Killer Instinct (Xbox One) review

killer_instinct-xbox-oneI’ve finally had a chance to sit down properly with the latest instalment of the Killer Instinct series from Rare. The first two games are amongst some of my favourite fighting games and I also happen to love the characters and the music of the series.

I played this game briefly about a year ago, but didn’t really get a good feeling for it. Conversely, I’ve now had time to get used to everything (I only have Season 1 but I fully intend to buy Season 2 and 3 now).

On with the review…

Gameplay: 4/5 – The gameplay is smooth. Really smooth. There really aren’t characters which I feel are unplayable and not being a master as one character doesn’t hinder your enjoyment at all. In fact, I’d say the game is almost a little too forgiving with its timing as it’s almost a little too easy to do special moves on accident.

The game can feel hard at first – but once I’d gotten used to the Xbox One’s D-pad, playing the game was a cinch. Only Glacius felt, sadly (because he’s one of my favourite characters), a bit bad to play as because he’s got a bit of a Zangief/Dhalsim problem: he moves really slowly. However, you can remap controls and have a lot of control over-all how you want to play which is nice.

One minus (and it’s an incredibly small one) is that blocking is way too effective. Characters hardly take any splash-damage and this makes fights feel like they take way longer to complete than they should (when an NPC mercilessly clings on to their last sliver of life).

Graphics: 4½/5 – While I’m not a fan of all the character re-designs (Spinal and Maya) most are good and I have to give credit to Rare for making the characters stand out so well. The new characters do feel a bit same-y with Sadira being the only one who really stands out but even on the backs of the original KI characters, the visual look of the game is pretty excellent.

Animation: 4/5 – While the story-mode endings aren’t bad, it feels funny that they’re essentially 3D rendered stills rather than full on animations. Character animations are excellent though.

Music: 3½/5 – The music isn’t bad and I even think it’s cool how it reacts to the action on-screen. BUT the sound-effects drown it out so badly most of the time it’s really hard to even appreciate.

Sound: 4/5 – The voice-acting and the sound-effects are excellent. There’s maybe a bit of repetition with some of the shadow-counter and other special moves and, as I mentioned above, it’s regrettable that the sound-effects have to drown out the music so badly, but over-all good.

Replay value: 4/5 – I love the story mode. Each character gets three endings and the game even tells you how to accomplish them. For someone like me, who mainly plays fighters alone, this provides a lot of entertainment even with just the Season 1 characters. The gameplay is just super fun and I like how the Story(/Arcade) mode isn’t painfully long either.

Score: 80% – Despite its infuriating release form (on disc but still requiring a full download of the game on your Xbox hard-drive) Killer Instinct on Xbox One is another fantastic entry in the regrettably small KI series. Absolute must-play if you’re a fan of the original and KI Gold.