Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Release Date: Q3 2009
When you think of a zombie survival co-op game, your mind automatically conjures up images of Left 4 Dead, and for good reason; Valve's opus of teamwork and constantly adapting AI made for a masterpiece, one that will likely be played for years to come. Is there room in the world for two co-op zombie survival games? Tripwire Interactive hopes so, as they're set to release Killing Floor later this year.
To be fair, the zombies in Killing Floor aren't really zombies at all but rather experiments released by a mad scientist who's none too pleased that he was relieved of service in making monstrous new soldiers for the military. Still, any creature that shambles toward you with the ultimate intent of gnawing your face off is a zombie, so let's not split hairs. To be doubly fair, the mod upon which Killing Floor is based was created back in 2005, several years before Left 4 Dead, so who's to say that Valve didn't steal the idea?
OK, that's probably not very likely, and the games are different enough that those who are looking for something a bit different than Left 4 Dead should be pleased. First up, the title supports up to six players in co-op, but unlike L4D doesn't have any sort of versus mode currently in production. While you can add up to two more friends to help you get through the zombie apocalypse, you'll never get a chance to play as one of the abominations that hunger for flesh. The other big difference is that while L4D tasked teams with getting from one side of town to another in order to finish a level, Killing Floor simply asks you to blast all the zombies in progressively more difficult waves. It's very similar to the Gears of War 2 Horde mode, but with fewer do-rags and more biting.
While the title is going to be budget-priced (or as the folks at Tripwire like to say, "Recession-friendly pricing"), that doesn't mean it's skimping on content. The game will ship with five maps, including a rather claustrophobic lab stage and a wide-open yet exceptionally creepy farm stage. There is also going to be a whole host of weapons ranging from simple pistols and shotguns to flamethrowers, rocket launchers and chainsaws, as well as persistent perks and a stat-tracking system. One thing's for sure: No one can accuse Killing Floor of skimping on the good stuff.
Even though Killing Floor is going to draw all sorts of flak for being a "L4D clone," that's really an unfair assessment. Killing Floor presents a markedly different experience, one which can be enjoyed alongside Valve's stellar title, not in place of it. Those who love shooting zombies but are looking for a new twist on the hobby should keep an eye on this one — that is, if the walking undead don't rip out your eyes and eat them first.
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