This is the 3rd or 4th update of this review. Over the course of the life of this game, I’ve gone back and forth as to whether to recommend KF2 quite a bit. Currently, I’m leaning “yes”. Nothing else really scratches the itch that this game scratches, and it’s a lot of fun.
However, you should know a few things before you get into this game.
1. The developers have a history of making sweeping balance changes that kind of ruin everything, from time to time. There was a period of about a year, year and a half, where everything was way too bullet-spongy and Hans was goddamn impossible to kill. Then they buffed him. Depending on when you get into KF2, the game will either be a great visceral thrill, or a tedious slog. People also do tend to be really bad at the game on any difficulty above Normal, so bring your friends.
2. They’ve since walked it back, but for a while they implemented a loot box system where you got box drops and had to buy keys to open them. In other words, the worst possible monetization scheme apart from renting time on the warthog in Halo. At present, the game uses a similar system to alpha packs in Rainbow 6 Siege, where you get boxes as drops occasionally and the option to buy cosmetics is also there. This isn’t terribly offensive, but who knows if they’ll implement some other terrible monetization system, given enough time.
3. There are a lot more maps now, one more perk, a few more weapons, one more boss than before, and one or two new enemy types, but overall the content has come at a glacial pace throughout the life of the game. I wouldn’t count on seeing anything new for a long time once you drop the cash to get in on this. What you see will be what you get, for a long time.
So, if you’re content to wait forever for new stuff to play with, you can have some tolerance for weird offputting balance changes from time to time, and you keep a wary eye out for them to start monetizing things again, KF2 provides an experience not quite like anything else out there right now.
The game revolves heavily around the visceral thrill of shooting hordes of monsters that come at you and your team. Each “perk” (class/job) has its own thing it brings to a team, and cooperation is essential. The guns all feel really good to shoot, sound amazing, etc. This is Tripwire’s strong suit, for sure. Occasionally you’ll enter “zed time”, which is a slowdown period that can also trigger special effects on some perks (once they’ve leveled up enough to unlock the skills that trigger that stuff). Perks have levels, and every 5 levels you get to pick a skill/talent/whatever to change something about how it plays. Unfortunately, despite several tweaks to the talent system, there are still certain perks such as Demolitionist that really need to be a certain level to be comfortably playable. Getting there can take a while.
I’m happy to report that, at the time of writing this in April of 2018, KF2 is a pretty fun game. That hasn’t always been the case, and it may be that subsequent balance changes make things unfun again. However, I still give the game a strong recommendation, with a few asterisks.