Wot I Think: Killing Floor

By Alec Meer on May 19th, 2009 at 7:59 pm.

Tripwire Interactive, the good chaps behind the Red Orchestra series, offered up their brand new, standalone multiplayer shooter Killing Floor last week. Well, I say brand new, but it’s an embiggening of an old UT2004 mod. A storm of hype exploded around this co-op survival horror shooter in the run up to release, so now’s the time to judge if it deserved such loving treatment. Indie zombie face-splatting? Sounds about ideal. Or does it? Impressions below…

If I was 15 and asked to describe the videogame of my dreams, I would suggest these things:

- Zombies
– Zombies with boobs
– A constant, screechy metal soundtrack
– Slow-motion, like in the Matrix
– A lady who makes bad innuendo whenever she talks to you
– Blood! Loadsa blood! And knives for arms!
– Chainsaws and rocket launchers and flamethrowers and and and… machetes!
– A boss with like guns for arms and like spikes in his chest and like a really huge gun and he’s like invisible and stuff

Gentlemen, I give you Killing Floor.

But then, I was never a terribly cultured 15-year-old. I have no idea as to the age or attitude of developers Tripwire Interactive, and thus cannot judge whether they’ve really made the game of their own dreams, or simply hope to appeal to a certain audience, but certainly, this isn’t interested in subtlety in its tone and presentation. It has a similarly brash, noisy attitude to many of those Doom 3 mods I looked at yesterday, but at the same time it’s a whole lot more complete – and a whole lot more fun too. This is monster mega-death, utterly geared towards instant, bloody thrills.

Its general air holds me back from entirely tapping into the raw joy beneath, annoyingly. It may, after all, only be my own tastes that precludes me from finding stuff like saying quitting players have suffered an aneurysm hilarious. Perhaps somewhere there’s an alterna-me that thinks medics repeatedly shouting “I’m trying to heal you, not to shag you” is something I would want to quote in my forum sig, or that Johnny Gun-For-An-Arm-And-Mouth-For-A-Chest in the screenshot above would make a nice desktop wallpaper. As it is though, I crave a little more finesse. Or, at least, something that really, properly goes for over-the-top offensiveness and excess – but this aims for somewhere in the middle.

But allow me to revert back to raw facts before I stumble off on a one-way trip into opinonland. Killing Floor is a co-operative survival-horror FPS, pitting a team of cockney, military human survivors against lurching hordes of zombies and other assorted beasties. The obvious Left 4 Dead comparisons are not unjustified, though it’s worth pointing out KF derives from a mod that predated Valve’s magnum brain-chomp opus. There’s much to separate the two games in their play styles, too – while L4D is about progress to an eventual escape, KF is about gunning down a fixed number of zombies in a fixed number of waves. In L4D, you’re the hunted, in KF you’re more like the hunter. A hunter in constant mortal danger, yes, but success absolutely positively depends on killing every last brain-chomperon the map.

It’s more akin, too, to a conventional singleplayer FPS, in that each zombie (especially the blade-armed, jumpy, invisible or sonic-screechy ones) is a pretty serious menace if it gets close enough, whereas L4D is more about managing the endless horde. There’s a spot of Counter-Strike in there too – your kills rack up cash, which you then get to spend on weapons and ammo, so long as you can stand to visit the trader after she’s made yet another schoolboy pun about liking ‘big ones.’

Ah, the trader – a curiously omnipotent and omniscient figure around whom the game’s entire structure hangs. She knows when the zombies are coming down to the second, and can shut up her shop and magically teleport to the other side of the level when they do. Her new location is your goal at the end of every wave – at least it is if you want a bigger gun or to restock your ammo. It’s a neat idea in terms of both how to get new guns into your hands and how to introduce down-time between the waves, but it’s so absolutely artificial. This is true of the game as a whole, really – whereas something like L4D offers something fluid, (relatively) logical and narrative-led, this wears its rules and numbers on its sleeve. For all the survival element, it’s really an arena game.

