Over the weekend, we streamed a popular first-person shooter called Killing Floor 2 from Tripwire Interactive. Not only is Killing Floor 2 coming to consoles (starting with PlayStation 4), Tripwire also has a large-scale multiplayer shooter called Rising Storm 2: Vietnam in the works for PC. Read on for detailed impressions of both games, talk of possible Xbox One ports, and PAX East videos with interview and gameplay footage!
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
The original Rising Storm (an offshoot of the Red Orchestra series, this one set in the Pacific Theater of World War II) arrived way back in 2013. Now it's set to return with a whole new historical setting: The Vietnam War. Antimatter Games developed the sequel and published by Tripwire Interactive.
The chief feature of the Red Orchestra and Rising Storm series is their large-scale 64-player battles. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam's battles will be just as big, but it will also support smaller-scale 16-player games as well. Each game is team-based, with one side controlling US Forces and the other the Vietnamese.
Besides the military versus guerilla conflict, the other major benefit of setting Rising Storm 2 is the maps themselves. These maps faithfully recreate multiple famous Vietnam War locations such as Vietnam's deadly jungles, cities, hills, Rice Fields, Plantations, and more. The two maps Tripwire has revealed so far, Firebase and Jungle, perfectly evoke the imagery of that war.
At PAX East, I hopped into a 16-player Skirmish game on the US side of the battle. We selected from several classes, each with different strengths, weaknesses, and a role to play on the team. The game doesn't lock weapons, classes, etc. behind a leveling system so that everyone can jump right into the class of their choosing with full access to that character's era-appropriate weaponry and tools.
I picked a guy with a big, heavy machinegun. Heavier weapons like mine (and the flamethrower) cause their carriers to move more slowly. On the plus side, you can prop a gun up on a ledge for greater stability and ease of aiming. That applies to snipers as well, because Rising Storm 2 doesn't use a "hold your breath" mechanic for aiming while sniping either.
The new Skirmish game type challenges each side to control three locations on the map. The unique twist is that both sides have a 120-second spawn timer. During that time, everyone will respawn if killed. But once the timer runs out, the only way to respawn is for your team to capture points on the map. If you lose or don't capture any points, everyone can be killed off, and the other side will win.
Tripwire hopes to release Rising Storm 2 on PC later this year. They plan to take a "when it's ready" approach to releasing the game. Before launch, it will go through alpha and beta tests to ensure a smooth multiplayer experience. Console ports are a possibility down the line, but not before the finished game arrives on PC.
Killing Floor 2
Back in 2005, the first Killing Floor came to life as an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod. The mod was so successful developer Tripwire Interactive acquired the rights and released Killing Floor as a full game in 2009. The weird sci-fi aesthetic and smart co-op elements of the original made for a truly unique game (and an elegant alternative to the Left 4 Dead series). And Killing Floor 2, which has been in Steam Early Access since last year, is even better.
In Killing Floor 2, the Zed (zombie and monster) outbreak has spread across the world, toppling governments and sending civilization into chaos. The biotech firm Horazine (which created the virus) must now fund a group of civilians and mercenaries as they attempt to establish outposts amid the chaos.
Players will select from a variety of characters, customize their abilities and equipment, and head out to battle the threat. Killing Floor 2 is primarily an online co-op game for 6 players, though it also offers online player-versus-player and offline solo modes.
If you like Horde modes, you'll love Killing Floor 2. Each game consists of increasingly difficult waves of zombies and other grotesque monsters for players to kill. Pulling off headshots and other stylish kills enables a brief slow-motion "Zed time" for all players. Horazine also pays money for each kill that can be spent on supplies and weapons between rounds.
Maps and mods
Like the original Killing Floor, the sequel has great community mod support. Users can easily create and distribute their own levels through Steam. Tripwire then evaluates these levels, promoting some of them to official status and building them into the game. The creators get a chance to shine, and everyone gets a regular stream of new maps throughout the game's lifespan.
Even the game's development staff uses the same mod tools (and sometimes submission process) as everyone else. Tripwire's official level designer, Matthew 'Fever' Lefevere, has just published a brand new map via the Steam Workshop mod system. He designed The Museum map during his spare time, the same as anybody else would. If Tripwire decides to make it an official map, they'll do a Quality Assurance pass and possibly add new artwork to help it stand out.
Killing Floor 2 on consoles
Tripwire brought an early build of the PlayStation 4 version of Killing Floor 2 to PAX East. This build sadly did not include multiplayer, but we got to check out the game's Solo Survival Mode. It looks and plays just like the Steam game, although some of the menus were a bit different. The Steam version is quite controller friendly already, so perhaps the PlayStation 4 game's menus are simply not finished yet.
The developer tells us that PlayStation 4 Killing Floor 2's multiplayer will be ready in time for E3, and the full game should launch later this year. Of course, we're especially eager to see the game on Xbox One. The good news is that Killing Floor 2 is only a timed exclusive for PlayStation 4 (as usual, Sony is better at reaching out to developers than Microsoft). Once the exclusivity period expires, Xbox One gamers should be in for some awesome 6-player co-op action.
Get Killing Floor 2 on Steam and celebrate Double XP weekend
Now is a superb time to get Killing Floor 2 on Steam, because double XP weekend has just started! From now until Monday, May 2 at 1 pm Eastern Time, players will earn experience at twice the normal rate. Killing Floor 2 has a whopping 25 levels for players to work towards, unlocking new abilities along the way. Why not get a jump start on that progression?
What's more, rare item drops have double the chance of appearing as well – though only once per day. After completing a full solo game today, I leveled up and found a new headband (a purely cosmetic item) for my lady punk character.
Killing Floor 2 is a tighter, prettier sequel to one of Steam's greatest co-op games. The grotesque sci-fi monsters and zombies and stiff degree of challenge ensure that everyone will want to work together in cooperative games. When undead monstrosities flood the streets, only teamwork and quick shooting will save the day.