It’s been just over ten years since the first retail instalment of Killing Floor made its debut, and over this duration, it’s received fairly positive reviews amongst its fanbase. Killing Floor: Incursion is the third instalment to this franchise, and a first VR port for the Georgian-based studio, Tripwire Interactive.
You step into the boots of a rookie Horzine Security Forces officer, who's been implanted in a neuro-active simulation and tasked with infiltrating a Horzine database. These Zed are zombie-esque creatures, often ugly looking, and sad subjects of an experiment that has evidently gone awry. That’s where you step in — guns at the ready.
At its core, Killing Floor: Incursion is a damn fun game to play. Like its predecessors, it’s a first-person shooter which offers a mishmash of hack-’n'-slash style gameplay and gunplay that, given PlayStation VR’s capabilities, a game such as Incursion simply relishes in.
Where it ultimately falls short, though, is through its overuse of repetitive gameplay sequences, and offering a less-than-cohesive story and frustratingly cliche characters that feel like a buzzkill to the experience.
Incursion’s strongest asset is how it manages to utilise the use of motion controllers, serving as a way to holster your weapons and interact with your environment. It’s fluid and receptive, and at times where we often fumbled to draw a weapon in a hurry was mostly because it was our own fault. Better yet, being able to effortlessly flick between your arsenal without delay feels extremely satisfying, and learning to master the art of multitasking in the flurry of combat (often feeling like an onslaught at times) is an enjoyable challenge. Towards Incursion’s final hours is where your ability to do just this is truly tested, but we felt a little bit more experienced and skilful at the end of it.
Though it’s marketed as an action horror game, the horror factor never seems to feel consistent. Within its first hours when you’re dabbling with the interface we experienced a few spooks here and there, but nothing prominent thereafter. This is because the enemies you fight are relatively the same, requiring nothing more than a bullet to the head or a swift slice of an axe to stop them in their tracks.
There are two modes on show: the main story and Holdout. Its main campaign, which is where we spent most of our time playing, offers up four varied locations as well an introductory tutorial mission. You'll be playing in places such as Paris and an a-typical horror destination such as The Catacombs, with each map lasting around an hour-and-half each with a few fun mini-puzzles in between to keep you mildly occupied. It’s a game that is aware of how much you’ll probably get hit too, and playing on normal difficulty, ammo and health pickups are available in abundance to aid with this without too much hand-holding. Being able to wield a shotgun one-handed is also an achievement itself, too.
Incursion’s storytelling technique goes something like this: go from A to B, kill a few Zed’s in between to progress, and then prepare for the end-level boss. It uses the same rinse-and-repeat formula in nearly every level, and towards the end — despite its fun combat — feels far too overused. Its story isn’t particularly memorable either, made worse by a cliche ensemble of characters and the dreaded overacted end-boss, who's frankly borderline comical.
Even in moments where it’s not supposed to, like in midst of searching for your next objective whilst simultaneously fighting off swarms of Zed’s, the humour began to grate on us. Your main navigator, Emma, often passes comments on either how terrible you’re doing or how you need to hurry up in some circumstances, when all we wanted was peace and quiet to concentrate. That being said, It’s a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, but in moments such as this, we wish it did. This humour translates though gameplay too, being able to pick up a dismembered limbs and lob them at nearby enemies is strangely entertaining, and can be made even more so through co-op play.
Thankfully, you're not tied down by Incursion’s story alone. It’s alternative mode, Holdout, is a catered to those who just wish to participate in good ol’ fashioned multiplayer carnage, and it’s where Incursion feels best suited. It operates on a point system with incentive pickups scattered throughout, such as unlimited ammo and weapon unlocks which keep you tided over, and we can see this mode being even more enjoyable with a companion. It offers one new Tron-themed map called The Crucible, with other locations being recycled from its main campaign.
A fun first-person action game this may be, Killing Floor: Incursion rarely serves as anything other than just that. Its fluid play style and control scheme make decent use of being able to draw, aim, and holster your weapons with realism and ease, though it’s 4-5 hour campaign is often repetitive and lacks a little inspiration. If you’re looking to slash and shoot your way through countless enemies or buddy up with a friend for a few hours for co-operative and competitive fun, Incursion is here and ready to serve, though we’re not convinced it’s current £24.99 price tag is a true reflection of what’s on offer here.