Killer Instinct review (Xbox One)


By David Ng

In case you haven’t heard NEXT GEN IS HERE! The Videogame Bang! team spent an evening running quickly through many of the launch title on both systems (you can find all our first impressions here), but today I will be focusing on Killer Instinct for the Xbox One. For those of you who, like me, are not very familiar with the game, it is a fast-paced fighting game series which dates back to 1994.

First off is the price. The basic game is free to download and comes with all game modes but only one character, Jago. Each additional character will set you back $5 or you can spring for the Combo Breaker Pack which is $20 and includes all six of the launch characters plus two additional characters when they release in January and March. The third option, for you mega fans of the series or those who can’t live without fighting games, is the Ultra Edition Pack. This comes with all eight characters, costumes, accessories, and a digital copy of the original Killer Instinct game, but will set you back $40.

I have almost always approached every fighting game as a button masher, and it worked for a few rounds until the rest of the Videogame Bang! team started to learn the combos and string them together. The characters are pretty well balanced, so while a fast character can keep you cornered, they do not do too much damage and you can get back into the fight with your slow character in a few strong blows. With some practice you will be able to put together massive combos, counter your opponents moves with combo breakers, and counter counters with counter breakers, all while listening to an announcer egging you on and high energy music. If you need a tutorial instead of picking it up over time, there is a dojo mode where you can learn about hit boxes and timing specifically (though only on Jago).

Graphically the game is good looking and smooth. We didn’t have any issues with dropped frame rates while pulling of our combos and special moves. However, apart from a high quantity of particle physics (looking at you, Glacius) this feels like a game that could be right at home on the last generation of consoles. This is not too surprising for a launch title, and it is still a massive step from the last Killer Instinct game, almost two decades ago.

It is the only traditional fighting game available on the next gen consoles at launch, and it is free (again with only the one character). If you like fighting games or just want to try it, you have nothing to lose except an hour or two of your time. It is fun to play with a friend, and take advantage of the new record feature on Xbox One so you can get some video evidence of that time you broke a combo with a sliver of life and still went on to win the match.

Grade: B-

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