Which, that illogical trader aside, suits it just fine, really. It’s about bettering yourself, taking down those fixed-number waves ever-quicker and, over time, increasing your permanent rank in a variety of roles – e.g. shotgun guy, medic, machinegun guy… You select one of these roles – Perks, officially – which you either stick with semi-permanently or switch to another whenever you like, and it’ll grant you bonuses to stuff like damage and speed, depending on its rank. As with something like Call of Duty 4 or Battlefield 2, this becomes almost more of a reason to keep playing than the game itself – the endless pursuit of the bigger number. Given Killing Floor’s crudity and repetition in other respects, I’m going to cruelly predict that this oh-so-moreish upgrade chase may be all that really keeps some of the game’s currently large crowd playing for long.

It’s fun, it really is. That essential bullet/monster-skull interface is appropriately splattersome and adrenal. But it’s so clumsily presented – the voice-acting grates, the run animation seems straight out of the original Counter-Strike, and the empty noise of the soundtrack is the kind of thing grandmothers probably think videogamers listen to 24/7 – and it’s drowning in this sad excess of juvenilia. Most especially, the slow-motion, triggered at random by a particularly epic shot, which is simultaneously applied for a few seconds to everyone playing, is an abomination. Sure, one guy gets to let loose a couple of cool headshots in Matrix-o-vision, but someone else will find their already agonisingly slow weapon reload takes twice as long, or they suffer a screen full of spinning mess as some zombie hits them around the back of the head in treacle-time. I didn’t find it lent anything to the game except outdated posturing, but it detracts badly from the flow and adrenaline of the experience. It’s like someone intermittently knocking the mouse out of your hand.

As a co-op game generally, it’s a little lacking in strategy – at least as far as my puny awareness of how to be hardcore suggests – which makes it at least very accessible. There doesn’t seem to be all that much need to work together beyond staying bunched fairly close, lobbing occasional heals and killing everything as it appears, so there’s less of the blame and recrimination inherent in an L4D session when someone tries to do their own thing. The more expert-level chaps will doubtless come up with some incredibly, fiendishly elaborate weapon combos and defensive placements, but reflex and accuracy seem far more important than forming a plan. Again, fine, and in some ways a blessed relief from teamgames’ usual emphasis on strategising just so. Sometimes, you just want to shoot a lot of stuff in the face, and this is most definitely the game to offer that. There is heartpounding excitement to be had from making a last stand against impossible odds, and the cheers of your team-mates when you do are a fine reward. Just as well, as the only other reward is another cocking slow-motion effect as the boss falls over.

Still, for all the wanton carnage it tries to stretch itself a little. For instance, there’s a curious welding system with which you can temporarily lock some doors to delay the onset of the horde from a given direction. Unfortunately, the speed with which the array of increasingly tough (and increasingly ridiculous, culminating in an outright stupid-looking boss) zombies can kick ‘em down again come the bigger waves means everyone firing wildly rather than fannying about with a welding torch for too long seems to be the better approach. Of course, at the Hard difficulty setting it’s monstrously tough, so artful welding becomes that much more crucial to keep some of the wolves from your door. On a hard server, it’s also vital to spend every last bullet incredibly carefully, else you’ll be reduced to desperately flailing melee.

It’s a challenge that’ll feel super-good to conquer (and right now I can’t even imagine besting the Suicidal setting), but the fairly pre-set nature of the waves and the ugly-gloomy look of the thing doesn’t have me convinced it’s something a majority of players will want to tackle again and again after the first few highs. I’m quite sure there’s much I’ve overlooked or am yet to learn in terms of how to truly master the thing – but the bottom line is it simply hasn’t entertained me quite enough to want to doggedly pursue such skills over hundreds of repeats of the same levels and the same jittery combat. It’s not a game-world I want to spend much more time in. That boiling, bloody broth of intense assault and and hardcore gunplay will unquestionably draw a passionate crowd from elsewhere, however.

