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Zombies never seem to score an even break. Once again they are the subject of our gaming enmity, their sad lives cut short with axes, chainsaws, flamethrowers and shotguns, while we make quips and wait for the next upgrade. The whole thing probably sounds familiar – and it should. Not simply because this is a popular topic for game designers, but because this is a retail version of the classic Unreal Tournament 2004 mod of the same name: Killing Floor.
Being derived from a UT mod means that the game is, predictably, a multiplayer affair. There’s a solo option, but you won’t get very far with that – not until the developers implement the story mode they’ve been talking about, at least. Like all good team games you’re going to come to rely on your chums to get those nasties off you when you’re backed into a corner. Running off on your lonesome means doom, or occasionally glory. Mostly doom.
In a multiplayer game you find yourself, along with your colleagues, dumped into a large, open map. These maps are non-linear and your movement within them depends on two factors. Firstly, the attacks by the zombies: you’ll be trying to find the most defensible positions against the hordes. Secondly, you’ll be trying to get to the trader, who spawns at various locations between waves of zombies. The trader enables your militaristic characters to restock on ammo (although there are also crates of this across the level) and to buy new guns and armour (although these too are scattered over the environment). It’s fun to watch a tooled-up squad take to the next wave of enemies with relish: popping heads and exploding shambling masses with a well-placed grenade. Player-development isn’t limited to loadout – there are a bunch of character classes, or ‘perks’, which slowly level-up as you play.
These enable bonuses that make the battles at higher levels a little easier. And these battles do get tough: waves of enemies, followed by tougher waves of enemies, followed by a cloaking, shooting mega-mutant boss to finish.
The problem that underscores all this is that the game never feels more than a mod. The deeply juvenile art direction and voice acting, combined with the hideous UI and drab environments, make for a game that, although fun, has a distinctly amateurish delivery. Not that this harms the core of the game – which is very solid indeed – but overall it lacks the kind of quality, both in co-op tactics and visual design, that makes you feel like this is a worthwhile purchase. Still, if you can ignore that, and need yet more post-L4D multiplayer zombie destruction, this could be for you.
Jun 17, 2009
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