The Co-Operative Brilliance of Killing Floor 2

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If you’re a fan of slaying horrific creatures, blood spurting everywhere as limbs are split from torsos, then Killing Floor 2 is the game for you. Even more so if you like engaging in such acts with friends.

Released last November for PC and PlayStation 4, Tripwire Interactive’s Killing Floor 2, now also available on Xbox One, is a game that thrives on community. While you can go headfirst into battle against a legion of demonic undead creatures by yourself if you really want to, playing with a team of like-minded maniacs is the best way to enjoy it, and there’s always plenty of them out there to oblige.

If you’ve lived under a rock for the last eight years or so and have no idea what the Killing Floor series is about, it’s simple: it’s about killing waves of grotesque creatures while developing a rag-tag bunch of characters. And Killing Floor 2 takes the brilliant gameplay of its predecessor while building on it and massively bolstering its visuals.

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After selecting a character class that suits your gameplay style and customising your appearance, you’re ready to jump into Killing Floor 2′s unique brand of action. Though chances are you’ll experiment with a lot of character classes before deciding on which one you’ll stick with in the long run. I chose the Berserker class initially, for example, because I wanted to run in and stand toe-to-toe with my foes while brandishing a katana. Eventually, however, I found myself opting for the Field Medic class, healing my teammates while dishing out damage from a distance with a machine gun.

What’s great about Killing Floor 2 is that your choice of character class doesn’t restrict you very much in terms of what weapons you can use. While each class has its own set of perks that can be developed by using specific weapons or performing certain actions, you’re free to buy weapons from other classes and make use of them, increasing your proficiency in their respective classes to boot. It all comes down to just being able to afford them.

You start each game with your basic class loadout, and after clearing out the first wave of enemies you’re free to dash to the active trading post and spend any cash that you’ve earned. Buying some body armour should perhaps always be your first port of call, and then it’s all about arming yourself up to the nines. There are melee weapons, pistols, grenade launchers – you name it, you can probably buy it – but your weight limit means you can’t go over the top. That would make the game too easy.

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Easy is not a word that can be used to describe Killing Floor 2, however. Even on normal difficulty the game can quite easily kick your ass if you don’t keep your wits about you. There are a variety of enemies – invisible ones, weird spider-like ones, screaming ones, chainsaw wielding ones – and they’d all like to end your life as violently as possible. You’ll need to make use of your surroundings, weld doors shut and work together as a team if you want to succeed, especially on harder difficulties. And if you do die during a wave, providing the rest of your teammates survive, you’ll come back in the next round but without any of your purchased gear. If all of your teammates die then it’s back to the beginning, unfortunately.

Initially, Killing Floor 2 can seem perhaps a little too hard. You’ll have very little in the way of helpful perks or bonuses, and you’ll have no idea as to how to tackle specific enemies or bosses efficiently. Persist for a few hours though, and everything clicks into place. As you unlock new perks your survivability increases dramatically, and as you become more familiar with its enemies you can devise effective strategies on the fly for dealing with them. Fighting side-by-side with strangers or friends, Killing Floor 2 becomes brilliant brutal fun that’s easy to pick up but nearly impossible to put down. And it’s the type of game that’s nearly impossible to grow tired of.

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Aside from the fact that gruesomely decapitating your foes is always rewarding, there are a wealth of customisation options to unlock as well as a huge number of perks. You can take part in weekly gameplay variants and occasional seasonal events that add new maps and monsters. The selection of maps already available is also expansive, and you can choose between three match lengths to suit the amount of free time you have to play. Killing Floor 2 is the type of game that you can just delve into now and again or play obsessively and still have fun. It’s the perfect co-op experience.

So, if want to pick up a game that you can play with your mates online or even randoms and still have some fun, give Killing Floor 2 a try. Oh, and if you pick it up on Xbox One, it’ll support Xbox One X when it’s released, making it look nicer and possibly bloodier than ever before on console.