Killing Floor 2 is a popular co-op first-person shooter in which players battle genetically engineered monsters called Zeds. Now Tripwire Interactive has announced Killing Floor: Incursion, an Oculus Touch-exclusive spin-off that promises cooperative scares and thrills in virtual reality. I played Incursion at PAX South in San Antonio, TX and came away impressed.
Welcome to the killing floor
Whereas the two mainline Killing Floor games offer numerous stages that can be played in any order without the limitations of a linear narrative, Incursion presents a linear campaign with an actual progressive narrative. In this one, you play as a trainee at Horzine Biotech, the company that created the monstrous Zeds.
After an accident severely injures our protagonist, his employer places him on life support. In order to keep his brain alive, they also connect him to a VR training simulation for the Horzine security forces. There, he’ll battle against virtual Zeds while his body gets repaired. But it soon becomes clear that a third party is manipulating the simulation, putting the player in even more danger.
Tools of the trade
Paul prepares to blast Zeds
Incursion requires both the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch to play. The Touch motion control system consists of two controllers, one worn on each hand. These allow players to control the protagonist’s hands independently, dual-wielding weapons and other equipment as necessary.
Movement is an important element to get right in VR games. Mess up, and players will get get queasy. Incursion’s solution makes sense — you simply point the controller to the spot where you want to move. If the cursor turns blue, you can flick the analog stick up to appear there. Press the stick left or right to rotate your view. Because the view changes instantly rather than panning, most players won’t feel motion sickness.
Not only can these knives be dual wielded, you also have the option of either slashing with them or throwing them at enemies.
Our virtual self wears two gun holsters, one on each side. He starts out with only one gun, though he’ll discover a second one before too long. Using the grab button, players can remove and wield the gun. To put it away, simply place the gun near the holster and release the grab button. Drop it on the ground and it will eventually reappear in the holster as well. The index finger trigger button obviously fires, and pressing either thumb button will reload.
Other tools in the player’s arsenal include a pair of knives and a flashlight. The knives are stored in sheathes on the top of your back. Just reach towards either shoulder and grab to pick them up. Not only can these knives be dual wielded, you also have the option of either slashing with them or throwing them at enemies. Later levels of Incursion will include even more weapons, even an axe.
As for the flashlight, it’s stored on your chest. The flashlight has two lighting modes. The normal mode simply lights up dark environments, whereas the alternate mode creates a blue light that reveals hidden objects in certain environments.
On the whole, Incursion involves the use of five total holsters located on different parts of the player’s body. It sounds like a lot, but storing everything on your body is much more immersive than pulling stuff out of thin air.
The floor must die
As the demo begins, our character (I hesitate to use the word hero, as he works for a nefarious employer) finds himself in a dark field outside of a large house.
Before long, a crowd of Zeds (primarily the zombie-like Clots) emerge from the darkness to attack. Blasting them with a pistol in virtual reality is exhilarating — shooting the monsters to pieces, scoring bloody headshots. And like in other Killing Floor games, each headshot has a chance of initiating Zed Time, a brief period of slow motion. Zed Time helps you catch your breath and fend off the swarm during hectic moments.
Soon we approach the house, a rundown two-story affair straight out of a horror film. A second pistol lies on a chair by the front door, which is locked. Both pistols share the same ammo source. Ammunition management is a big deal, because you’ll be forced to rely on knives if you run out. Thankfully, ammo boxes aren’t too terribly scarce. Incursion is a horror-themed game, but it still provides plenty of opportunities for shooting vile creatures.
The act of carrying and inserting the piece feels so much more real in VR than it would in a regular game.
As we head towards the back of the house, new enemies join the crowd: the Crawler, a black spider-like humanoid, and the Stalker, a female who can become invisible. The unique monsters have always been a highlight of the series, each presenting a different kind of impending danger. Fighting them off, we turn on our flashlights and enter the back door of the unlit house.
Each level in Incursion has unique objectives, delivered to players via a female Horzine employee outside of the simulation. She communicates through a floating tablet in the virtual world, instructing us that the portal to the next area has been sabotaged.
We must use the flashlight’s blue-light mode to search the house for missing pieces of the portal. Several pieces are hidden on the ground floor, whereas others are upstairs and on the balcony. Each piece must be manually carried in one hand and placed within the same-shaped hole in the portal downstairs. The act of carrying and inserting the piece feels so much more real in VR than it would in a regular game.
Once we insert the last piece, the portal reveals a picture of Horzine’s gas mask logo. We step through and our time with Incursion ends.
Not just a VR demo
Killing Floor: Incursion is coming exclusively to Oculus Touch sometime in 2017. Oculus gamers won’t want to miss it!