Story: A biotech corporation engineered a zombie militia, abominations that kill without hesitation and swarm on their enemies. But of course, things don’t go as planned and the horrific creatures escape, flooding the world with genetically engineered zombies, known as Zeds. This narrative doesn’t have much presence in the actual Killing Floor 2 experience, but it is nice to know there’s some kind of backstory, regardless of how thin that storyline is. The real plot of Killing Floor 2 is death, death, and more death, as you and others slaughter countless waves of Zeds, or battle each other in clashes where one side is human and the other controls Zeds.
Entertainment Value: The wave based horde game style has become a huge part of video games, often as a bonus mode in assorted titles. Killing Floor 2 doubles down on the horde concept and builds basically the entire experience around that game type, though it also includes a PvP mode. The core of the game is the horde mode however, which allows up to six players to join forces and fend off waves of zombies, until a special boss wave that concludes the session. As is often the case with horde games, this one starts off simple and throws numerous weak enemies out, then begins to include stronger enemies as the waves pass, until a final hectic wave that is packed with the toughest enemies available. Once you clear that final wave, a unique boss arrives and you need to take down the boss to finish the run. Killing Floor 2 has a pair of bosses and to me, these boss fights are the weakest aspect of the game. The fights are dull and more than anything else, a deflated way to cap off a session, as the battles are just annoying more than anything else. The mechanics are cliched and not fun, such as regenerating health and summoning waves of weak zombies. I’d much prefer a “last stand” type epic finale, as seen in Left 4 Dead, as opposed to these boss fights, which feel like a chore or punishment.
The repetitive nature of the horde approach is a concern, but the game has ample ways to combat that kind of fatigue. A wealth of classes are available, each of which levels up as a separate experience and offer a host of perks. You gain experience from using class specific weapons or performing certain tasks, but whatever you do, your actions are adding to the upgrades for one class or another. So if you choose Commando, but opt to seal up a lot of doors in the session, that experience will be added to your Support total. I like this approach, as it allows you to remain flexible, but continue to advance your classes. Between waves you can access a store that has new guns, ammo, and armor, so knowing that you can choose whichever weapon you’d like, regardless of the class you chose, is a nice touch. The game also has a loot case based mictrotransaction system, but even if you don’t want to spend the real cash on skins and such, you can break down the cases you find to craft skins for free. The grind is substantial, but at least there’s some kind of free option included. The actual mechanics of the game feel great, with more than solid shooting and controls, while the host of levels are varied and keep things fresh as well. So lots of zombies, fun shooting mechanics, and aside from the botched boss fights, you have quite a fun horde game. You can also play a PvP mode where players choose a side (humans vs. zombies) and battle it out, but it feels like an afterthought and doesn’t add much to the experience. As a big fan of co-op games and horde mode games, I had a blast with Killing Floor 2 and highly recommend this one.