Killer Instinct is back, and TJ combo is along for the ride. All throughout the Microsoft booth at E3 this year, stations were set up with arcade sticks as far as the eye can see. What new mechanics awaited us in “season two” of this popular fighting game?
First, and most important, is the brand new “recapture” property that has been added to several moves. Recapture, or restanding as some call it, allows combos to continue after an opponent has been launched. Normally, you can only get a few juggles in before a combo ends if you knock the opponent into the air. But recapturing, taking a page from Skullgirls , allows you to bring the opponent back down to their feet to continue the combo as you will. Thus far it seems as if these moves only work if they hit in the air. Hitting on the ground actually causes the opposite effect, bouncing the opponent into the air. For now, the only character that has a “recapture” move is TJ Combo, the newest character to be revealed. However, it appears as if the whole roster will be getting similar moves, or alterations to their moves in season 2.
TJ combo was the big attraction on the show floor. He was the only new character being showcased. He is a boxer style character, with many of his kicks still throwing punches. He was also a charge character, like Sabrewulf, relying on quick back forth and down up movements, rather than quarter circles.
His moves had an incredible amount of diversity. His back forward charge move produced a variety of effects. One version caused a knee which went through projectiles. Another caused him to duck low and try to throw. If the throw connected he would slam you onto the ground, which caused a ground bounce. Another version was just a rushing straight punch. It did an incredible amount of damage and even had frames of super armor, letting it blow through other moves.
His down up charge was something completely different, and a little hard to get used to. It caused him to jump up and come down with a huge haymaker punch. Different strengths of the move had different properties. Light ones were quick and overhead. The heavy one, on the other hand, impacted the ground with such force that it hit the opponent no matter where they were. If you weren’t jumping you would fall to the ground. It doesn’t do any damage but it immediately lets you get in on anyone who was turtling up.
TJ Combos instinct mode is also rather unique. Under normal circumstances, all it does is provide a speed buff. This is pretty good, allowing him to move around the screen at high speeds and keep the pressure on his opponents, but it’s unimpressive. The real power of his instinct mode comes form, oddly enough, not using it. If he is reduced to zero life with a full instinct bar, he will get up and get a second wind. Here he will recover some life and will be slightly stronger and faster. It’s a great way to make sure your unused instinct doesn’t go to waste.
Other than that, Killer Instinct Season 2 still felt a lot like season 1. There were still combo breakers, ultra combos, and more. The older characters played pretty much identically to how they did in the first season. The stages were pretty much the same except for Combo’s devastated city stage. It all hasn’t changed much.
But the dev team says that this isn’t going to be the case for long. Every character in the game is going to get changed somehow. Move properties are going to be tweaked here and there. Combos are going to become more flexible. Everything is going to evolve in some way. Not to mention we are going to be able to look forward to eight completely new characters to be added to the roster. They wouldn’t comment on exactly who, but they seemed to stumble a bit when I talked about Cinder and Riptor. So all we can do is wait and see what the new Killer Instinct has in store.