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Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct Comes Out Swinging In Its Xbox One Revival

It’s been over 15 years since we last saw Killer Instinct, the Rare-developed fighter whose heyday coincided with those of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. With such a long period of dormancy, fighting fans were excited to learn that Double Helix is reviving the series for the launch of Xbox One. When it was announced at E3, I wondered if the return of Killer Instinct would be a quick, nostalgic cash-in. After playing several matches at a recent Xbox One event, I’m newly optimistic about the free download.

Double Helix’s business model with Killer Instinct has been known for a while, but I can’t help but think it’s a smart one for a fighting game. Considering most fighting fans focus on a handful of characters in each game, it makes sense to allow for piecemeal purchases if someone doesn’t want the whole roster. For those that want everyone available out of the gate, the entire package will be available for the very reasonable $19.99.

I played rounds as Jago, Sabrewulf, and Thunder, and a member of the Double Helix team walked me through the systems that are in place. One of the staples of the original games was the abundance of fast-paced combos (complete with screaming announcer), and they’re back in full force. Matches don’t have to be an exercise in getting hit with 25-hit combos, however, as the combo-breaker mechanic is simple and effective. You simply have to hit both the punch and kick buttons of the matching power level as your opponent, and the combo is broken. You’re not in the clear once this is activated, however, as the combo originator can fight back with a counter breaker with a well-timed press of both medium attacks.

A couple of meters are in place to shake up combat, and both forms should be familiar to fighting fans. Your shadow meter comes with two stocks, and these can be used to activate enhanced versions of your special moves. An instinct meter activates a unique power once filled, and it’s activated with both heavy attack buttons. Sabrewulf gains enhanced attack power, Glacius is granted ice armor, and Thunder is given the ability to dash in for devastating grapple attacks.

As a free download, there’s a chance that many gamers who don’t typically play fighting games will play Killer Instinct. Double Helix is preparing for this with an in-depth dojo mode that teaches everything from basics like movement and special attacks to advanced learning tools like hit boxes and frame data.

Everything I played points to Killer Instinct being a proper, modern revival of a series that many fighting game fans have fond memories of. It’s fast, fun, and accessible, and I’m a big fan of the business model that’s going into its release. If you have even a passing interest in fighting games, you’ve got nothing to lose by downloading this title for free when you boot up your new Xbox One.

Comments
  • This looks really fun to be a new fighting game! (And I don't even pay attention to new fighters...........Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat my favorite)
  • C-C-C-C-C-Crap

    j/k, it looks pretty cool.
  • This is one game on the Xbox One I'm really excited for,some of the main developers behind it also play other fighting games competitively so of course they want it to be a quality fighter while also being accessible like classic KI.
  • Geez...it certainly looks pretty.

  • I also played it but was not terribly impressed. The graphics could've been done on the X360, and it felt unevolved compared to revivals of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Not as bad as Tekken has languished, but close.

    I'll be cautious until it's released. We all know how preview articles go--"This game is awesome! Perfect revival! Everything you've wanted!"

    Then it's released. "It's meh across the board, 5.0/10."

    I wanted this to be good, but I haven't been impressed. I was a huge Killer Instinct fan as a teenager, but this really didn't do it for me. Plus, Glacius looks ridiculous and so far, no Riptor.
  • My interest in this game has gone from next to nothing to VERY interested. Is this game only 19.99? Game looks fluid and I love the particle effects on combos
  • I cannot wait for the new Killer Instinct. Such fond memories of playing the original with my dad. Excited to go head-to-head against Mr Oestreicher :)

  • I'm getting PS4 so I likely won't be playing this anytime soon. I would like to try it out though. I give all fighters a chance, but I probably won't end up liking this one too much. I much prefer 3D Plane fighters. I can't play most 2D fighters for the life of me. Soul Calibur is my favorite fighting series, Tekken is really good too. The only 2D fighter I loved as much as those two was BlazBlue. Mortal Kombat was alright too. I like combos to have depth and multiple different inputs rather than the same 4 inputs in a row with ridiculously fast movement inputs for a combo.
  • I actually was one of the winners to download the full version for free on launch day. Definitely looking forward to checking it out

  • Its great that killer instinct is getting a new game. But there is still one fighting game that NEEDS to get remade, and that is Eternal Champions.
  • The art style does not quite tickle my  fancy. I also do not know how  the Killer Instinct combo system would hold up in this current day. I haven't played it in any capacity but I do wish the best for this game. Lord knows I've wanted a revival, or at the bare minimum, a re-release of Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2/Gold.

  • I like that I can get all the starting characters for a base price, but I'd like to know if there's going to be season pass style character packs that guarantee sets of future characters at a discounted price. I only play fighting games on the couch with friends, and we mostly just cycle through fighters, never really mastering any of them, so having the full roster every step of the way is important to me.
  • I hate Xbox One therefore this game sucks. Not really though, just making fun of the dips out there who can't appreciate a good game regardless of the badge on the front of the console. Can't wait to play this.
  • Any word on the return of No Mercies?

  • But does it have C-C-C-COMBO BREAKERs?
  • this came kick ass back in the day hope they do it justice

  • I played it last Saturday and it felt just as fun as the original, can't wait to play it again!

  • One of my most anticipated titles for the Xbox One!

  • Good thing MS gave it to me for free. As in, I got all the characters for free.
  • I love that all this Xbox One stuff is dropping all at once. I can't wait to play this game with friends. a good fighting game at launch is nothing but win, so here's hoping the final product holds up under scrutiny.

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