Do Tripwire deserve more pats on the back because they’re an independent studio making and publishing populist videogames off their own back, and lack the resources necessary to make a game as polished as a more veteran studio? Well, good on ‘em and well done for getting this made, but such pluckiness doesn’t change that this is a game with a pricetag (albeit a semi-budget one), and that it’s enjoyed the kind of startlingly heavy promotion on Steam lately that far more underdog indies have not. Frankly, I’m not convinced it deserved quite so high a profile, at least not in its crude current state.

Killing Floor is entertaining enough as mass zombiecide goes, but it’s little more than a grab-bag of fun features from other games, squeezed awkwardly together without anywhere near enough cement between the gaps. True, FPS is hardly a genre known for its invention, but those that do simply tow the line require a crapload of polish to get away with it. Sadly, this feels like little more than a mod in everything from the spartan, ugly menu onwards, and while the price is low, when you can pick up Left 4 Dead for similar spondoolies or grab any number of free zombie mods for other games, it’s a little hard to justify. If it were still a mod, it would be a cast-iron winner: but those noble origins don’t change what it is now.

One thing’s certainly right – the name. It doesn’t imply the game is anything more than the shallow, happily stupid thing it is. It just isn’t for me in the long-term: I want more. I don’t have the slightest doubt that it will attract a furiously passionate audience, however, and am already braced for the comments to come… My early thoughts here are, of course, all based on just a few days of the games’ existence – so while I’m done with it for now, if I hear exciting things in the weeks and months to come, I’ll gladly check in to see how it and its scene are developing.

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133 Comments »

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  1. Petethegoat says:

    That’s a shame, I was considering getting this, as I loved the UT2004 mod, but oh well.
    Perhaps you could do a Damnation Wot I Think?

  2. Nick says:

    If you loved the mod you’ll love this…

  3. Kastanok says:

    This seems to confirm my suspicions of this as something rather mindless and flatly-paced. Everything about it screams jeuvanile – in a Bad Way.

    Also, it’s brown. I would have thought brown games were outlawed by now.

    EDIT: @bloodypalace – I believe you just answered your own question regarding difficulty. And screaming outrage and obsceneties is hardly the mature response to an appraisal you don’t agree with. Make of that what you will.

    EDITEDIT: Ninja-d by post deletion.

  4. bloodypalace says:

    Alec Meer has no idea what hes talking about! Killing floor is a great game and very similar to old school horror games…

    Edit:

    Wow! delete my comment! I’m sorry that i don’t agree with your crappy review!

  5. Stupoider says:

    I’m not a fan of insane gore.

    Or guns for arms. :(

  6. Alec Meer says:

    Bloodypalace, and those who feel similarly – you’re very welcome to disagree (it’s called ‘wot I think’ for a reason) but do it like a nice, sensible man and not like a shouting weirdo, please.

  7. Torgen says:

    bloodypalace = Alec at 15 years old. ;)

  8. Dominic White says:

    This review baffles me. It’s like the exact opposite of what I think.

    No strategy? Bullet-time useless? Y’wha? On Normal/Long or higher, a battle-plan and a well coordinated team are the ONLY way to survive, and welding is an essential unless you want to have your flanks eaten off. Anything less, and you die horribly.

    And the slowmo has saved my neck more times than I can count. It’ll give me five garunteed headshots and the chance to back away from a Gorefast. The fact that two of the classes get bullet-time extensions at higher levels highlights this fact further.

    Even on the highest difficulty, most of my Left 4 Dead experiences involve running as quickly as I can through the level and twitch-firing at anything in the way. L4D is far, far faster-paced and more arcadey. The players run faster, the guns shoot faster, the zombies die faster. How anyone could say otherwise is beyond me.

