Killing Floor: Incursion Review

Although I haven't played Killing Floor games before, something tells me that the story isn't the most important thing going for them. That might explain the rather goofy setup of Killing Floor: Incursion, playing a soldier who was knocked unconscious during a battle with the undead and has woken up in a hospital lab. The player character suffered massive head trauma that required immediate surgery but soon after being put under, his consciousness was loaded into an elaborate simulation by the Horzine Corporation, the well-funded organization you apparently work for. Through this simulation, you uncover a computer virus that threatens to infect Horzine and might endanger others by (somehow) spreading the zombie curse, so you have to shoot viruses? Or put them together? All the while shooting hologram zombies that can cause damage? In all honesty, I lost interest with what’s going on because the whole thing appears silly and largely unnecessary compared to the practice of chopping, shooting, and blowing up those pesky Zeds.

The story mode involves exploring environments across four different areas around the world to uncover the source of the virus and stop it from making a mess of things - all of which is an elaborate set-up to get fighting off zombies. The levels that make up these areas are mostly linear hallway crawls that get divided into smaller chunks opening up after surviving a zombie horde and then doing it again five minutes later. You do get a bit of a break from combat, thanks to short puzzle scenarios and virus hunting that involves manipulating objects and using a scanner to locate hidden items. Neither of these are very difficult and time consuming -which might explain why zombies randomly appear while you’re trying to work. Once you get deep enough into the level, you’ll cap off exploration and virus killing with a fight against an end boss. They are bigger and meaner creatures, soaking up a lot of damage before they fall down. Because the boss fights take place in large, open areas, you’ll want to keep moving in order to avoid crippling attacks while crowd controlling t other zombies.

Killing Floor: Incursion is an entertaining enough VR game to play, though there were a few things about the control system that really bugged me. Character movement is limited to teleporting around the map and while I don’t like this method to begin with, Incursion made it worse by limiting its use with a in-game meter - and a pretty lousy story reason for it to add insult to injury. The teleportation meter empties every time you use it and should it drain completely, you can’t teleport across preferred distances and instead, move forward by inches until you stop and let the teleport ability recharge. Having to stop and wait for a moment while getting surrounded by attacking zombies is pretty dumb, especially during boss encounters. Health and ammo pickups respawn, giving you a chance to heal and arm up but limiting movement like this adds nothing positive to the experience. I really wanted to use the regular PlayStation 4 controller for this because it would have solved the problems of movement as well as having to rely on the Move wand’s face buttons to turn the camera left and right. The whole system of movement and turning to face enemies behind you is a total chore that left me feeling like I was always fumbling.

On the other hand, the Move wands do a pretty good job of simulating the practice of holding and firing a weapon. The player character’s cache of weapons (which starts with a single pistol and a machete) is situated on your person, which means you have to physically reach out to your side holsters to pull out the handguns and reach behind the back for the knife or large weapons (like shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles). I was wary of this setup at first, given how much trouble I had with it in Crisis on the Planet of the Apes. To my pleasant surprise, Incursion was much more responsive in interpreting my movements and button inputs. Aside from the occasional accidental discharge when I thought I was putting the gun away, the simulation of grabbing your gear feels good and consistent. Larger weapons, like the fireman’s ax and shotgun, require two hands to use. The assault rifle can be fired with one hand at the expense of accuracy, which grows a lot steadier to use when you’ve got your free hand on the weapon. As effective as these weapons are against the zombies, I almost always preferred using the ax because of how satisfying it is to knock a Zed’s head clean off the neck.

Combat is the most enjoyable part of Killing Floor: Incursion. It’s good enough to make you forget the clumsiness of movement until you have to move (and then I get really sad). Another thing the game has going for it is how genuinely creepy the zombies look when they shuffle towards you. The developer Tripwire animated them very well, giving each monster type its own specific style of movement. There was one zombie variant that always crept me out every time I saw it walking with its clear purpose, with fists clenched and occasionally punching the air as it marched at me, its face a mask of pure, unchecked rage - kind of like Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V (who is scary enough in his own right). Killing Floor: Incursion has everything a zombie experience should have: clever weapons, lots of targets to use them on, and a weak story to tie it all together. The controls are a bit of a pain and there are a lot of linear hallways to trudge through but nothing says “unwind from a hard day” like taking an ax to a zombie’s face. If you have a friend with a PSVR, bring them along for the co-op campaign and horde-mode inspired test of survival.

Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.