For a game that had such hype, such a loyal (albeit small) fanbase, and that seemed to be a worthwhile fighter, Killer Instinct for the Xbox One ended up more like an unbroken 50 – hit Hyper Combo to any sense of gaming. With a weak lineup and ridiculous price, until the actual final complete version of this blandtastic fighter comes out, stick to Injustice, Soul Calibur, or pretty much any other fighting game.
Xbox One, where do I begin. So, you take a franchise 2/3 of the population has almost forgotten, revamp the entire thing, and flaunt it in front of gamers. That’s fine, you’re pretty good at that. Then, make the game free to try online, with one playable character. That’s cool, it’s a great way to get into the game. But then, for the full version, you charge players for everything, and even if they pay for all “season 1 characters”, you give a grand total of 6, and don’t even offer anything to unlock? Congratulations. You can’t even match Super Smash Bros. on the N64 for number of characters, a game that had 12, because 4 of them were unlockable. Players want variety, and 6 doesn’t even come close to cutting it anymore. And yes, there will be subsequent “seasons” of characters after this one adding to the fray, but charging more money for them seems like a low-blow to your system that is already $500, and doesn’t offer much for it to be that price.
Continuing with the C-C-C-combo, the game offers absolutely no story or single player mode of any kind besides AI battling. Not even a crappy Soul Calibur V story. Nothing. Unless you’re having friends come over to play, have fun playing a game that offers any depth at all by putting Deadrising 3 or even Ryse into your Xbox One. The game is definitely a party only, 1v1 slug-fest between buddies, if you can put up with the announcer yelling random accomplishments, no matter how small, constantly over the course of a match. The lack of pretty much anything else besides 1 on 1 battles with the computer or an online competitor with the enormous character list makes Killer Instinct fall inevitably flat in fighter history.
When a fight does happen though, the battles can be entertaining. Killer Instinct includes tropes of most other fighters, but the glimmer of greatness is the simplicity of the fighting style. There are different levels of attack, and all can be chained together for a combo. This is very easy to do, and is probably the only worthwhile reason to play with friends; the combos are pretty easy to mix and match, with no stick sweep and button press combinations necessary (like in Mortal Kombat, where the person who looked up how to do the moves would overpower the other rookies). This keeps things interesting, as the tried and true “button mashing” style of play is actually a method to victory. But mashing doesn’t always prevail, as specific simultaneous presses of buttons can stop an opponent with the infamous “C-C-C-Combo Breaker!”, but only when they match the power of their moves, a tricky thing to master.
Other than this aspect, however, Killer Instinct is lacking anything else, making it’s playability after each person had tried all the characters (so about 6 matches) pretty minimal. With the necromantic power Microsoft had in reviving Killer Instinct from death, they could have been better off leaving this one in the ground, instead of reanimating the semi-finished product Rare had so handily created in the Arcade boxes of the past.
Killer Instinct for the Xbox One, you get a 6 out of 10