Have You Played… Killing Floor?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Killing Floor 2 [official site] has left Early Access now, and given that it’ll be looking to bring the playerbase from the original into fresh pastures, there may be little point in revisiting Killing Floor the first. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently for reasons that don’t necessarily involve actually loading it up and shooting a monster in the guts. Killing Floor makes me think about genre.

If you pay attention to my writing, you’ll probably have noticed that I enjoy a bit of horror from time to time. Whether it’s a visit to the psychological haunts of Silent Hill or the anxiety and tension that comes from being the prey in a terrifying hunt, games have attempted to tackle most of the broad sweep of the genre. Killing Floor stands out as something different though.

First of all, it’s nasty. There’s a certain kind of monster design that aims to alarm through its representation of grotesque gore. Killing Floor’s mutants aren’t just dangerous, they’re sadistic – you get the impression that they’re not just going to fuck you up, they’re going to have a really good time doing it. Demons and zombies in games often lean toward a sort of heavy metal aesthetic, and there’s some of that in Killing Floor’s toughest enemies, but those lower down the chain are naked, wounded things. They look like they’ve suffered and some of the special event redesigns in particular are downright hideous.

A good monster design can make us ask questions about ourselves, and many of those that have endured are the distorted reflections of funhouse mirrors. They frighten us but they also make us think. Killing Floor’s monsters aren’t so high-minded. They’re revolting, and they make me realise how rare it is to encounter an enemy that acutally repulses me. I don’t want them to touch me, not because they hurt, but because…ewwwwww.

Killing Floor is grim, grotesque grindhouse horror, and I enjoy that it more or less stands alone as a solid example of that sub-genre in the gaming world.


  1. Baseplate says:

    I never got into the first KF but the fun I’ve had with the sequel makes me want to go back and play it. Is KF1 multiplayer still active or have most of the players moved on?

    • fabronaut says:

      I’m not sure if it’s still active, but I first got into Killing Floor a few years back.

      I was on break from university and didn’t have my main PC with me. I could only play fairly basic games that would run decently well on the AMD APU unit in my mom’s desktop PC.

      Killing Floor was excellent in that regard! The gunplay felt really satisfying (particularly the sharpshooter with the iron sights aiming), and it had quite a healthy player base at the time.

      Mind you, that was four years ago?

      Maybe check out something like SteamSpy to get an idea as to how many players might be active, to see if it’s worth looking into.

      It’s been heavily discounted many times, but I can’t say for sure if a lot of people still play it nowadays.

    • magogjack says:

      The launch of KF 2 is taking some people with it but there was just under 900 people on a second ago, which isn’t great but more then enough for normal games.

  2. DEspresso says:

    Ah Killing Floor, I remember I first installed it during Christmas Time (when all models are replaced with seasonal replacements, the guy shown above gets to be a reindeer) and being utterly disappointed when the ‘normal’ creepy models came back. It got a bit too horrific for my Taste, so I only played it around the holidays =)

    Anyone know whether they continued this tradition in the sequel?

    • Mansfield says:

      The developers at TWI confirmed that seasonal events will be a thing, but will not make it to the game this year. 2017 maybe!

    • Moonracer says:

      There’s actually a sticky in the steam forum for how to change the NPCs to vanilla or any of the event sets. This is handy as you need to kill holiday variants to unlock some of the achievements (and some skins).

  3. Moonracer says:

    I need to replay the sequel as people seem to like it now. But I enjoyed the first game a lot. I enjoy that the monsters are often slow and in large numbers which offers a nice balance of tactics and tension. The sequel felt like it lost that balance trying to adapt to modern shooter mechanics.

  4. fuggles says:

    This has to be one of the least enjoyable games I have played. If refunds were a thing I probably would have been all over it. I just found it to be a worse less for dead with no Team work beyond accidental. I could go on, but no… That would become an essay and well, I just didn’t like it.

    Also, grinding in a co-op game needs to never be a thing.

    • haradaya says:

      It’s a dumb shooter. But the shooting part is some of the finest you’ll find. Tripwire knows their stuff about creating immensely satisfying weapons.

  5. geldonyetich says:

    I have to admit I was far too busy fighting for my virtual life to get around to pondering the sad fate of Killing Floor beasties. The damn things were coming out of the wall at every turn, I didn’t want to know more about them, I just wanted them dead!

    It was good fun. I have yet to play the sequel.

  6. MOOncalF says:

    That default pistol is I think one of the most satisfying handguns in a videogame, the animation and sound are spot on, in a game that repetitive it’s high praise to say it doesn’t get old.