    While the production values clearly aren’t up to Valve standards, this is a budget-priced update of a mod by an indie studio, and the core gameplay is entertaining me FAR more than Left 4 Dead ever did. There’s already many variations on the core gameplay popping up, as well as some excellent new maps.

    16 players on the Farm map with partial friendly fire and huge hordes of enemies means that players will often split up into small groups, holed up in the various buildings scattered around the region. It becomes a full-on Night of the Living Dead scenario.

    And as for ‘nobody will want to play this’? Come on. There are over 1000 dedicated servers running for this at the moment, the vast majority of them (almost 900 right now) populated – most of them full.

    It’s hugely popular right now, and there are more official maps and mutators and features on the way.

    Also, I’m a grizzled nerd of 25 years of age – been shooting pixellated nasties since the days of CGA displays and eardrum-rupturing PC speaker audio.

  9. Linfosoma says:

    Well, I love the game. I’ve been playing all weekend long.

    Then again, I like old school games like Doom and the first few Resident Evil titles.

    The game is not as refined as L4D true, actually, it’s not refined at all (it has the most ugly menu I’ve ever seen in a game, ever, but at least it works).

    Weapons are strong and satisfying, teamwork is only needed in harder difficulties.
    You are more free to move on your own though, some may like this freedom, some may not.

    All and all, Im liking this game a lot.

  10. bloodypalace says:

    @Alec Meer

    Your review is SO off that i can’t react any other way…

    @torgen

    I’m 20 years old! :)

    @Dominic White

    Finally, someone who know what hes talking about!

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Damnation review is a couple of days off.

  12. Mman says:

    Admitedly I’ve only really played much on the Farm level so far, and that level might just not fit the overall gameplay so well, but one thing I’ve noticed is that the difficulty seems a bit biased towards the Patriarch so far; I could solo the vast majority of the horde before then, but then once you reach the boss it’s suddenly pure work together or get slaughtered; at least on normal it seems like they either need to lower the difficulty of the boss slightly to fit more with the rest, or (far preferable) make the normal hordes much harder to fit with the how the boss is. As I said this might just be a Farm thing though since it’s quite a departure from the other maps.

  13. suibhne says:

    I’ve been generally quite pleased with KF, and I think you sell it a bit short in places. For example, you clearly don’t get this point, but welding plays a really key strategic role (and is sometimes downright necessary) at any difficulty level above Beginner: welding doors obviously gives you some breathing room as you retreat, but it more significantly creates bottlenecks where 20-30 zombies bunch up. This is vital for crowd control in waves with 180 specimens; you really, really need your grenade to be taking out 10 zombies at once rather than 1 or 2. To accomplish this kind of bottleneck, you obviously need to keep repairing a door after the zombies start attacking it – until an adequate number of enemies has accumulated and your team is ready for the onslaught. Welding isn’t a one-time deal, unless you’re just trying to block your back while retreating; you need to actively repair your welds and keep them up until you’re ready for action.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the slo-mo benefits the entire team. It doesn’t hurt any player, even tho it can be irritating if you’re in the middle of a reload, and it’s beneficial to most of the team when you have 5 or 6 guys playing together; at any given moment, the majority are shooting rather than reloading.

    I’m not saying the game doesn’t have issues, and I agree with some of your criticism – especially of the interface, which really looks like a sophomoric UT2k4 mod. But KF does seem to be pretty well priced at $15 or $20, and I’d say it’s definitely worth that as long as you have some friends to team up with. Your “Wot I Think” feels like it’s based on very cursory first impressions, not on 10 or 15 hours with the game.

    I’m also grateful to Tripwire for bringing market pressure to bear on Valve. It’s hard to miss the fact that KF shipped with its SDK and map editor, and Valve finally, magically released a “beta” version of the same for L4D – the day after KF hit Steam, and many, many months after the user community originally expected it. Never mind Tripwire’s truly excellent record of support and free add-on content for Red Orchestra; if Tripwire hadn’t been so open with KF, who knows how much longer we’d be waiting on Valve?

