Killing Floor Is Alive

Zombies zombies zombies. Zombies zombies zombies. Zombies. This one could go huge, I suspect. It’s the next game from the makers of the evergreen Red Orchestra, and it’s stealing a little bit of long-term supporters Valve’s thunder by being a co-op zombie shooter. Cheeky! Left 4 Dead 1.5 it ain’t though, thanks to more arena-like playing areas, abilities beyond simple shooting and healing, and persistent player upgrades. It’s a lot more OTT and Doom-y than L4D, too.

Reportedly, preorders have been pretty high. Us gentlemen of the internet do so enjoy shooting zombies in the head, after all. It went live on Steam today for a reasonable price, and while RPS hasn’t been blessed with a review copy yet, we hope to have some sort of verdict very soon. Anyone else playing it yet? Whaddaya think?

Below the magic words of information protection, some video footage of this violent delight.

Oh, and it’s based on an old UT2004 mod, which looks a little bit like this:


  1. Flappybat says:

    Shame the server situation is on par with Demigod’s release.

  2. bansama says:

    Reportedly, preorders have been pretty high.

    I only preordered it because it was dirt cheap ($11.25), and I expect many others did too — especially those like me who actually had it priced cheaper than the US price for once. Still haven’t had a chance to play it though.

  3. YaRisse says:

    Its more than a little bit *wonky* at times, but there is fun to be had with a solid team of people. It’ll get up alot of backsides though.

  4. blerg says:

    No Steam releases ever go smoothly, this was no exception. Started it up ~12 hours after the supposed release time and haven’t had any problems besides an over-abundance of populated beginner & insane servers, with very few normal servers. Goddamn it guys I get it you’re hardcore, but you still don”t get past the very first wave.

  5. AbyssUK says:

    I also got it at cheapo price it preloaded last night, but I have a real job so don’t get to play games during office hours. I just read RPS and lolcats all day.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    I endorse this service and/or product.

  7. kish says:

    Somebody said Left6Dead?

  8. now wait just a sec says:

    @ AbyssUK : Don’t we all? Not to mention cracked, xkcd and failblog…

  9. Dude says:

    So same as left4dead, get your brain from A to B while keeping your brain out of reach of the brain hungry zombiez?

  10. pepper says:

    Yeeh! Heliocentrics seal of approval!

    Anyway, looks kickass and is on my ‘must get’ list.

  11. Pags says:

    I haven’t yet had a chance to play unfortunately; Steam decided to freeze as I was trying to join a game with the group I’d been waiting with, and by the time I’d restarted they were already in a game :(

  12. abhishek says:

    The game is entertaining, definitely, but it really does feel like it’s still a mod and not a retail release. I think the user interface/hud in this game is probably the worst i have seen in over a decade. It’s functional but it just looks *so* tacky. One can overlook this for a free mod, but for a retail game it’s unforgivable.

    Lots of people have been getting networking problems since the release but I’ve been fortunate not to have run into any yet. So far I’ve managed to join multiple games with no issues at all. The graphics are pretty decent considering it’s a 5 year old engine. I believe the game needs a few tweaks in the gameplay… for example, if you get hit by an enemy, you get disoriented and your screen blurs almost completely for 3-4 seconds. During that period you are virtually useless as you cannot even see your attacker to kill it. This can get very annoying. I have a feeling that the game could use some balancing as well… Right now, if you have a team of 6 and 2 die during a round, they will respawn at the end of the round if the team survives. However, they will get very little money and will not be able to afford better weapons. So in the next round, you can end up with a situation where the game is balanced for 6 people but 2 of them are gimped with regards to their ability to contribute because they are short on firepower. This weakens the team, which in turn can cause more pressure, more deaths of team mates and a cyclic situation where the team is never fully equipped to handle the wave. This might sound like a specific incident but it’s something I’ve noticed in about half the games I’ve played so far. I’m thinking maybe the money should be tweaked so that the player is at least competitive at the start of the next round… I just don’t see the point of ‘punishing’ the player for the next round when he already had to sit out the part after he died.
    One thing that deserves special mention is the gunplay, which is really the best part of the game. The guns are well modeled, animated and feel satisfying to use. And there is quite a variety of weapons available. You just can’t help but feel like a total badass when you fire dual desert eagles John Woo movie-style :)
    Is it worth getting? I’m not so sure. I’d recommend waiting for a free weekend (which the developers have said will happen) to judge the game for yourself.

