Yesterday, Tripwire Interactive’s gore-splattered co-op shooter Killing Floor 2 saw another biggish update go live on Steam. The Tactical Response update, which had been in open beta since 11th August, introduces the eagerly-awaited SWAT perk and its associated guns, a new map, changes to zed behavior, and a variety of minor tweaks to existing perks and weapons.
Killing Floor 2 has been in early access since April 2015 but is finally due for a full release on 18th November – the same day as it arrives on PS4. This latest update now brings the number of perks up to nine, with just one left to implement. But with the Martial Artist’s cancellation officially confirmed, probably for the best as it’s hard not to imagine a massive crossover with the Berserker, there is much speculation over what the final perk will be.
The SWAT perk brings with it four new guns, all SMGs. The starting weapon is the compact but surprisingly good MP7. Then there’s the law-enforcement stalwart MP5, the sci-fi looking P90 with it’s enormous top-loading magazine, and the sexy-beast that is the Kriss Vector.
Well suited to taking out the trash, these weapons sacrifice damage, accuracy, and penetration for huge mags and extremely high rates of fire. All but the MP5 feature a type of red dot sight, making them very easy to aim. Though the difference between these weapons is a little underwhelming. They all handle very similarly, but with incremental increases in damage and RPM and slightly different clip sizes.
With several head shots required to kill even the smaller zeds, the SMGs really do burn through the ammo, especially on the tougher difficulties. As such, the SWAT perk is not well suited for taking on the big guys, though their flashbang grenades are very effective at stunning them, and their available armour skills allow the SWAT to tank effectively – somewhat similar to the Medic from the first Killing Floor.
I must admit, the new class feels a bit bland and unimaginative. There’s far too much overlap with the Commando for my tastes, and I was hoping the SWAT perk would provide a much more tactical and unique role. There was talk at one point of a riot shield, but that idea seems to have been shelved for now. That said, the SMGs are a lot of fun to use and allow for an extremely mobile playstyle. Plus, their light weight makes them great off-perk backup weapons.
Moving on, the new community-created map, Infernal Realm, looks great. Set in a dark and dank Quake-like dimension, you find yourself amidst the crumbling ruins of a colossal, ancient temple brought to life with mutilated corpses, hellish brimstone, arcane symbols, and giant clockwork machinery. A nice little touch is that all trader pods have all been substituted with green-glowing and very evil-looking skeletons.
Disappointingly, though it gives the impression of being expansive, it actually feels small gameplaywise. It’s a squarish grid of broad corridors, a few relatively open spaces, and limited verticality. And in that sense, it’s a tad uninspired.
Other notable changes include a new weapon for the Demo. Yes, the M16 M203 has made a comeback from KF1. And just like before, it’s a lacklustre half-way house that excels neither at being an assault rifle nor a grenade launcher. Frankly, you’re better off with the M79 or RPG, with an SMG in reserve. Still, it’s nice to have options.
Also, the zeds will now try to evade or block incoming damage and projectiles, something that’s more likely to happen on higher difficulties. So, if you see one raising its damage-resistant arms, you might want to wait until they drop them again or at least try shooting from an alternative angle.
Then, there’s been minor rebalancing to the health and vulnerabilities of various zeds, including Hans who now has a weaker shield but does more overall damage; as well as general tweaks to several of the perks and weapons. Though nothing really to get too worried or excited about.
And lastly, team spawn locations have been randomised, the trader interface has been revamped, and the gameplay menu now includes options for things like defaulting to the alternative dual pistol aiming mode, no auto-turn on clot grab, and an anti-motion sickness solution. Oh, and anyone who plays Killing Floor 2 during early access will gain immediate access to an elite variant of the Horzine security armour and some rather ugly camos for the 9mm.