Written By: Justin

There’s a lot of killing and incidentally, a lot of floors. Go figure.

In my initial experiences, I thought of Killing Floor as essentially the poor man’s Left 4 Dead…with British accents. Upon further inspection, my 1st impressions were still accurate but it isn’t really such a bad thing at all.

Killing Floor is a co-op only first person shooter developed by Tripwire Interactive. It puts you in the shoes of a British army soldier or London police unit. They all have delightfully cheeky back stories and you can buy DLC to make your roster of characters even bigger if not, a little weird. The main story behind the game is a little flat but, then again, this game was birthed from an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod so it’s somewhat forgivable. In a nutshell, a wealthy London-based Biotech corporation called Horzine has been contracted by the British military to research and perform cloning and genetic manipulation experiments. These experiments, IF SUCCESSFUL, will give the British military an endless army of enhanced, and easily controlled soldiers (zombies with a purpose). If those blatant caps locks were any indication, the experiments don’t work out entirely the way Horzine hoped. None of the scientists involved were sipping on champagne at the end of all of it…because they were dead. Naturally, there’s an outbreak of these genetically enhanced (but mentally impaired) “specimens” into West London. The people are not content with this…because they’re dead. So the British government does its best to put a bandage over this otherwise major boo-boo by hiring you! You’re deployed into a variety of dead zones in an attempt to wipe out these specimen so you can get back to your fish n’ chips and fine tea. Maybe some football if the team hasn’t already been killed… which they probably have.

The game itself is quite simple. Kill all the specimens. These “dead zones,” are the maps you will be playing on. There no innocent civilians and a ton of specimens. This, coupled with the fact that friendly is turned off in most servers makes this an easy game to be reckless in. This can be taxing to your teammates on harder difficulties so practicing restraint with your ammo is encouraged. You have to take on generally ten waves of increasingly difficult enemies before facing the “Patriarch,” who is the big bad boss that apparently gave birth to all these specimen (ouch). Between each wave you need to hastily seek out a very suggestive arms trader who will provide you with ammo, armor and weapons if you have the cash. As you probably guessed, the cash comes from killing enemies.

You can choose from six different classes, all with their own perks and weapons they truly shine with. For example, the “firebug” class is proficient with flame throwers and the “berserker” class specializes in melee weaponry. Each class can reach a max level of six through achieving various goals. The balance between the classes is fairly nice and it certainly encourages the team to contain a variety of classes. Some classes are better suited to take down the bigger specimens but have limited ammo. Thus, another class is better suited for the smaller, more numerous, enemies and has ammo to boot. As you would expect, these mechanics make the whole “team experience” feel a little more complete. Going into a horde of enemies Rambo-style will have a very messy ending in later waves unless you’re playing on a difficulty level way below your character’s perk level (the proper term for that is a “dick”).

Enemies are pretty straightforward as well (motif here). The “clots” are the most basic of enemies. They are the easiest to kill, the slowest and do the least damage. Their special ability, which all enemies have, is to render you immobile in the event they get a hold of you. As we move up the chain we have things like “bloats” (yeah they’re basically boomers) which can spit highly acidic bile all over you. At the top are the “fleshpounds”. Taking them down is a team effort. Do not hug them.

The maps in the game provided by Tripwire initially were very few and fairly linear. Being that they are a responsible company, they have made many improvements and added some new maps since its release in 2009. However, where the game is really starting to shine map -wise is with the user created. Since Tripwire was so kind as to provide users with the tools to make environments, there is a plethora of maps to choose from. Personally, I’ll take any chance to play on a map I haven’t seen before because more often than not, they’re a blast to play on.

In terms of visuals, the best one can say is that it does what it can. Using an older engine, you’ll run into some muddy textures and the animations of the enemies can be a little odd at times. That being said, Tripwire has done everything they can to make this game look good with the limited technology available at the time. At $20 for the main game, I don’t think anyone should be expecting Crysis. The AI, for the most part, is solid (then again, it probably wasn’t that hard to program), every now and then though you’ll find enemies getting stuck on small obstacles. This can be a real burden when you only have one enemy left in a wave and can’t find him anywhere because he decided to get intimate with a wall. There are also the occasional “LOL WTF am I doing?” moments played out usually by the chainsaw-wielding “scrake” specimen. They’ll stand there and look around the room as if they just discovered the world itself.

Sound is quite exquisite. Each gun has believable firing noises and the specimen sounds are disturbing and can help you figure out what’s around the corner before you even turn it. The voice acting that has been applied to the quick voice commands are sometimes leaning on comical. Being an American, the voice acting seemed to reinforce stereotypes regarding the UK and its vernacular. I am still not sure if this was intentionally a joke but I’m hoping it is.

20 bucks ain’t bad for what this game offers. For a game as seemingly redundant as it is, I still find myself coming back to it just for the sheer enjoyment of blasting through hordes of abominations with friends. It’s simple fun with just enough strategy to make it respectable. I would recommend picking it up from steam not purely for the game itself, but also to support Tripwire Interactive and hopefully a more fleshed-out second outing from them.