Class-based, multiplayer co-op zombie shooter brings a fun experi
L4D has left a very big impression on gamer's imagination. The co-op zombie shooter has been so popular that many zombie games are viewed as how they relate to L4D. Killing Floor isn't really trying to compete with L4D. They offer two different experiences to gamers. Some gamers will like them both, some will prefer Valve's less frantic (relatively) and more polished gameplay more. Some gamers will get a lot of enjoyment out of Killing Floor.
Killing Floor is a first-person shooter. It has a single-player option, but the focus is on multiplayer. Six players control a mixed group of police and military personnel who need to survive several waves of undead monsters originating from government and scientific experiments gone wrong. After surviving the zombie waves, the group needs to defeat the boss monster to end the level.
The players have several options on how to fight zombies. First, they can choose different class-types that offer perks and benefits. One example would be the Berserker class, which takes less melee damage and inflicts higher damage with melee weapons. Sharpshooters have faster reload time and higher damage output with scoped weapons. The more experience you have in a class the better the class perks become. Second, Killing Floor offers a wider variety of weapons than some other first-person shooters, although much less than a game like Call of Duty 4. There are several melee weapons, a couple of rifles, a couple of shotguns, a couple of side arms, and several special weapons. Third, they can weld doors together to create choke-points and prevent zombies from flanking a tactical position.
Gameplay is frantic. You're attacked by several varieties of zombies culminating in the boss fight. On higher difficulties, teamwork is essential. 6 players might seem like too many, but often players will need to engage in non-fighting activities while the team is fighting - ie. one player heals, another keeps welded doors locked, while the other four actually engage in combat.
When players take damage their vision becomes blurred, reducing accuracy and movement and increasing the chances of being swarmed by the zombies. It's a nice touch that further increases teamwork; although it leaves you highly vulnerable when you are paired with subpar pick-up groups. Killing Floor also has its own bullet time mechanic that allows for some memorable slow motion kills. Unfortunately, it will often get on the player's nerves as it has a tendency to go off at odd times (wow! slow-motion reloads, slow-motion welding, and slow-motion healing!). The coding behind the bullet time might need to be further refined.
Unlike L4D, there is no automatch multiplayer capability. For non-technical players and other newbies, having to scroll through a list of servers and find a server that fits your match requirements can be laborious. Players have more control this way, but the price is higher complexity. Unfortunately, the game hasn't really run well since it's launch. I don't mind multiplayer connectivity issues at launch, or at least I understand them; several high profile games have had connectivity issues at launch. What I find unacceptable are common, complete game crashes on my Windows XP machine. The game seems to still need more patches to be dependable.
For action game fans that enjoy A) multiplayer action, B) Zombie action, and C) both; this game has a lot to offer. It still needs some polishing, but at its sensible $15 price it can provide a lot of fun per entertainment dollar.