Thursday, December 21, 2017

Killing Floor 2 (Xbox One) Review

Killing Floor 2 is a fast-paced first-person shooter where you battle waves of enemy monsters called Zeds.  Between each wave, you can spend your earned money for armor, ammo, and new weapons.  After the last wave, there is a boss fight, which is a nice and unique addition to the formula.  My only real complaint about that is the lack of bosses.  There are only three (four including the new free seasonal Krampus update), so you will fight the same one many times.  At least they all behave in different ways, so they don't feel that similar.  Even though most enemies just run up to hit you, there is a nice variety in what you fight to make fights frantic and interesting.

There are several characters to choose from, but it only really affects what they look and sound like.  Furthermore, there are some costume accessories and outfits you can put on them.  Some are only for one person, and some are for multiple characters.  There are a passable number of customization items at the start, but you have to earn more.  Unfortunately, most of them are from random loot boxes you earn in the game, and then most of those require real money to unlock.  In-game currency, called Dosh, that you earn from daily and weekly challenges unlocks a free loot box, but it takes longer to earn those.  Thankfully the game is first-person, so you won't see your own character that often.  That means I can mostly ignore the customization stuff and focus on the gameplay.

Besides the character you play as, you can freely choose which class you are before a match.  Each has different starting weapons, recommended weapons, grenades, skills and perks.  However, you can buy weapons from any of the classes if you want to.  Your character has a total weight limit of 15, and each weapon has a weight value.  At first I was apprehensive about this, but the matches are short enough, and I quickly learned which weapons I wanted, and had just enough room for what I needed.  This isn't great for experimentation of various weapons, but in playing multiple classes and multiple matches, you will likely try out enough to know what fits your play style.

Kills with different weapons will give you experience for the class that it comes from.  I worried that this would slow down the level gain for the main class, but it doesn't seem to.  Plus, you can use a leveled up class to get some experience for a new class you want to try.  At every fifth level, it adds a perk to that class.  There are two possible choices, and you can switch between them any time you aren't in a match.  I really like this.  There are also skills for each class, like the Demolitionist setting a trap on any door they weld or letting other players get a free grenade.  Some get better as the class levels up, like the Field Medic's extra armor.

Another unique addition is Zed Time.  Occasionally when you get a kill or headshot, everyone enters Zed Time, when the world all slows down.  This is best used to carefully aim for more headshots.  Many max-level perks give you bonuses during this time.  That's a good thing, because otherwise it can be hard to use.  The slowed down aiming is useful, but the slowed down reloads are excruciating.  This is less of a problem with most guns, but with single-shot ones, like my grenade pistol, it can be a problem.  Still, a fun system.  It makes things more dramatic.

Thankfully, there are a lot of maps to choose from.  I prefer the brighter ones so it's easier to see the Zeds.  On the Outpost level, my friends and I found a great spot for defense.  It can be hard to stay in a good spot, since between waves you will be running to the open pod for resupply.  Strewn about the maps are various collectibles.  While I do like that, I'm not a fan that you have to get all of them in one run.  Two of the levels make this especially hard.  In those places, each round is in a different location, so you can easily miss them when going from round to round.  It's a neat idea for a stage, but not for gathering collectibles.

If you are a fan of horde mode in games, where you fight waves of enemies, then Killing Floor 2 is an easy recommendation.  The microtransactions are a bit of a downer, but the amount of classes, weapons, and stages gives you plenty to do.  Unfortunately, I have had a few game crashes, and some connection issues, but I think the later is my router dying.  I have fun playing the game by myself, but I'd really recommend grabbing a friend or four and dive in together for a ton of fun.

The Good:
A fun shooter against waves of enemies with lots of classes and weapons.  Even more fun with friends.

The Bad:
A few more boss types would be nice.  Not too fond of giving the player boxes they have to then pay real money to unlock.

The SaHD:
I'd recommend turning on enemy names in the options, as it makes it easier to call out specific enemies (although my friends and I have great nicknames for them already), and makes it easier to remember which ones you need for daily challenges.

(Review code for Killing Floor 2 was provided by the publisher)

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