Killing Floor 2 Beta Impressions

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Staff member
Nov 24, 1998
I've been playing the Killing Floor 2 beta for a few days now. It's a pretty limited version of the full game so it's hard to come away with a defining opinion, but so far I can safely say that it's more Killing Floor. If you liked the first game you will like this game. If you didn't, then you should hold off until the game is further along before forming an opinion. It will be released into Early Access on Steam, April 21st.

Visually, the differences are clear; the first game sprang from a modification of Unreal Tournament 2004 and all of the GUI was derivative of that game. Here we have a major update, not only in the technology, but also in the sense that it has shed that mod feeling and is now a fully realized game. Their customized build of Unreal Engine 3 is a nice step up from the previous engine and the level of detail has increased substantially. The GUI and server browser are all snappy, modern, and easy to use.

The gameplay is very familiar. Part of that is due to the fact that most creatures (zeds) of KF2 are carried over KF. There's one new creature in the beta, but he's not much different than the lowly clot. There are supposedly other variations being considered. Some zeds have learned new tricks (climbing rails, for instance) and the animation on all has been greatly improved. The boss, Hans, has some unique tactics and is extremely tough. However, he feels very similar to the original's Patriarch boss (who will be returning as well) and I'm hopeful that we will see some unique challenges from the other new boss being added.

One of the most intriguing tweaks they have made to the game is the leveling system. There are still separate classes (perks), but only the medic, berserker, commando, and support are in the beta. Three brand new perks, for a total of 10, are expected to appear at some point. You still passively increase your skills and effectiveness by reaching new levels, but there are now 25 levels instead of 6. I reached my first two levels in roughly 90 minute increments, so you can see that the early milestones come a little more quickly than they did in the first game. In addition to passive skill leveling, every few levels you can also choose talents. These have the potential to allow you to customize your abilities a bit, which is nice.

There are three levels in the beta. No doubt many more will be added. In addition to looking great, each level seems to be a good deal more complex than its predecessors. This is good in that it greatly increases the variety of options you have for retreat, but it also means you'll probably spend a lot less time entrenched in a single spot on the map. It's hard to find a spot that doesn't have at least one disadvantage, and once welded doors have been broken down they are gone for good. Another important change is that it's now possible to sabotage yourself a bit by shooting out light sources. You can see how that might put your team at a disadvantage. I hope that isn't a source of future griefing, but the levels they've included so far have plenty of natural light, and you could probably just move if it became a problem.

You've all seen the videos featuring the gore system and it looks good when spectating, though due to the chaotic nature of the game I can't say that the extra chunks stood out much as I was playing. My favorite part is seeing the levels get increasingly soaked with blood and gore as the rounds went on.

Like I said, it's really early and there are only hints at what will be included in the final game. It's also difficult to tell how the perk changes and unknown new enemies might change the game at this point. Fans should be happy with the upgrade. If you were put off by the older engine when you played before, then you might enjoy this version more. If you didn't like the game the first time, then you're going to want to wait and see how it looks in a few months before making a decision.

Hopefully I'll see some of you out there.