|System: Xbox One|
|Dev: Double Helix|
|Release: Novemeber 22, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Past Killer Instincts were known for being more fun in single-player than they were in multiplayer. While this isn’t particularly the case in this new Xbox One version, there are still a couple issues that make the game less fun when you are facing a skilled opponent. For example, while the combo/counter break system seems like it would be fun and fair, really it just makes the game feel sloppy. Unless you are playing against a total newbie who loves to mash combo breakers and get himself locked out, combo breakers happen all the time. This means that those awesome killer combos that you have spent hours in training mode perfecting really rarely go off unless the opponent makes a stupid mistake. When that does happen, health totals swing heavily, which makes the game feel very random. In fact, I’d say that Killer Instinct is most fun when played at a new to intermediate level. High-level play is weighted so heavily on “did you combo break correctly” that it feels like a whole match can be lost on one simple finger twitch.
Visually, Killer Instinct is one of the more impressive games on the Xbox One. The 2.5D graphics run incredibly smoothly, and you can lose yourself in stage graphics when you should be fighting. Effects like the shadow effect on super moves are some of the coolest visual effects we have seen in fighting games yet. The game is also very impressive in terms of its audio. Stage music actually changes as you fight, ebbing and flowing with the tide of battle. Battle ending ultra-combos even change the stage music more, playing a small theme to whatever character won the match.
Killer Instinct’s biggest weakness is easily its feature set. The game doesn’t even have an arcade mode to speak of! There is no final boss, no story, nothing other than a barebones survival mode, versus mode, and training. That being said, the Dojo mode of the game includes one of the most comprehensive tutorials fighting games have seen so far, so that’s nice. The game also supports online play with some smooth netcode, but lobby play and spectator mode are not supported.
Killer Instinct certainly is a fun game that does everything fighting games need to do right. It just doesn’t have a whole lot to offer otherwise. So unless you have a dedicated group of fighting gamers to play the game with you, you probably won’t get the Killer Instinct experience you were hoping for, and even if you do, high-level play feels a bit shallow. Killer Instinct certainly has a lot of potential to become a great tournament fighter after we delve deeper into the gameplay system and the roster expands. It just isn’t quite there yet.
Date: November 21, 2013