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Guide: Killing Floor vs. Left 4 Dead: The Definitive Guide

Posted by BaeStuped, in Guide 21 January 2014 · 2442 views

TAG Cheaplikeafox PC Guide Killing Floor Left 4 Dead Zombies
Guide: Killing Floor vs. Left 4 Dead: The Definitive Guide Every Steam sale it's inevitable that the Killing Floor vs. Left 4 Dead argument crops up. Usually it goes a little something like this:

Noob: How is Killing Floor? Will I like it?
Helpful Person: It's a great game. Do you play Left 4 Dead? If you like that, you'll probably like KF.
L4D Fanboy: omgwishpeoplewouldn'tcomparethetwotheyarenothingalikeblablabla

The truth of the matter is these two games are very similar in many ways.


In Left 4 Dead, you encounter enemies who have been infected by something called the "Green Flu." It's some sort of viral disease that has mutated people and turned them into monsters. You have your run of the mill infected, which just run at you and attack you straight on and then you have your special mutants with different characteristics. These range from the Boomers, who will spit bile at you and explode when you kill them, to the Witch, who generally keeps to herself unless disturbed by light, noise, or gunfire.

In Killing Floor, the enemies are specimens gone wrong from experiments conducted by Horzine Biotech. Again, you have your run of the mill specimens, who just come towards you and attack, and then you have the specimens that got the worse of the experiments and have special characteristics. Like L4D, you have Bloat, which spits bile, and you have a siren, which is more proactive than the witch, but remains invisible until she sneaks up on you and screams.

While KF has more variety in the enemies, they are similar enough to L4D to make a negligible difference.


L4D features a weapon system that will be familiar to most fans of FPSs. You can find and pick up weapons and ammo during your mission and you eventually reach a cache of weapons in the safe room between missions where you can stock up on ammo, switch it out for an upgraded weapon, or switch weapons/strategies entirely.

KF features a slightly different system where you earn money during rounds and visit a trader between waves to purchase new weapons or upgrades. There are rare ammo drops in the stages, but you will need to purchase ammo between waves in order to survive.

KF gets the edge in the weapons department just based on the volume and variety of weapons available and the ability to upgrade/switch out more frequently. The weapons also tend to have more noticeable differences to them.


In years prior, gameplay would have been one of the areas these two games showed the greatest divide, but due to some game updates (objective mode in KF), the differences aren't as big anymore.

The core gameplay in L4D is squad-based, cooperative missions where you are tasked to get from point A to point B while completing some objectives in between. The ultimate goal is to survive until the final mission where you are rescued from the are and survive the outbreak. Enemies can seem infinite as you play and the game can feel very unrelenting.

The core gameplay in KF is squad-based, cooperative survival of waves of enemies where you have to survive each wave by killing all the enemies until you survive the final boss wave and kill the boss (The Patriarch). There is a lot of strategy that can go into surviving the waves, especially on higher difficulties, and teamwork is essential when playing online.

Both games can be solo'd, with L4D providing CPU players to fill your squad and KF making you go at it alone. The comparisons get tricky considering L4D has a survival mode where you face unlimited enemies until you die and KF recently added an objective mode where you have to complete certain objects during each wave.

L4D gets the edge here due to the greater variety of gameplay modes, especially the ability to play in infected vs. survivor teams.


If you are big on graphics or plot, neither game is really for you.

KF is a Unreal mod and L4D runs on the Source engine, so both are based on rather old engines. L4D gets the upper hand with smoother graphics, but both these games rely on gameplay for appeal.

The L4D story is presented in the form of a movie with different acts and a neat looking poster that pops up showing your characters. The credits roll when you finish a stage and get to the evacuation point. There's not deep back story or character development, but what's there is done nicely.

KF is even sparser with the story, but infuses some personality with the trader and the specimens yelling at you.


L4D can feel less like a traditional FPS and more like an action game at times. The guns don't feel as real to me and that leads the enemies to feel like bullet sponges at times. There isn't as much satisfaction when using most of the guns.

KF feels more like a traditional FPS to me, meaning the guns have a significant feel to them and their impact on the enemies is felt stronger. The difference between the guns is also clearer and the game does a better job of giving you satisfaction when you mow enemies down.

That said, the real payoff for both games is putting in a few hours in an MP session and feeling the satisfaction of working together to pass a stage/mission. The communities for both can be pretty good, though being the more popular game, L4D can suffer a bit from the whiny, unhelpful lot that play a lot of mainstream FPSs.

So who wins?

It's a draw!


For all the similarities, both these games have to be played in order to get a proper feel for them. I love them both and even though KF is my favorite, I can't really say it's better than L4D.

As a fanboy of both, but more importantly as someone who doesn't really know anyone who plays L4D co-op (as opposed to versus) through thousands of hours logged, I gotta say that's the biggest difference. Especially when you look at the notoriety of the L4D community and how wretched it is for newcomers—that's all about people playing against each other and ragekicking their own teammates.

You know, I've heard that about the L4D community.  I played them first on 360 with my brothers and my only MP experience on the PC has been with fellow CAGs so I haven't experienced that first hand.  Probably been lucky.  KF on the other hand I have played with complete strangers and do agree the community is really welcoming to anybody.  

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