Killing Floor Review for Mac OS X

The game was originally a total-conversion mod for the game “Unreal Tournament 2004” and was released in 2005. A few years later, with their fan base waning, the game’s lead-developer, Alex Quick, approached the American game development studio “Tripwire Interactive” to negotiate “Killing Floor” being ported to Tripwire’s game Red Orchestra and it becoming a stand-alone title. And in 2009, the game was successfully published after about 3 months of work and by a team of around 10 developers. It then went on to receive numerous awards and become a top-selling title on the digital distribution platform Steam.

Amidst all the violence and senseless killing you’ll be doing, believe it or not, the game does indeed have a story. Set in West London, Killing Floor revolves around “Horzine”, a biotech company that specializes in mass cloning and genetic manipulation. After a disastrously failed experiment, Dr. Kevin Clamley, Horzine’s chief scientist along with all of Horzine’s clones, start to exhibit gruesome mutations, become increasingly hostile and eventually overrun the facility and later the surface. Desperate to contain the outbreak, the British government musters up the last surviving soldiers and police officers to drive back the hordes of zombies, which are now running rampant throughout the streets of London. You, the player, takes on the role of an anonymous member of one of these teams as they try to fight back wave after wave of zombies eventually taking down their leader “the Patriarch”, Dr. Clamley’s mutated form. And even though you only come in during the aftermath of the “outbreak” you’ll still find indications that heavily hint on the story.

With a plethora of zombie games coming into the game industry left and right. Killing Floor offers something only a few zombie games possess – pure & unadulterated killing. No sunflowers, no scourge, just bullets, blood and a lot of headshots. You’ll be spending most of your tutorials in the game’s solo mode. This is also where I would recommend you to play in for the first few hours of the game, just to get a good feel of the game’s environment and controls before venturing into multiplayer, which is the real “meat” of the experience. Don’t worry, the solo mode has plenty of maps to choose from that’ll keep you occupied for hours.

The maps range from the streets of London to the abandoned Horzine facility and even to a cameo of “Portal’s” Aperture Science Lab. Once you’ve chosen where your killing floor, so to speak; you’d then be given the chance to pick a “perk” from 7 different variants. These are basically just your character classes wherein you specialize in a specific weapon type, namely there are: Field Medic, Support Specialist, Sharpshooter, Commando, Firebug, Berserker, and Demolitions. These perks can be leveled up once they meet a set of requirements and provide a vital advantage in bringing down zombies on harder levels. From this point on, all you’ll be doing is relatively intuitive.

You’ll face wave after wave of increasingly tougher enemies ultimately facing the zombie leader “The Patriarch” in the final wave. Each wave lasts from as quick as 3 minutes up to 20 or more depending on your difficulty setting and how well you can deal with them. Fortunately the guns in the game, all 43 variants, can make even the longest of waves feel very very satisfying. Almost all of the weapons have their own unique flavor. The shotguns feel solid, pistols work as they should, and the melee weapons give you a nice and rewarding chop. This, coupled with the gush of blood and explosions you get from a successful headshot, makes for an extremely fun and fulfilling experience.

You also get money from killing zombies (headshots give you the most) that you get to spend on a trader that opens up shop every after a wave. She sells you virtually every weapon you need in the fight but migrates to different spots in the map before the start of the next wave. This prevents you from camping one spot and encourages you to constantly be on the move while you get bombarded with zombies from all sides. If that doesn’t throw you off guard enough, you should also notice the replacement of standard crosshairs with iron sights and scopes. Sights and scopes that take up almost half the screen and are incredibly sensitive to even the smallest of steps, I might add. This makes shooting while being on the move a big inconvenience. So trust me when I say that you’ll be spending quite some time in Solo mode perfecting your play-style and getting a feel of the center of the screen so that you could to avoid having to put up your sights.

Ultimately, when you get a grip on things and start to actually do well in higher levels both in Solo and in Multiplayer this rabid co-op zombie shooter will get so under your skin that you’ll relentlessly turn to it whenever the need to kill arises. It’s gritty, dark, immersive, unforgiving and a hell of a lot of fun. Believe me, all the killing will leave you nothing less than floored.

Performance & Quality

Considering that the game was developed under the aged Unreal 3 engine, the graphics and quality are somewhat bittersweet. On one hand, the game feels very atmospheric, so much so that you actually feel the vibe of west London in ruins as you continuously decimate hundreds of zombies. The details on the siren and most enemies are impeccable and all the little things around the environment are really good eye-candy for the most part. However, on the other hand, the same thing that made the game a success is the same thing that makes it feel a bit substandard. To put it plainly, the engine is old thus everything else feels outdated. There’s the occasional obvious polygons and some invisible barriers all around but besides this and a few minor gripes, the game plays and feels really well optimized for play with the Mac.

Multiplayer

Now this is where the game truly realizes its potential. Playing this “co-op” survival Zombie FPS without the “co-op” should be considered a crime on its own. With a plethora of different servers, some even have server-wide mods installed, and an healthy player base to keep you company, do yourself a favor and grab some friends or find a decent server and fire away. You’ll quickly find that in order to win you’d have to depend on your teammates heavily, and I mean really heavily. This could be both and advantage and disadvantage though. Either your team becomes a well-oiled killing machine through sheer skill and cooperation or they turn out to be misguided bozos who always seem to block the doorway to the trader leaving you helplessly in the open.

DLC

A bunch of DLC is available that adds new skins to the game.

Mods

Mods are available via the Steam Workshop.

About the reviewer

K (Karlo Nicolas Alvaro)

Angry college kid thinks he can turn the hours he wastes playing games and into something people will read.

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