  13. Neut says:

    Played it for a few hours last night. I quite enjoyed it. Reminds me of Painkiller, Doom and a slower version of L4D’s survival mode mixed together. Not sure about long term replayability, even with the RPG-esque Perks system.

  14. Nahkatakkimies says:

    It’s lovely. Hacking a clots head clean off with a machete makes me giggle like a school girl.

  15. Evil Broccoli says:

    It’s alright, but Left 4 Dead’s survival mode is still loads more fun.

    I don’t think it’s worth the current price on Steam.

    Edit: totally agree about the interface. Horrible.

  16. pkt-zer0 says:

    The UT2K4 mod actually doesn’t look like that too much. As far as I know, The Hive was one of the few community maps using the Story gamemode. The finished official maps are Survival only (same as the current retail version), which has no objectives beyond not getting killed.

    Anyway, I’m liking the game so far. L4D didn’t really grab me beyond the first couple hours, but this one seems to have a bit more variety to it. I’m not past the first couple hours yet, though…

    There’s still fireaxes to chop up zombies with. That’s always a good thing.

  17. chibixleon says:

    10,000 concurrent users yesterday for killing floor. based on the user stats, its directly biting L4D’s player base as L4D used to average around 30-33k players per day at peak times when yesterday it was only 20k. wonder how valve is going to react to this.

  18. El_MUERkO says:

    I played one round of this last night, enjoyed it, the animations are a bit ropey but I enjoyed it, some high rez screens here.

  19. Heliocentric says:

    Just played it, its still a mod, a great mod but a mod. Hopefully tripwire can polish it until it shines. I’m glad I tried it out but i wont be playing it often until they can improve the movement of the Zeds, left 4 dead’s zombies move so beautifully. Killing floors undead are a jaggedy mess in comparison.

  20. phil says:

    The environments seem to adopt the same infinite shades of brown approach as Clive Barker’s Jericho.

  21. Clovis says:

    @chibixleon: I wouldn’t imagine Valve are too worried. It is not like people are paying per month to play L4D. I’m sure they are still working on more additions to the game and they’ll get those players back (plus more and more people who have never played) then.

  22. Nick says:

    It really plays nothing at all like Left4Dead, pretty pointless comparing the two.

  23. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Looks a bit gory. I hope it´s got a bit of a story, because the whole fear thing and trying to escape whatever is, for me at least, something which makes zombies interesting rather than just killing variations on the zombie theme for no apparent reason whatsoever.

  24. Koopa says:

    Valve gets money for games sold, not games played. So I doubt they’re worried.

  25. pepper says:

    Remember that it might actually be a good thing for both games to exist on the same network. Image player A a starting to play killing floor and wanting something else with the same theme, then notices L4D and decides to play that. This could also work the other way around.

  26. Dracko says:

    If Valve were worried, they wouldn’t sell it on Steam, would they?

    Valve aren’t jealous infants.

  27. BooleanBob says:

    Hmm. An observation: I would have no idea whatsoever that this game existed if Steam hadn’t constantly been rubbing my face in a big poster of it on load (and on quitting most games) for the past 2-3 weeks. I’m sure I can’t be the only person for whom this is true.

    With a ‘little’ bit of irrational extrapolation, I can assert that Valve are responsible for single-handedly creating a marketing presence for this game, which has gathered little press attention as is and presumably would have had even less without their efforts. Which I guess all helps to cement Valve’s growing pseudo-publisher credentials? Their position as gatekeepers for Steam potentially gives them tremendous power, being as it is PC gaming’s biggest* ESD storefront/DRM solution/multiplayer service, and it seems they’re not afraid to begin looking at ways to exploit that potential.