  14. bloodypalace says:

    “It isn’t for me: I want more” The sdk has been released and there are already some custom maps out there! You can also use red orchestra maps as customs. Also Tripwire will be adding new content to it soon.

    ANYONE EVEN SLIGHTLY INTERESTED IN ZOMBIE GAMES MUST BUT KILLING FLOOR AND [take this review as just one opinion about the game]

  15. Serondal says:

    When is Natural Selection coming out ?!!!?!?!??!?! Is it in the same area is DNF ? I want to see more mods made into real games like this. It is the best idea ever. you take a bunch of people who love to play something to free, get them addicted, then release a more polished version for a smaller than normal price and instant profit!

  16. Nick says:

    Harder difficulties being normal and higher.. I enjoy the game a lot, though it is certainly full of flaws (“zed time”, annoying mervhant dialogue that can’t be turned off, fairly unappealing animations for the undead). The Patriarch is indeed too poorly balanced against the others, given insta kill weaponry rather than interesting tactics.

    It could do with being more over the top as well, but largely I don’t think the sneering is justified (again, apart from the utterly terrible trader dialogue).

  17. Nafe says:

    Odd, I didn’t think looney fanboys visited this site.

    Anyway, on the whole a pretty accurate review. That said, I’m enjoying it more than you seemed to, Alec. I think that’s because I only eve play it with my net-buddys. I’ve tried it twice on random servers and thought it was a big bag of lame.

    In short, random games = weak, games with mates with teamspeak on in the background = quite a good laugh. Even the slow mo is great fun like that.

  18. Alec Meer says:

    I do enjoy it, lest that’s not clear – it’s just not something I can see myself playing for long.

  19. Kastanok says:

    I am actually being even further put off paying this game any interest by the more rabid comments on this article. No-one does any piece of work justice by being so militant and aggressive in their opinions or by assaulting other peoples’ opinions.

  20. Serondal says:

    Everything is more fun with mates, teamspeak, and maybe some beer. I only ever enjoyed playing World of Warcraft over teamspeka with my best friend and some austrilian guy and some Canadian dude over team speak whilst we were all drunk and my friend’s child kept demanding he let him smoke a cig to which he replyed” No, you’re six !” to which his child replys “SO ?!”

  21. TCM says:

    @bloodypalace

    Most vocal supporter reminds me of 13 year olds screaming into mics on TF2/Counter Strike/L4D = Will not buy.

    (That said, I’m 19. When I’m younger than you, and calling you childish, something’s seriously wrong.)

  22. Alec Meer says:

    Let’s leave bloodypalace alone now, folks. Rest assured further crazed shouting will be deleted, but sober discussion is welcome.

  23. diebroken says:

    All you need to know is that you can use a chainsaw on the living dead, and also throw money at people whilst shouting “Money, money, monnaaaayy!” :D

    P.S. Any game that features a double-barreled shotgun is a plus in my book – *hugs* You Are Empty (yes, it’s a guilty pleasure of a game…)

  24. bloodypalace says:

    Dude stop deleting/editing my posts! not cool…

    @TCM

    I love this game with a passion! I’m a killing floor veteran (ie Ive been playing the game since its first version) and this review just aggravates me! Sorry i can’t really react to a review that murders one of my favorite games in a civil manner…

  25. Mr Pink says:

    @Dominic White
    “Even on the highest difficulty, most of my Left 4 Dead experiences involve running as quickly as I can through the level and twitch-firing at anything in the way.”

    This does not sound like L4D expert to me. If you did this you would be annihilated.

  26. Torgen says:

    @ Serondal

    I would SO love to see Natural Selection arrive as a retail game, all spiffied up! Hell, I had tremendous fun just watching as a spectator. I’d actually buy the game just to be an “audience” participant and watch!

