GRAPHICS AND GAME PLAY
Killing Floor, even though it’s a standalone game, plays much like a mod. It is built around the Unreal engine, and it shows. Graphically, it looks quite dated, but a game isn’t defined by its graphics. When it comes to actually moving around and shooting, everything is quite fluid, which is what one should expect from a survival-horror first-person shooter.
Killing Floor is one of the only games I have played where the feel of weapons is spot on, and you have to look no further than the pump action shotgun to understand what I mean. The weapon animations are authentic, and you actually get to see reloads happen properly. Heck, even the crossbow has a reload animation, and melee weapons have a sheathing/unsheathing effect. For those of you who have played Red Orchestra, this should come as no surprise, as the same team is behind Killing Floor. When you’re unloading on a group of zombies, or slicing off a limb, you actually want to experience it.
A vast number of games created these days don’t focus on this aspect, which in my opinion is one of the most immersive. A shotgun should feel like a shotgun when you play with it, not a pea-shooter; a katana should feel like a sword, not a plastic knife. Furthermore, weapon balance and weight are factors too, so when you’re on the move, unsheathing your trusty knife will allow you to move much faster than say a LAW rocket launcher.
“Okay. No more mister bloody nice guy!”
The premise is simply to survive each wave and take down the Patriarch. Many factors come into play though, including your team composition, map, map location, money, and ammo reserves. You always have to keep an eye on the HUD and take mental notes. If you are alone, or out of ammo, there are green ammo packs around the map, as well as low tier weapons and Kevlar vests. At higher difficulties, these are scarce and usually never found, hence a lot of strategy and efficient spending come into play before engaging in a new wave.
Alternatively, you can also hand out money and drop weapons for players who join too late, or can’t make it to the Trader in time. Every class regardless of level will spawn with a 9mm pistol, knife, grenades, hypodermic syringe, and welder. None of these items can be dropped or sold. Rechargeable flashlight can only be used if the weapon supports it (the 9mm pistol does).
“Make for the shops!”
Tripwire has included five difficulties: beginner, normal, hard, suicidal, and hell on earth. Killing Floor is originally played without friendly-fire, but there is an option to turn it on (rarely ever used). The jumps from hard to suicidal and suicidal to hell on earth are manageable, but the leaps from beginner to normal and from normal to hard are substantial. Newer players have a hard time adjusting as beginner is literally a joke compared to every other difficulty. Therefore, it is advisable to go directly to normal when playing for the first time, and to utilize beginner for learning map layouts.
As difficulty increases, ZEDs gain more health, require more damage to drop, come in larger numbers, gain extra resistance, and move faster. Player perks are also nerfed, and the amount of income gained in every opportunity from spawning, to killing, to surviving waves is decreased. Items lying around the map are also decreased, becoming essentially non-existent in hell on earth.
On suicidal/hell on earth, most players will go Support, Berserker, Sharpshooter, or Firebug to save money in case of a disaster, such as teammates getting killed (or they themselves). Saving money is also beneficial if new players join, as they will need it. One very crucial point is that specimens gain extra health and come in greater numbers per player; hence a full team of six players on hell on earth difficulty is the hardest it gets. There are no AI bots to take over or play with, so once you lose a player they are gone forever for that wave.
Losing players on lower difficulties can be dealt with, but on higher difficulties it can very well lead to your squad being wiped out. As long as it is not a crutch perk or a difficult wave, losing two players can still yield a winnable wave, but any more than that and it’s just a matter of time before ammo runs out and your squad gets run over. In a nutshell, unless you have a very skilled Berserker or Field Medic with the right weapons and a map with a large amount of real estate, any other perk aside from those two will have a virtually impossible hill to climb. Even then, the last survivor who managed to solo the wave most likely will not have enough income to support five other people.
“Let’s go shopping, chaps!”