If I ever am forced to live through and eventually die during the zombie apocalypse, then I will look fondly back on games like Killing Floor: Incursion by Tripwire Interactive as adequate methods of survival training. While not the most realistic experience in the world, I still certainly feel like all of the gore and violence of this setting has done its part to subconsciously prepare me to do what needs to be done in the face of flesh-eating monsters.
It’s worth clarifying also that while I will refer to them as zombies because that’s what they basically are, technically the world of Killing Floor does not have any literal “zombies”. They’re called Zeds, but oh well.
The last time we saw this game was at last year’s Oculus Connect 3 (OC3) event and at GDC 2017 this year, the team at Tripwire brought along a brand new demo for us to try. I jumped into the game on the Oculus Rift with Touch and met my partner, this time instead of a developer it was another journalist from a different media publication.
After learning the basics of controls, moving with the teleportation mechanic, grabbing items from our back and chest holsters, and grabbing my flashlight, it was time to get started. Instead of appearing at the house like I did in the previous demo (shown in the teaser trailer above) we were down inside of what appeared to be a mine.
Standing back-to-back, my partner and I fought off waves of zombies coming from two sides. Some of them walked slowly, others were half-jogging, while a select few appeared to be running almost full speed with a scowl etched across what remained of their faces. My least favorite ones scuttled across the ground with bodies distorted and twisted, into strangely crawling creatures.
At first I found myself happy to pick off head shots from a distance with my pistols, then I heard my partner blast a pack of them all at one from short range using his shotgun. I reached back to get mine and found it insanely satisfying. Not only does it simply feel more powerful in your hands, but you have to physically pump it after each shot as well. The sense of presence was wonderful.
Playing with guns was fine and dandy of course, but the real excitement started when I set aside such play things and got down to real business: my ax. With a well-placed swing and a bit of slicing power, I was able to cut through waves of zombies like decomposing butter.
Heads flew off in every direction, limbs littered the floor around me, and I generally felt like a champion standing atop a mountain of corpses on the battlefield. Later on the developers admitted that melee weapons may be slightly over-powered at the moment. I was even able to chop off arms specifically so I could then grab them and beat the zombies to death using their own limbs. The zombie with giant claw-arms was my favorite to dismember.
Scattered around were a few moments of light puzzle solving, such as using a special filter on my flashlight to find spores that need to be shot, or moving a skull from a pile on the ground to an ornate pedestal clearly designed to hold skull-shaped objects.
These moments didn’t serve much purpose other than simply breaking up the monotony of constant wave fighting. A bit more depth and complexity would have been appreciated in some areas, but those elements are mentioned to exist once you dig deeper into the experience.
Killing Floor: Incursion does not currently have a release date, but developers mentioned it would be prior to the second half of the year for Oculus Rift and Touch.