Unfortunately Sophie Ellis-Bextor is not a playable character, something I hope the DLC will solve. Since I last posted a crappy little update here two more posts have gone up on Gaming Daily. One talks about Mount and Blade, the other about getting my girlfriend eased into popping her videogame cherry. Also, a surprising link in the Sunday Papers at RPS for my pisstake Gaming Art Gallery. So now my writing pinnacle has been reached with a last minute hash using microsoft paint, time to start the inevitable degrade in the quality of my output.
Here, you can see my team are organised. This is because I am dead.
For those of you who play or have played Left 4 Dead, but have so far avoided Killing Floor on the assumption ZOMBIES + SURVIVAL = SAME GAME - Change your ways or be damned, for I have tremulously spoken. Reasons you may avoid it however are an abundance of (amusing) glitches, simple goals, possibly light content and shooter fatigue. If you hate having to wait to respawn too then steer clear, though it is amusing to watch the others when times are tense near the end of the wave. But if you die early on whilst the defenses hold and 400 monsters are left to go you'll be bored senseless, with only your right hand to keep you company. Otherwise, apart from if you retch at the sound of Cockney voices I am really hard pressed to think of any major flaws. I'm finding it hard even to avoid just deleting everything but one sentence in this post saying "Buy it, experience it". But then I am a hack after all.
Prepare to see this message more than you'd like.
The game itself is fairly easy to describe mechanic wise, so here's a boring bit without any jokes. You have free reign of the map you're on to set up your positions, the objective to survive each successively harder wave. At the end of each wave those killed respawn and you all run franticly to an ever moving trader to buy ammo, new weapons and armour with money earnt killing creatures. All the melee weapons and guns on offer here feel reasonably solid and you soon find your favourite load out.
On top of your weapons there's a perk system to tailor where your strengths are, and these can be levelled by meeting certain conditions for each one. Normal games are 6 man affairs, and it is often suicide to stray too far from the pack even on the 30 man games. Enemies come in a number of flavours that require different tactics to tackle, becoming tougher and spawning more of the meaner ones the higher the wave you're at. When you play, you'll discover just how pant-wettingly terrifying the mention of "four fleshpounders" really is outside the concept of a swingers' party. To help survive you can weld doors shut and heal each other, but your characters are not the veritable tanks that Zoe is and ammo is a sacred thing to be blessed sanctimoniously.
This is James. He too is cool and uses initals to name himself.
If I heard someone just sell the game to me as that I'd probably be ignoring it right now and indeed I did, despite Tom Francis giving it a quick whirl and saying it just might be good (though he did rush that post a little). Getting the game after a friend corralled me into it I can say the thing that really makes it is the tension, and for me personally it creates this on levels that make L4D feel pale by comparison. I do love L4D but with only five weapons to pick from and with generous ammo pickup points, infinite ammo pistols, the rareness of special infected and the relative durability of the characters it just feels more safe, dull even. That does change in L4D's survival mode, but only slightly. I've only played KF for 10 hours, but already I have so many more tales than even my games of TF2.
I didn't manage to get a good Fleshpounder screen, as too often I'm running away.
I think this is because the game is geared up to create epic last stands. All that careful planning, of welding doors shut and occupying a corridor with chokepoints and range does work initially. When with a team that knows what it's doing, you can plow through the first 4-5 waves with deadly efficiency. But then suddenly even your best laid plans slowly degrade, as the bastards just keep on coming. You're working hard, killing and killing and barely managing to hold the line. A few of your more trigger happy buddies have switched to their 9mm and firing frantically. Worryingly there's alot more than before breaking into the midst of you. Still calmly there, aiming down your iron sights and firing almost point blank now, trying where possible to line up those damaging headshots.
Your rifle is out. One of the earlier pistol buddies is using their knife now mainly, saving the pistol for those enemies it is suicide to charge. A glance at the counter tells you there are 90 enemies left, so it looks like you just might survive and re-stock for the next round intact. A few moments of panic then relief as two of the incredibly tough chainsaw monsters appear and are taken down with a close combat glitch and a guy with a chainsaw himself. Then suddenly that beast you'd been dreading makes an unwelcomed appearance, as one of your team shouts down their mic.
"FUCK! FLESHPOUNDER! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
It flashes on your screen that JB has been killed by the Fleshpounder. Then AsI - Rawr too. Your 3 remaining friends start retreating and firing wildly, ammo conservation forgotten as they forge an escape and try to whittle the beast down and finally manage to kill it miraculously. Monsters are everywhere now there's no longer a firing line to take them down before they reach you. Grenades blow up a fair few, but then you're out of those and it's down to the knife and 9mm as the horde descends and backpedalling begins. But it's no good; your earlier good firing position ontop of the car is now an island. You stave off enemies amazingly so, careful prioritizing even in panic the deadlier foes and managing a quick heal but seeing no hope of rejoining your teammates. The counter says 20. Yes! It might just be possible!
Then you see in the dark a glowing yellow line that you'd thought there would only be one of. The glowing yellow line turns red on the chest of the Fleshpounder as it roars and charges at you. Knowing your number is up, you decide to go out in style for the spectators watching. You have 7 bullets left in total, which might just kill the second weakest creature in the game let alone the second toughest. With no armour and 50% health, it seems you’ll die valiantly pumping every last round into the git.
Instead you hit "B"; which is used during the shop to give cash to players that need it and prompts a varied vocal cue from your character. A glowing £50 green note flies out of you into the Fleshpounder, as the random automatic voice clip ushers your famous last words in a cockney voice - "Loadsa Money!"
This was only my second game of Killing Floor.
If you don't find that epic, then let me tell you that pretty much every game I've played of KF has been as delightfully varied and tense as that, and it doesn't seem to be letting up. That time when we defended a castle with 30 vs 1000, killing a Fleshpounder with a carwash, a buddy welding me in a tight room with 2 Fleshpounders, the moment I mentioned two examples featuring Fleshpounders in a row. You needn't suffer the fatigue of the same maps recycled; there is a great wealth of community created ones that are pretty nifty. Indeed, I have defended the pub from Shaun of the Dead as the last man alive behind the bar with THAT rifle, fought around the Thames on top of its murky waters, battled up mountainsides and a wealth of other locations explored. If you can, get this game and join in with PCG's gargantuan 50 man server on the 14th of August. That is, mind, if the PCG offices have the ability to play games online once again. *Cough*.
If you can’t tell, I’ve fallen in love with this game, and at the moment it feels more than a fling. Time will tell, but I think it’s as much of a keeper as Counter Strike was in its heyday. So I ask you readers, put down your mediguns and backburners for a moment, leave your level 70 paladins and mounts. Come, and join me in celebrating this fine game.