnage, making for a well-done shooter experience that is a little too anemic for its own good.
Killing Floor 2's primary mode is co-op survival, and it follows a tried and true formula. Players can choose from a sizable collection of classes that each specialize in one task (healing, demolition, crowd control, etc.), but weapon selection is mostly uniform throughout. All the weapons in Killing Floor 2 feel good and pack a satisfying punch, but more exotic fare, such as a microwave gun that causes enemies to explode after a brief exposure, take the cake in terms of sheer destructive joy. Players are regularly treated to limbs flying off and slow motion "Zed time," a reward for particularly effective killing that gives players a chance to line up their shots easier.
As mentioned above, each survival match culminates in a boss fight, and this is where the game stumbles a bit. There are only two bosses in the entire game, and neither of them are particularly exciting after the first couple of encounters. One, a hulking brute with devastating firepower, can easily be killed in just a minute or two by a coordinated team, while the other, a smaller foe with a more varied skill set, is more challenging but similarly predictable. Both fights are decent enough but win or lose there are only so many times you can fight the same enemy before it gets boring; Killing Floor 2's lean offerings could have used a bit more meat in general, but the boss fights are where the issue is clearest.
Killing Floor 2 also features a competitive mode where one team of players fights off waves of both AI and human enemies while another team bounces between different Zeds to control. It's a fun idea in theory, but in practice, Zed controls feel imprecise and lack the tactile feedback of the shooting. Nevertheless, the odds seem stacked against the human team, because no matter how cumbersome the Zed controls are, the combination of human intelligence and sheer numbers usually wins, resulting in a mode that feels lopsided and quickly becomes stale.
Of special note is Killing Floor 2's environmental design. Even if the gameplay grows stale over prolonged play sessions, the arenas on offer never fail to impress, from sunny beaches to creepy castles and infested laboratories. Killing Floor 2 seems fully aware of just how many zombies gamers have killed in recent years, so the attempt to add variety through the use of setting is appreciated.
All in all, Killing Floor 2 is a fun game that lacks incentives for prolonged play. The shooting is satisfying, and the battles are frantic (and the game looks beautiful, to boot), but there's not enough variety here for anyone but diehard fans to find long term enjoyment. Still, Killing Floor 2 is worth playing for however long it retains your interest; just don't expect it to reinvent the wheel.