Killer Instinct 2013 Breakdown
Last month's announcement that Killer Instinct was coming back was met with tremendous praise! ...and about 10 minutes later we learned that the guys behind GI Joe the video game were developing instead of our beloved Rare. Opinions have been all over the place since then, but every time I see more about this game the more interesting it looks to me; as a big fan of modern fighting games, KI looks like a really unique blend of elements from fighting games all over the map. The game looks a lot like Street Fighter IV visually and in terms of movement, but of course takes all kinds of inspiration from the original games. What else do we know about it?
First of all, the developers seem VERY open to feedback and fan reception; they've stated that they're taking advice from the fighting game community first and foremost in regards to balance, mechanics, features, etc. And while not directly developing the game, Rare is also helping a bit. They're giving Double Helix feedback every time a new build is ready, and Ken Lobb, the original game's director, is specifically giving them advice. They're also very open to fan feedback; for example, they're currently taking suggestions from fans regarding names for their combos on their Facebook page, which you can see here.
They also seem really excited to show their game off whenever possible in the form of playable builds; despite being revealed just a little bit over a month ago, the game's given players several opportunities to play it already. It was a playable at E3, Evo, and was the mystery game played in the finals at ScrewAttack's "Iron Man of Gaming" tournament earlier this month. (The reveal of which being met with unreal hype and applause. Seriously, listen to these people scream.
I'd also like to stress that the game is NOT
a free to play title. That was a rumor started by a misconception in an IGN interview that said the game would be free to play but would only include Jago, with all other characters sold separately. This isn't the case; there's a demo in which Jago is the only playable character and you can play any mode in the game with him, including online play. The full game is a launch title and will not be free to play.
Regarding playable characters, at the moment we know of 7 : we’ve seen Tibetan monk Jago, icy alien Glacius, and vicious werewolf Sabrewulf in action, and Cinder, Fulgore, and Spinal were confirmed in an interview with a staff member of Double Helix. In addition, Chief Thunder was teased at Evolution 2013 last weekend. They’ve also expressed interest in including more female characters than the older games had. If you're interested in seeing how the 3 characters we've seen play specifically, I recommend you check out ScrewAttack's character walkthroughs, which can be seen here, here, and here.
The game's developers have specifically said they want the game to be very aggressive: big focus on attacking, not so much defending. Characters move around the screen quickly and all have great combo potential, just as you'd expect KI to be. However, there are also combo breakers, which work differently than you might think. When you’re hit by a standard attack in a combo that deals 2 hits, hitting two buttons of the same power as the attack hitting you simultaneously between the first and second hit of the attack will break the opponent’s combo. It’s easier to react to heavy attacks since they’re slower, but light attacks are very fast and hard to predict. That said, light attacks obviously deal less damage than heavy attacks, so there’s a trade-off in choosing one over the other, making it a better idea to mix them up when attacking an opponent. And no, mashing the buttons doesn’t work.
The game's tone seems a bit more dark than the old KI games filled with tongue-in-cheek humor. For example, the characters' plots have taken a pretty dark turn: Jago is suffering a crisis of faith and Sabrewulf rips his robotic arms from KI2 off and embraces the "dark arts." The character designs are also a little different than you may remember: Jago looks a lot more mature and more rooted in reality, as Double Helix wanted to dig into his roots as a Tibetan monk and have his design and physical traits reflect this moreso than his designs in the older Killer Instinct games did.
If you ask me, the game looks pretty good. They're staying loyal to the beloved Rare series, but they're not afraid to innovate and take inspiration from outside sources. The game looks like it handles like Street Fighter IV but with a much deeper combo system, which I think sounds great. The combo breaker mechanic sounds a lot more deep than I was expecting, and bringing that element of prediction and split-second reaction to the game sounds like it'll make it a lot more fun to both play and watch. The characters all seem totally unique as well; Jago is your basic shoto-style character, Sabrewulf is super aggressive and powerful, and Glacius plays a mean ranged game. The characters and the 3 stages we've seen so far (Tiger's Lair, Crash Site, and Chemical Lab) look gorgeous and stylish, not to mention the game runs at a smooth 60 FPS. If you're worried about the game's accessibility, it's also been said to come with 40+ training lessons, so I don't think it'll be too hard to get into. My favorite part? Probably that the soundtrack is said to consist of badass remixes of old KI songs approved by Robin Beanland. Awesome.
Stay tuned to RareGamer for all your future KI news and coverage!
Categories: Previews, Rare, Xbox One