  27. Dominic White says:

    Granted, in L4D on expert you *have* to stick with your team very closely and cover them at all times, but it’s still a lot of very fast movement and very twitchy shooting.
    There’s nothing like waiting patiently for a horde of zombies to get within range for the optimum multi-shotgun salvo before pulling back another 30 feet to prepare a new firing line.

    As for any questions of me being a die-hard KF fanboy or something, I actually didn’t even know the game (or mod for that matter) existed until about two weeks before it was released. A friend who really liked the mod reccomended I get it at the preorder discount price, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it.

    So, yeah. I reccomend it because it’s a great little zombie game out of nowhere, already with an active modding/mapping community, and available at a tasty budget price. Also, Tripwire are known for their excellent post-release support (look at Red Orchestra for an example there) so expect it to grow.

    Also, while the Tank in L4D is scary, there’s something even more viscerally terrifying about scoring a perfect point-blank headshot on a Fleshpound, watching its head violently explode, only for it to STILL switch into berserker mode. Those guys can survive worryingly long without their heads.

  28. Damaestrio says:

    FYI – the “somebody had an aneurysm” message when quitting is actually an artifact from UT2004 (it’s the default suicide message). So in that single case, the juvenile humor is a carry over from the previous engine (although it adds credence to your “clearly a mod” line of thought)

  29. The_B says:

    I really like the game at the moment, but can understand Alec’s criticism – some people (like myself for instance) are fine with the more instant graitifcation that KF provides than say, L4D. However, trying to justify that one is better than the other is about as futile as finding a zombie a date on Valentines day.

    There’s more than enough room for both games, certainly – and I would say it’s definitely worth a punt – moreso if Tripwire can keep it as updated as they do RO. But I would be the first to say it’s not going to be for everyone’s tastes.

  30. Jim Rossignol says:

    Natural Selection 2 is still in the works, so we’re told. We occasionally get blips from Unknown Worlds. I’ve been meaning to ping them and get some more info.

  31. suibhne says:

    To be honest, I’m not seeing either KF or L4D as a long-term game; they both get really samey after you get to know all the maps, even taking into account L4D’s Director. There’s no endgame to either one. If anything, KF is just more obvious and honest about its nature as an arena game.

    I know there are folks who continue to be enthralled by L4D even after 6 months, and good on you. From a standpoint of strict game mechanics, tho, L4D is no less artificial than KF, even if it is a lot more polished.

    I’m also enjoying (somewhat snarkily) the claim all over the internets that in L4D you’re the hunted, while in KF you’re the hunter. It feels rather opposite to me, as the KF zeds actively search for you and zero in on your position as unerringly as the alien invaders in Defender. (The two games aren’t that dissimilar, really. :D) In L4D, by contrast, I can often stand around and do nothing for 10 minutes, and pretty much nothing happens (depending on where you are in each map). L4D feels very much like a player-driven gameworld; everything reacts to you, which really undermines the feeling of being “the hunted” even while you’re facing overwhelming odds. In KF, by contrast, you’re up against what feels like a force of nature, or at least an implacable game design that would happily go on without you to witness it. That’s where the “hunted/hunter” motif entirely breaks down for me, and I tend to think people keep tossing that out there only because they’re misguidedly scrambling for an overly simplistic way to characterize the differences between the two games. No offense, Alec. ;)

  32. diebroken says:

    Last I ever heard about Natural Selection 2 was that they dropped the Source engine for their own inhouse one. Hope it does finally get done and released; I’d gladly pay for it via Steam, after having so many looong rounds with the original… ah, the memories.

  33. Dead Fish says:

    I played Killing Floor for about 10 hours so far and am enjoying it immensly. It’s a welcome change from Left 4 Dead.

    Like others mentioned, welding is a meaningful feature and absolutely necessary for normal/hard or above. And I actually quite like “zed-time”. It helps with the headshots. Tripwire’s viewmodel animations are so good that I can’t help but admire them every time. Shooting that Winchester in slow-motion looks incredible.

