HD Video Review
[PC; 2009]Developed by Tripwire Interactive
If you are like me, you played and loved the hell out of Left 4 Dead last fall but it just hasn’t stayed as fresh over the last couple of months—very few games do. While we continue to wait for Valve’s first major expansion, we have been playing many similar co-op titles. Call of Duty: World at War’s Nazi Zombies! Mode, Gears of War 2’s Horde Mode, and Half-Life 2 source mod, Zombie Panic, have filled this void for many. They have for me at least, but I can tell you without a doubt that Killing Floor surpasses them all. This is mostly due to it carrying a little aspect of all these titles and then some.
Killing Floor is so familiar in concept that comparing it to other titles explains itself. This is Horde Mode expanded to include 6 players, except with Counter-Strike weapon purchases in between waves of enemies and Call of Duty 4 perks that you unlock as you level your player up over many lengthy games. Killing Floor doesn’t have the same co-op features of Left 4 Dead (like reviving a teammate), but it does share the same variety of enemies. Since the comparison must be made, I’d say Left 4 Dead will hold more memorable moments but Killing Floor is a much more satisfying minute-to-minute experience. This is mostly due to the improved controls (giving you iron sight aim, a la Call of Duty) and the carrot-on-a-stick factor of better weapons and unlocking perks.
Although the perks and class based gameplay is what makes Killing Floor great, it’s also the area the game needs the most improvement in. Like Left 4 Dead, the game presents such a simple concept that fans can’t help but knock points for it not including all the features they dream up. The game calls it class-based gameplay but to a large extent what role you pick is trivial. Different classes are granted discounts to a type of weapon, improved stats with that weapon, and other minor benefits like quicker healing or the ability to carry more grenades. It isn’t a real class-based system, especially when you compare it to Team Fortress 2. Everyone can do what their teammate does just not as well. Since the game presents itself this way, you can’t help but be a bit disappointed that the system isn’t fully realized. It’s still a step-up from no character options, which is what similar titles offer.
Being that it is an action title reminiscent of old arcade games, you need to play Killing Floor to be made a believer. Unfortunately there isn’t a demo available at the time of this review, and the $20 price tag is asking for a lot being that this is a Unreal Tournament 2004 mod, albeit improved, from 3 years ago--yes, it predates Left 4 Dead so don’t accuse it of being a rip-off! It might be a mod sold at retail, but you’ll find very few retail games that can compare to the amount of hours and enjoyment you’ll get out of the game. Killing Floor might not have the hype or polish of a Valve product, but it certainly has the fun factor and replayability.