Not since 1996, with the release of Killer Instinct 2 in arcades, has the world been treated to a brand new Killer Instinct game, which is why it came as a pleasant shock to gamers worldwide when Killer Instinct was announced as being an exclusive launch title for Xbox One.
Ok, perhaps the title isn’t particularly imaginative, but what about the actual game?
‘Freemium’ is a word which is being used far too often in the gaming industry of late. A trend which began in mobile phone games (in fact you’d be hard pressed to find a game which DOESN’T incorporate micro-transactions these days) has now spread to our beloved consoles as a way to squeeze more money out of unsuspecting gamers.
Some games, such as Simpsons: Tapped Out, can charge as much as $80 for some of the larger premium offerings – hardly a ‘micro’ transaction at all.
So when it was announced that Killer Instinct would be FREE the world was very happy. When it was revealed you would only be able to play as one character the world was very sad. If you wanted to play the full line up of characters then you would be expected to pay $20. If you wanted additional costumes and accessories then you would have to pay $40.
An additional $20 for a few extra costumes? We have another Simpsons: Tapped Out on our hands…
Why Microsoft and Rare decided to go down this route is unknown – do they believe the success of freemium games on smart phones will translate to consoles? Do we even WANT the format to be successful? If Killer Instinct does well, it will undoubtedly mean a surge of freemium games hitting Xbox One in the future…
Why am I talking about freemium so much? JUST REVIEW THE GAME ALREADY, I hear you all cry.
For me, the way we purchase a game goes a long way towards how I judge it as an overall product. Can I really justify spending an extra $20 just for some costumes and accessories for my characters?
The game itself does look and feel like I would hope a next generation Killer Instinct game would do. The animation is fluid, the graphics crystal and the gameplay is manageable even for a fighting game newbie such as myself. We even have the welcome return of the announcer, which made the original game stand out above other fighters of the 16 bit generation.
If you downloaded the free version, you would only be able to play as one character, which in fairness is occasionally swapped (meaning, over time, you will eventually be able to play as each of the main characters). In total, the full game features only 8 playable characters, which is a low figure by today’s standards. Rare have stuck to their roots with the game, which makes the game feel very much like the original, however players paying for the full game may feel a little short changed by this. It’s nice to link the game back to the 90’s, however it would have also been a decent touch to give returning Killer Instinct fans something new to get their hands on.
There is a wide variety of game modes available, however there is only so much you can do with the fighting game format. After battling for the twentieth time in a row, for me, things start to feel a little too familiar, especially when you consider you’ve just fought the same 8 characters twice each and you’re half way through fighting them all again.
The tutorial mode is thorough and gives new players the option of learning how to do huge combos, rather than just by accident by button mashing (something which is common while playing Killer Instinct). The game is noob friendly, however you will soon find dumb luck counts for nothing when you play online and receive a 120-combo to the jaw.
If you’re not a huge fan of fighting games, or they’re something you will occasionally pick up and play for five minutes before discarding for another six months, then I would whole-heartedly recommend Killer Instinct on Xbox One – especially considering Rare will be rotating the characters.
For hardcore fighting game fans, I’m not sure what would be the right thing to recommend. If you’re the sort of gamer who sticks to the same character every time you play, then maybe Killer Instinct is for you. The option of playing online and ranking on the world leaderboards may just be enough to keep you coming back, so long as you don’t mind fighting the same characters over and over in the limited number of environments.
But hey, if you purchase the full version, maybe you can choose them a snazzy new outfit.
For a fighting game, Killer Instinct isn’t bad, and it’s certainly one of the better exclusive offerings on the console right now – purely for the awesome voice over guy.
Final Score: 7/10
Have you downloaded Killer Instinct yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Article by - Mike Jeavons