    Very fun game overall, and the British accent’s make even the dumbest (yet awesome ;) ) dialogue good.

  34. graham says:

    As I am 31 I will give this a miss, the statement “it’s drowning in this sad excess of juvenilia” is not only a truely classic line but also a deal braker.

  35. TCM says:

    (By the way, I was semi-joking before. I might end up checking this out. And I might not. In fact, I probably won’t, since I’m blowing all my money on console games. Boo me. >_>)

  36. Jim Rossignol says:

    suibhne: Isn’t the versus mode one of the main motivators for people continuing to play L4D? Most of my online chums that play regularly do so semi-competitively in that way.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I don’t really have anything to say on this game as I have not tried it yet, but it is very possible just to charge forward on expert L4D. If the whole team runs forward together, meleeing any zombies in the way (as shooting alerts all zombies near to charge you) you will be able to complete any level simply. The only time the team dies when charging for it is if you get split and usually the person charging will still make it, as the zombies will go for those behind him. In fact the only difficulty comes from the finale, which is usually complicated by one person on your team not being as good as everyone else. Crescendos can be dealt with in the old fashioned way of melee spamming, even with melee fatigue.

    Tanks maybe more of an issue, but setting him on fire and running away (no need to shoot, just let him burn) deals with him no problem.

  38. Nick says:

    I do feel its something a shame when “grown-ups” can’t enjoy a mindless bit of fun because its too childish for them.

    Jim – didn’t the popularity of versus mode take Valve somewhat by surprise? It is certainly the only way the game is worth playing after three or four runs through the campaigns as they get stale extremely fast. The only challenge is running away from a tank whilst its on fire and the finales.

  39. Nayon says:

    I believe this review (or whatever you want to call it) was unjust.

    I enjoyed playing this game much, much more than L4D. First of all, the perk system gives players the ability to be different from each other and fill certain roles, something I seriously crave in L4D. The gameplay is much more fun, because every kill counts, you’re not just randomly shooting around and hoping it hits something. The welding opens up lots of tactical opportunities. The different kinds of zombies enforce the players to work together, because certain classes fare better/worse against certain types of zombies. Also, the single player is immensely stressful and fun, a la Crimsonland style. It is a great challenge, and I look forward to being able to survive past wave 3 (long mode) on hard. ( I tried to structure the sentence so that “long” and “hard” do not appear consecutively)
    The dialogue is funny filler, no less, no more, it’s alright and it’s no cheesier than L4D, imo.
    The welding part is really important to the game, I wish more survival games had barricading options like this (Call of Cthulhu had it but it was underused)
    The trader is illogical, yes, then again, if we wanted everything oh so realistic would we be playing games? Are the plasmids in Bioshock really logical? If so, is not being able to wield a weapon and a plasmid (yes I know it’s fixed in the sequel) really logical? I see a bunch of developers trying to make a game fun without coming up with contrived explanations to justify game mechanics. Just like in the “golden age of gaming”, as some call it. One last argument is of course the “Aeris/Phoenix Down” argument, so yeah, games don’t have to make sense.
    Picking on the walking animation is really pushing it, in my opinion. I bought this game for like 12 dollars or so, I think I can deal with the walking animations (which never bothered me).

    As others mentioned, the slow-motion is a huge life saver and I always hope for people triggering it as frequently as possible, it’s an integral game mechanic.

    Also, the weapons feel incredibly satisfying. Their sounds and visual feedback is really powerful.

    Finally, I enjoy the music. When I first heard it, I went “Why is the music volume so low?” and just increased it. I enjoy this kind of music and it suits the game just fine, in my opinion.

    I believe there was some missing information and heavy opinionation in this “Wot I Think” and I believe it doesn’t do the game justice. Of course it isn’t an AAA title with 20 shades of brown and whack-a-mole cover mechanics, but it is damn fun and it’s cheaper than pirated games over here, so it’s worth a buy for people who enjoy oldschool games.

