Killing Floor began its life as an Unreal Tournament mod in 2005, before getting an official release in 2009. Killing Floor is a first-person zombie shooter, and a pretty decent one. It may not bring the same kind of depth to the genre that made the Left 4 Dead games so great, but it does provide some solid fun and suspense.
Killing Floor has two primary modes of play, one of which bares the same name as the game itself, and sees players fighting to survive hordes of zombies, with short breaks in between waves allowing the survivors to purchase weapons and upgrades. The other mode is Objective Mode, which sees players race to meet certain objectives all while fighting off zombies.
It’s simple stuff, with the usual first-person control scheme, but it works. And Killing Floor finds some fun little details that add to the experience, like being able to weld doors shut in order to slow the zombies down, as well as a short list of selectable classes which you can level up by continuously playing as them, which unlocks more features for said classes.
As simple as it is, it can be really fun and suspenseful, with the game being at its best when playing multiplayer, as the team-based setup makes fighting hordes of zombies more manageable. Plus, having different players as different classes playing together means that you each player brings something different to the table. Not to mention some of the boss zombies are just ridiculously difficult when going solo.
The maps featured in the game also add to the game’s creepy, suspenseful atmosphere, with broken down amusement parks and abandoned freight yards serving as good backdrops for the action. There’s even a recreation of Aperture Science from the Portal series as one of the stages, which gets extra points because Portal 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.
Unfortunately, Killing Floor does have some annoying features that can hamper the experience a little. While the visuals of the game look nice, there are some special visual effects that take place at certain times that are intended to give things some cinematic flair, but become a little distracting. For example, the closer you get to death, the darker and blurrier your vision becomes. I suppose that actually makes some sense, and I get what they were going for, but after a certain point you can barely see what’s in front of you, which just makes the situation more difficult. At other times, when you’re taking out several zombies, the game may go into slow-motion, and when some zombies get too close, the camera brings your gun to the front and center of the screen. These aren’t big complaints, but and you can appreciate the effort that went into trying to make it a more cinematic experience, but these visual effects can make things more difficult than they need to be.
You might also find yourself questioning the game’s longevity. Again, if you have multiple people to play with, you might have some good fun, but the gameplay can get pretty repetitious pretty quickly, so if you’re playing solo there’s only so much to see. And even if you are playing with others, I do have to point out that there are better options in this same genre (Killing Floor was released the same year as Left 4 Dead 2, which is a more complete experience). So while Killing Floor may be fun, it doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value.
All in all, Killing Floor is a solid, capable game, if an unspectacular one. It does have a good balance of fun gameplay and horror elements, but what it has to offer is pretty short-lived, with single player in particular probably only holding your attention for a couple of sessions. Still, fighting zombies with some friends in Aperture labs? Sounds good to me!
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