    *this is a casual assumption

  28. pepper says:

    Boolean bob, i think this is true(haha), i didnt know this game existed either if steam wouldnt have showed me.

  29. monchberter says:

    Science gone wrong? Post apocalyptic? Hockey masked bloke with chainsaw? Fat guys who take tons of damage?



  30. Neut says:

    The fat guys take relatively low amounts of damage to kill.

  31. Ketch says:

    I preordered this on a hunch of it being good, next thing I knew it was #1 best seller for the week before release!

    I’ve been playing it isnce 11:30pm lastnight and I’m loving it! It’s very different from Left4Dead and doesn’t have the same detail or polish but the game is definetly worth the £11.24 I paid for it. I like playing with shotguns!

  32. A:\Big.bat says:

    Short review on my latest podcast: link to

  33. IdleHands says:

    It’s a fun game and worth the pre-order price. I think we need to wait a bit to see if the release issues get smoothed out and how their post-release support is. They seem to be relying on the UT community of mappers and modders to flesh out the game, which isn’t entirely bad but hope they release map packs themselves too.

    One thing I found odd is the fact you can fully customize your own waves, and many other things. Which is cool but your entirely at the whim of whatever server you join, there’s no way to vote to change wave length or difficulty. A matchmaking system would allow players to fiddle to their hearts content without needing to buy their own server space. It seems like a bit of a lazy copy paste server job from UT to KF.

    Still had some pretty amazingly fun games on it, money well spent for me.

  34. NeonBlackJack says:

    “16 Weapons to Maim and Dismember”

    Grammar police FTW!

  35. Pags says:

    Finally got to have a go at this, it’s a lot of fun though I’m not sure how much longevity it has. The perks system is pretty nice though I’ve yet to really take full advantage of it as I’ve only been playing for about an hour or two. Some of it, like the menu and the splash screens, are really shoddily done and remind you quite painfully of it’s mod beginnings but the game itself is polished to an agreeable degree.

    I can see myself having some good solid hours of play anyway so worth the pre-order price imo. Probably best for others to wait for that free weekend though.

  36. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to remind people that this is developed (mostly – there’s input from the original mod team) by Tripwire, the Red Orchestra crew. RO got crazy-good post-release support. New maps, tweaks, tunes, patches and more. And a couple of officially endorsed mods on Steam, too.

    Killing Floor even comes with the level editor, so expect good things for the future.

    Also, let’s just kill the ‘L4D ripoff’ thing dead right here – KF predates L4D by quite some way. If anything is being ripped off, it’s the other way round.

    Oh, and that’s a reaaaaaaly old gameplay video of the mod, several versions out of date.

    Here’s some gameplay videos of the retail KF – two full levels played through by a fairly good team.

    link to

    As others have said, it really plays nothing like L4D. It’s more of a classic zombie horror scenario. Hunker down, bar the doors, and defend until something goes wrong and you’re forced to retreat. It’s very tense on normal or higher difficulty. Even the basic zombies can grapple you and hold you in place for nastier ones to tear you up.

    Was totally worth the $15 I paid, and I’d be willing to go up to $20 as well. It’s a ton of fun so far, and while the animations (especially when strafing) are a little awkward looking, the maps are well beyond what you expect of the old UT2k4 engine. Some of them (the Farm level especially) are HUGE, sprawling, non-linear expanses that force players to cross large expanses of open land to move between safe areas of cover.

    There may only be five maps at launch, but there’s a good chance you’ll only cover a third of a map in any given playthrough.

  37. Erlam says:

    I think the worst part of the game is the match-finding. Oh my God, I feel like I’m on the WON network and everything is crashing down. I actually was considering seeing if The All Seeing Eye was still around.

    In game, it’s quite fun, but EXTREMELY hard. Even Normal can be really, really tough. There’s no tutorial whatsoever, and knowing things like ‘the flamethrower is total crap’ and ‘being hit, ever, is going to fuck you up.’