    @Nick

    Exactly what I’m thinking! Mindless fun can be good. And yes, Left 4 Dead got extremely stale and boring for me after a while. I didn’t even finish 2 of the campaigns! This one, however, seems to have much more replay value and varied combat.

  40. Vinraith says:

    One of the reasons I enjoy this site so much is that a genuinely mature perspective on gaming is comparatively hard to find. That you’re so good at pointing out obscure games I end up genuinely enjoying is, I think, a natural consequence. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the review.

  41. Nick says:

    Heavy opinionation in an article titled “Wot I think”? Who’d have thought?

  42. Jim Rossignol says:

    “didn’t the popularity of versus mode take Valve somewhat by surprise?”

    I doubt it – they’d been playing Versus among themselves for a year or more in the office. Why? Do you feel it’s undersold?

  43. MrBejeebus says:

    I have to say I agree with Mr Meer in places here, KF is quite (ok very) unpolished, its menu is clunky, its mechanics are a bit off and soooooo on.

    However I think its great fun at 2 in the morning with mates, the scramble to get to the trader, and the different classes are all very fun, my fav is the support class because IMO the shotgun is awesome, 1 of my friends tho just prefers to hack it out. I liked this game so much I bought a Multiplay server for me and my friends…

  44. Dominic White says:

    @Nick – Amen. The day I feel compelled to turn my nose up at a game with a grungy metal soundtrack and copious headplosions, I’ll be turning in my nerd card. I’ll also probably stop reading comics that day. It will be a sad day.

    Oh, an a little further note on the Perk system. At Level 0, they barely affect anything, but at level 5, they VASTLY specialize your character. At L5, a Berserker STARTS with a chainsaw, and has something like double damage output, 25% damage reduction and 50% faster movement when wielding it.

    Starting out, you’re a guy who knows how to use a chainsaw. By the end? You’re Leatherface on amphetamines.

    Those high-level perks are pretty much required if you want to survive a Hard/Long game, or even (god forbid) the very truthfully named Suicidal mode, which starts you out against armies of the undead, and only scales up from there.

    And as mentioned, servers can customize the gameplay a huge amount. Just click that ‘sandbox’ option in Solo mode and see how many options menus open up. You can set exactly what spawns on each wave, their relative toughness, how many, when, how often and more.

  45. Nick says:

    Jim – I thought I remembered hearing something about it – but yes I think it was undersold as they spent most of their time talking about how replayable the campaigns would be (I didn’t find that the case at all really) and seemingly putting more focus on them and co op-ness in general. The lack of finished maps was a bit of a blow in that reguard too and also seemed to indicate they were expecting the campaigns to take a greater hold.

  46. pkt-zer0 says:

    Seems to be a bit uninformed for a “review”. “Puny awareness”? Possibly. Maybe you should invest a bit more time into it, then? It really doesn’t seem to me that the run-and-gun approach would be very viable on anything but the lowest difficulties. Unlike L4D, which isn’t remotely challenging on anything but the highest difficulty (from what I’ve played of it when it was free).

  47. Hypocee says:

    Slight rhetorical slip, there, as it appears to be a B title with 128 shades of brown…

  48. Jim Rossignol says:

    Nick: Yes, you may be right. I was surprised that the entire game wasn’t versus from the outset.

  49. suibhne says:

    True, Jim – I wasn’t thinking of Versus, a perfectly defensible reason for any gamer to remain interested in L4D. :D

    What it comes down to for me is that L4D has the polish and personality of a $50 game, and KF has the polish and personality of a $20 game. Both play well.

    I have to admit, tho, one of my disappointments with KF is the shoddy grammar and spelling. How hard can it be, really, to fix junk like that in a release title? Sheesh, I’d’ve proofread their game for a tenspot.

  50. Serondal says:

    Ns is one of the few Online games that literlaly had me screaming “RUN RUN F@#$@# RUN!!”