Since the release of the Oculus Rift and technology like it, the virtual reality movement is in full-swing. Independent studios and major developers have been making moves to get in on the scene and Tripwire Interactive isn’t about to be left out. On the PAX South show floor, Tripwire took the opportunity to reveal their own foray into the VR scene with a spinoff of their Zed splattering co-op series, Killing Floor. Killing Floor: Incursion is a survival shooter that will task players with fighting against an incoming swarm of Zeds with little more than their reflexes, some sharp aim and a desperate trigger finger. We received hands-on time with an early build of the game and it was impressive to say the least.
Anyone who knows Killing Floor knows the game has always been about surviving growing waves of undead Zed swarms with their pals. Killing Floor: Incursion doesn’t change the formula so much as change how we approach it using a VR platform. In our time with it, we started out with a partner in a dark and imposing forest. Using the Oculus controls, we could press forward, creating a mark that we would direct with our vision. Letting go of the forward control transported us to wherever the marker was last positioned. This was our means of moving throughout the forest and repositioning in order to best handle the coming threat.
Can't blame gun sway here. Placing critical shots is literally in your hands.
After some time has passed, Zeds start approaching from multiple directions. It’s up to you and your partner to put them down. To this end you start with a pistol located in a holster at your side and a knife located in a sheathe over your shoulder. The Oculus Touch controllers each act as one of your hands and you retrieve your weapons by reaching for either holster with a grab button. Aiming for the head is key, though mowing through the swarm before they descend upon you is a clear priority. That said, weapon ammunition is limited and there were only a handful of pick-ups throughout the demo we played. The knife is less effective, but swiping with it might be your last resort when your back is to the wall. You can discard a spent weapon if you need to, but accidentally releasing the grip function on your weapon simply returns it safely to its holster where you can draw it again.
Exploring the environment to key to discovering anything that can aide you in the fight. As mentioned, you can find ammo pick-ups, but other weapons also exist. We discovered a second pistol, which allowed from some John Woo-style Zed slaying action, albeit with less acrobatics on our part. Tripwire also confirmed that other, stronger weapons, both melee and firearms, will be seen throughout the main game. For instance, Tripwire confirmed the existence of an axe that can be used to chop Zeds down to size – far more reliable than a flimsy knife by comparison.
As in any Killing Floor, there will be quite a variety of Zeds to contend with.
At its core, the concept of Killing Floor: Incursion runs similar to arcade defense games like Beach Head. However, the ability to reposition and strategize with your fellow player to cover danger zones is a great VR translation of the teamwork that has become a staple of the co-op Killing Floor experience. Moreover, control in Killing Floor: Incursion is tight. Aim and contextual actions felt very responsive during the demo and the failsafe of having weapons return to you if you fumble with the controls is incredibly convenient.
Visually, Killing Floor: Inclusion seems to bring the goods as well. After all, what would Killing Floor be without intense blood and viscera? Seeing a Zed up in your face is incredibly stressful. We can count on both hands the times we spent a clip to try to desperately thin the massing crowd. That said, if you can keep your wits and make sure your aim is true, the resulting bloody explosion of a Zed’s head when you land a critical headshot is extremely gratifying. Slicing through Zeds with the knife has similar feels and both will reward you with brutal displays if you can appreciate them in your struggle to survive.
Will you put your back to the wall or funnel Zeds down a path? Either way, repositioning is key to survival.
We didn’t get a lot of time to take in the full depth of our environment in the demo, but it seemed to be perfectly appropriate Killing Floor fare. There was a cabin in the woods that definitely gave vibes of a similarly named horror film and, though we didn’t go inside, the threat of danger from every direction made the cabin a grand place to put our backs to the wall and make a stand. That said, there also seemed to be multiple ways to go in the demo and our way certainly might not be indicative of what other players might discover works best in their demo.
Our time with Killing Floor: Incursion was brief but enticing. We’re ready to see what arenas we’ll see and what weapons we’ll find as we step behind the eyes of a soldier in the Killing Floor universe to kill Zeds with our own two hands. The struggle is as real, and perhaps moreso, in VR as it ever was on our desktop screen and although we won’t be running around wildly as we did in Killing Floor 2, Killing Floor: Incursion is certainly something we’ll happily invite into our VR library as a fantastic expansion of Tripwire’s classic zombie shooter formula.