    There are small things that add up to huge problems. Such as being totally unable to interrupt a reload animation to pull out a sidearm, or having to recharge the stimpack after use, instead of using it, killing whatever is hitting you, and then recharging it. Also, being hit ever makes you a complete liability, so generally smaller teams, even with ‘adjusted difficulty’ get fucked really easily.

    It’s just.. it’s very obviously a MOD. It’s a good one, but still a MOD. It could use a lot of work (especially in the UI, as was mentioned.)

  38. Nick says:

    It really needs an option to disable the trader voices and the constant reloading ones too.

  39. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    I like KF more than L4D at the moment because of Tripwire’s unparalleled weapons modeling and firing effects. There’s much a meaty feel to the shooting, and the iron sights are out of this world. The persistence and skill perks are the icing on the cake.
    Its hard to believe that this is running on UT2004. I am dying to see what these guys can do with the UT3 engine with the next RO.

  40. Dominic White says:

    Oh yeah, the “It’s a lot more OTT and Doom-y than L4D, too.” note in the article is probably misleading. If anything, this is a much slower, more tactical game than L4D, which has a kind of frenetic thousand-miles-an-hour pacing to it, where everything is a dead rush to get to the end before the enemies overwhelm you.

    In Killing Floor, the enemies WILL overwhelm you. This is a foregone conclusion. This is why you need to have a plan, and an escape route. Never EVER let your team weld all the doors in a room shut, because once one of them breaks, the route the zombies are using to get in is the only way out.

    L4D has the Director, which is trying to challenge you, but tends to relent just enough to make everything doable. Killing Floor is just trying to murder you.

  41. armless says:

    Is there a any tactical depth in this game? L4Dead remains fun for a long period of time for me because it feels like I am improving and it almost feels like im playing a sort of pseudo-strategy game. There is quite a lot of nuance to it when you get good. Does this have the same feel? For me that is the decider on whether to buy it or not.

  42. Flappybat says:

    After playing a bit I think the maps are the weakest point. Very amateur, not as attractive or as interesting as Red Orchestra ones let alone L4D.

  43. MrBejeebus says:

    you need a really solid team to play this properly, ive really enjoyed the first few hours of play so far. The presentation may not be up to anything need L4D’s standards but its very enjoyable and looks great for a game running on the UT2K4 engine…

  44. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    That’s definitely my perk at 1:12 in the vid.

  45. MetalCircus says:

    Is this worth playing for someone who’s getting mighty tired of zombie games? Left 4 Dead had it licked (imo)

  46. Jockie says:

    Still not sure whether to buy this. Essentially it’s a really hard game, with fun to use weapons and core gameplay, with dodgy matchmaking and poor presentation?

  47. Dominic White says:

    Poor presentation if compared to a multi-million-dollar, several-year Valve project. For a $15-$20 game from a tiny indie studio it’s phenomenal.

    Again, there’s two full levels played through here in video format:
    link to
    If it looks fun, then you’ll probably like it. The main graphical limitation is that the old UT2k4 can’t do fancypants blended animations, so things look a bit stiff when characters try to do two things at once.

    As for the connection issues, apparently there’s a patch due out today or tomorrow to deal with it. Personally I’ve not had too much trouble finding a server. I have a feeling a lof of the problems are just misconfigured servers – on launch day, there were a whole ton that forced stat-tracking, and wouldn’t let you join unless you set your tracking name/password.

    Unfortunately, there’s nowhere in the game UI where you can set such things. D’oh.

  48. Jahkaivah says:


    Hopefully by releasing the Left 4 Dead SDK and proper custom content support like they said they were going to MONTHS AGO HINT HINT.

  49. Chis says:

    $15-$20 ? Yeah, perhaps if this were still priced in that bracket, I might go for it. But having missed the preorder ($11 or £11? And if it was $11 over in the US, why the hell was it £11 here!?), at £14.99, I’m not tempted at all for something that is still similar to a game I already own.

  50. Dominic White says:

    Huh? The preorder price was $15. Now it’s $20. And seriously, I’d say that it’s well worth the money. It’s a lot of fun, very replayable (there’s a lot more variation in a KF match than an L4D one), and good-looking for the most aprt.