Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spread the Holiday Cheer with Killing Floor

Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than big guns and zombies, turning zombie-elves into giblets and decapitating snowmen to the tune of Tchaikovsky's Trepak. Tripwire Interactive's "Twisted Christmas" event returns to Killing Floor this year with the usual Christmas-themed specimens, a new level (the Ice Cave), new achievements, new character DLC skins, and seven new weapons. And as you'd expect from the kind people at Tripwire, the update is completely free. Except for the skins, which cost $2.

Oh, and there's a FREE WEEKEND EVENT now through Sunday night, so you can try the game out on Steam if you've been on the fence thus far. If you like online coop shooters, then I'd highly recommend checking Killing Floor out this weekend. And it's on sale for $5. Read my own words about Killing Floor here.

The update is a nice present for Christmas, certainly, because it's always fun to experiment with new weapons. Some of them are better others, but overall I'm optimistic that they'll add significant depth and variety to the game. My thoughts about each one after the jump.

Each perk got a brand new gun to play with. It appears that each new gun is kind of a "mid-tier" weapon intended to give us stronger secondary weapons or just extra variety. In the long run I think that only the M4 203 and the Husk Cannon will have a significant impact on the game, and to a lesser extent the 44 revolver. Everything else will basically just replace another gun in typical loadouts while not doing anything new or exciting.

44 Magnum Revolver (for the Sharpshooter). It's a pretty strong six-shot pistol that you can dual-wield if you so desire. It aims a bit better than the hand cannon and feels cooler. Its best attribute is that it only weighs two blocks, so lots of different perks and combinations will be able to fill their last couple of slots with this handy back-up pistol, but for the sharpshooter, it's not the most exciting addition. Something with a small scope would've been more useful, in my opinion.

M4 Carbine (for the Commando). It feels kind of like a cross between the SCAR and the AK47. It's got a nice red-dot scope for improved accuracy, and is about on-par with the AK in all other regards. Not a huge change for the perk, but it might permanently replace the AK as my main weapon when playing as Commando, just because of its ease of use. It eats through ammo faster than the AK (and does a little less damage), so it's more of a preference weapon than anything else.

M4 203 (for the Demolition). Not as strong of an assault rifle as the regular M4 Carbine in the hands of a commando, but it provides an essential close-range option for demos who all too frequently blow themselves up or just do virtually zero damage when specimens get in close. The grenade launcher functions identically to the M79 (though only holding 12 grenades max), but it's light enough that you can still carry an M32 and pipe bombs. I wish the rifle portion counted towards the commando perk for damage and stalkers, but it doesn't.

Claymore (for the Berserker). Does more damage than the Fire Axe and still doesn't cause a fleshpound to rage with an alt-fire attack. That speaks well for it, but it attacks too slowly to be as efficient as the katana. It attacks with wide sweeping motions which, to me, should damage an arc of enemies in front of you, instead of just hitting the one in the center of the screen. Oh, and an apparent glitch makes it only weigh two or three blocks instead of six for the time being, so enjoy a stronger, lighter-weight fire axe while you can.

Combat Shotgun (for the Support Specialist). This one somewhat bridges the gap between the regular pump-action shotgun and the fully automatic AA12. It's semi-automatic with good damage, but takes a while to reload and has a small capacity of only six shells. Might replace the regular shotgun in effectiveness, and I might even experiment with using it instead of the AA12. My biggest problem is that, when it's empty, you seem to have to reload two shells before you can start firing.

MP5M (for the Medic). This one's going to hands-down replace the MP7M. It does more damage and has a bigger clip, which is essential for making it more usable as a primary weapon on higher difficulties. And it still only weighs three blocks. One nice thing is that now you can carry both medic guns, which I think operate on separate recharge cycles for shooting darts, allowing a dedicated medic to constantly heal people at range.

Husk Cannon (for the Firebug). Finally, something that makes the Firebug a fun, useful class to play. Each shot is chargeable, so a single click will shoot a weak fireball that essentially only sets the target on fire, and holding the mouse button down for a few seconds will let you shoot a high-powered blast that does heavy missile damage while setting a small area on fire. Works great against clumps of enemies, and does enough damage to actually let the Firebug contribute to killing FPs and scrakes.

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