You see I have spent the last five years as more of a console gamer than a PC one. Sure, I would play many indie or retro titles on the PC, but when I was playing something big, stupid and full of shotguns and zombies, it was probably on the 360 or PS3. With the recent arrival of my new gaming rig, I developed a craving for the kind of PC shooter I had grown up with. I spent hours and hours playing mods and mutators in Unreal Tournament and Quake 3, so my craving for these types of games (but with a modern game engine) attracted me towards Killing Floor.
Killing Floor evokes the very best moments of those classic titles. Streamlined and simple but with solid fundamental gameplay based on a great game engine and visceral weapons, it’s a wonderful example of how the very simplest aspects of FPS gaming (shooting enemies in the face) can still be brilliant fun. When you do this with a group of friends, and face an unending army of zombie enemies, you get one of the simplest but most fundamentally engaging gameplay experiences you can have.
Killing Floor combines elements of Counter Strike, Gears of War and Left For Dead to make a compulsive but straightforward gameplay blend. You face waves of enemies and between rounds you buy new weapons from a store using cash you earn based on your performance during gameplay. The enemies come in many forms, but most are variations on zombies. Some of them might have chainsaws for hands or resemble Left For Dead characters like Boomers or witches, and as such require specific approaches to defeat them.
There’s a whole range of weapons from dual pistols to chainsaws, and they all feel satisfying and suitably destructive. Enemies are dismembered with the more powerful weapons and headshots are rewarded with limping, headless enemies. At times the gameplay will also go into a kind of slow motion too. This is normally an effect not used in multiplayer games but here it works well and when your team-mate earns slow motion it helps you line up headshots and gets you some breathing space too.
There are a great variety of maps available including usermade ones and they range from some brilliant horror themed levels made by the developers themselves to the typical community efforts, such as giant bathrooms or levels based on other games like Portal or Mario. Getting into servers is easy and the community is generally welcoming despite the difficulty of the gameplay and the tendency of the enemies hordes to wipe out the human players quickly unless they are very good.
Killing Floor isn’t a great looking game, it’s not overly original and it’s not going to change your life. It is however, thoroughly fun, accessible, expandable by the community and, at the moment, stupidly cheap on Steam. For anyone who has forgotten what’s great about simple and accessibly PC Gaming, come help me kill some zombies!