Written by Maurice Verschuur 

November 23, 2020 – Door Kickers 2 is a sequel to the populair game Door Kickers released in 2014. It’s a top down strategy and tactics game where you don’t move the squad units directly, but plan their moves ahead by drawing paths and actions in order to takedown or capture terrorists. The action takes place in Close Quarters Combat in the fictional country of Nowheraki, Middle East.

The release of Door Kickers 2 in Early Access November 3rd was a rather big surprise as no one saw it coming. The sequel was first announced in 2016 with a release window in the same year. Time went by and there was no launch and the game was re-announced in February 2020, but then again… silence, until November 3rd, when someone on the Steam forum said to developer KillHouse Games “Release the damn game! Please?”. It’s not a surprise seeing these kind of threads appearing in forums about a game in development. What was surprising was the answer from the developer saying “Ok, give us 10-20 minutes.” And thus the Early Access for Door Kickers 2 was released. Of course one might think the release was already planned and the question on the forum was a nice coincidence. But he. Let’s not overthink this and enjoy the story.

Tactical planning

Planning is the main play of the game. You start out with a top down overview of the location without any intel about specific positions of the enemy’s. Only snipers, which are at you disposal in some maps, can give you a slight, but most of the time you will enter the location blind.

With this in mind you gear up your units to your needs. Your squad is divided into four classes: assault, support, marksman and grenadier. Every type has its different weapons, explosives and gadgets which you can all customize. Need to breach a lot of doors? Make sure to bring an extra set of Slap Charges. Even scopes and ammo can be changed according to the situation. Entering a house with tights spaces? Go for ammo which do more damage at close range.

The next step is to literally draw out a plan. My first experience with the first Door Kickers was back in 2015 on a Android tablet, which gave drawing paths and actions for squad members an unique experience. Door Kickers 2 is for the PC and drawing with a mouse is different, but very easy and feels intuitive to me.

Mayor quality of life improvements

Just 1,5 week after the release of the Early Access, developer KillHouse Games already came with an update which brought a lot of useful improvements. One of the seemingly small, but impactful change was coloring paths you draw. With some maps you have the ability to place up to eight units and you can imaging when you draw a complex path for each one of them can be confusing, given all the paths are plain white. Eventually I couldn’t separated one path from the other. With colored paths, and using TAB to cycle true different paths, it becomes instantly easier to draw multiple plans. Even the developer had to admit in their blogpost how simple but genius this is “BOOM – colored paths are in! (how could we forget about those?! But you definitely made sure we remember, hence some hundreds emails on the topic).”

Besides colored paths there where more improvements, such as copy/paste loadouts for your units instead of selecting gear for each one of them separately. They also added class icons so you don’t mix up your troops and a ton of more improvements and fixes. All small but very useful quality of life improvements showing the developer is on top of requests from the community.

Difference between white and colored paths

What to expect from Early Access

When launched in Early Access, Door Kickers 2 started out with 25 maps with 15 playable in coop. With the first update on November 13th there where two new maps added. Eventually the goal, as the developer KillHouse Games states, is to have around 100 maps, most of which can also be played coop and around 20 missions will be specifically for coop. There will be eight unit classes (against four the launch of Early Access) and over 60 weapons and pieces of usable gear.

The game will also support Steam Workshop, but this will come towards the full release of the game. The developer says “This is due to the fast pace game-engine changes during the Early Access period, when mods can become quickly outdated (read: broken) and modders’ work becomes a chore to maintain for both them and us.”

Door Kickers 2 will be in Early Access for 12 to 16 months. “The first part of Early Access will be dedicated to ironing out the straightforward tactical combat part of the game while the 2nd half will be used for exotic gameplay, undercover units and missions”, says the developer.

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