I have taken my time to ponder on this review longer than the other launch titles for Xbox One for a number of reasons. First, this game was so verily exciting to me as I’ve been waiting for a new instalment in this series for feels like decades. Yet somehow I can’t help but feel disappointed as this isn’t even a complete game.
This game comes in different packages. I bought the ultimate pack which comes with all currently available characters and the classic version of Killer Instinct. Having the classic version sounds awesome and nostalgic but I never realise how hard it is to actually play, it’s sluggish and slow in comparison to this new iteration. So once I passed over the nostalgia trip I loaded up the new Killer Instinct and may I just say, wow. This game blew me away.
I am so happy they’ve kept the musical theme in an newly recorded format. The KI theme is one of the coolest theme songs in gaming. This respect for its roots flows throughout the reset of the game, as it stands anyway. All the characters still are recognisable from their older counterparts but look absolutely amazing. The particle effects in combat are a plenty and smooth. Textures are very sharp and detailed. Lighting is very well implemented and is affect by projectile attacks and super combos, all I’m saying is this is a beautiful looking fighter.
This is probably the best fighter out there right now. High call I know, but there is reason behind this. They’ve made this game an entry for hardcore fighter fans and also managed to create this into an entry platform with arguably the best tutorial system I’ve come across with its KI Dojo feature. For more of the fighter mechanics they have got down to the finer details in teaching you how to work your timing with attacks and animation frame stages. It’s quite thorough.
This all sounds amazing but here comes the negatives. There is no arcade mode or story mode. There are only 6 characters at the moment if you buy the ultimate pack otherwise you can download the game for free and only have Jago to play with but will have to buy the characters separately. This is what Double Helix who developed Killer Instinct have called the most generous demo ever, I don’t quite understand that. It just seems to me they’ve tried something new here that doesn’t quite sit well, or that they’re coating over what is an unfinished game by selling it as different access models. However they do say arcade mode and more characters are coming in their “season 2” DLC. But still, you can play online with the free version. Thats something I guess.
By releasing this game as a digital download is one thing, but releasing what is clearly an unfinished game with only a VS and Dojo mode to play with 6 initial characters seems like bad form. I would have much more appreciated a full on game release with story mode, arcade mode, vs mode, online, dojo and the normal staples then I could be happy with only 6 characters at launch.
This has made a bitter sweet taste in my mouth which I’ve had to sit on while trying to write a review. I’ve been playing other launch games and seeing the Killer Instinct logo pinned to my Xbox dashboard which first brings warm fuzzy feeling of hope and joy swiftly quashed with disappointment in the lack of content.
I am giving this current version of Killer Instinct a 2/5 Chunts.