Killer instinct is fighting game developed by both series creator Rare LTD and Double Helix Games with publishing duties being handled by Microsoft studios for the Xbox One.. Veteran KI Dev Ken Lobb was back as well to insure the quality of the series remains intact with so many years past since the release of killer instinct 2. Killer instinct’s new game engine may have adopted the 2D/3D style of current fights on the market ( i.e. SFIV and MK) but the combos and game mechanics from the original are all here. You can still hit your opponent dozens of times before he hits the ground and then finish him with an ultra combo that will added even more blows to your hit counter. The characters still have special moves and a new shadow meter that powers up their moves and combos. The throws in Killer Instinct are fair and the game features directional blocking (using the thumbstick or d-pad to block incoming attacks). The fighting system takes just a little time to get use to but after a while you will hear the announcer sing your praises as you lay waste to your opponents.
Killer Instinct graphics do not slouch K.I.s stages, backgrounds the environments may have a Unreal engine look to them at first glance but are the most in depth I’ve seen in a fighting game. The fighters are insanely detailed and come with all the fan favorite moves, specials and ultra combos. There is Jago the lone warrior, SaberWolf the vicious beast with a blood lust to match, Orchid the special agent, Thunder the shaman with a mission and Glacius an alien with an vendetta. DHS Games has introduced the female assassin Sadira to the title with Spinal and Fulgore will be released in the next three months. I’ve played with every character with this review and each handles similar how they were in the original games sans Sadira since she is a newcomer. When you hop online there is very little to lag. The graphics are very sharp and detailed though it still keeps the look and feel from the series. The soundtrack is all over the place but the non vocal tracks are still pretty enjoyable.
KI has a lot of modes some of which haven’t been released yet including Arcade, Survival, Dojo, Versus, Practice in the local play section. In the Online play section there is only Exhibition or Ranked play. This may leave a lot of people on the fence on playing/buying the game but they developers of KI starting a fighting game revolution. The Arcade mode and additional characters will be released in the next few months and you DO NOT have to buy the game. You can download the game and play it with each character as DHG will switch out the characters from time to time and play through all the modes without purchasing the ULTRA pack or any character. Many other fighters in the market release the initial or base version of a game then release DLC, and a subsequent version with all the DLC.
Once this is done the companies release another version of the same game with even more DLC cheating the customers who already bought into the game and forcing them to pay a premium to gain access to the content. Killer Instinct gives the entire experience to the fans for free and gives them the option to buy into the game even further. You can even unlock items to customizes the characters, the areas, even the announcer and more buy earning “KI points” just by playing the game and not through micro-transactions.
The Ultra edition of the game even comes with the original KI for you to play and enjoy on top of having all the characters in the first season and access to two in the next. The only problem with this type of infrastructure is that the online at the time of this review is suffering from net-code issues. The times I was able to get on and play ran smoothly over all but at times there were dropped matches and slow downs during the bouts. There is even a report issue that has been address by Double Helix Games.
Killer instinct is an insanely fun game that will keep you playing well into the day (or night) and will keep the game fresh with new content in the months to come. The wait may frustrate players and leave you wanting more but KI is still a solid title that shouldn’t be missed by fighters, and Xbox One owners alike.
Killer Instinct is back and better than ever and DHG gave us everything we loved about the original games as well as fresh changes to the gameplay, characters and the visuals. The lack of content and some netcode issues may sway some gamers away until DHG brings us the future DLC and patches but the game has promise to refine its experience and continue to flourish with its future content.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
RGN Rating: Bronze Game
Developers: Double Helix Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available On: Xbox ONE
Review Copy Info- This game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this review.