E3 2013: Killer Instinct Is a Fun Free to Play Xbox One Launch Game
Killer Instinct was always sort of dumb -- the goofy Mortal Kombat knock-off with a skeleton, a dinosaur, and dudes named TJ Combo (ugh) and Fulgore (what?). In hindsight, Killer Instinct was kind of embarrassing. But we still connected to it. Who doesn’t want to see a ninja fist-fight a werewolf?
Killer Instinct on Xbox One is still really, really stupid. It’s also pretty awesome.
More Street Fighter IV than traditional Killer Instinct in speed and style, this reboot isn’t just looking at how it can bring Rare’s classic back to life, but how it can reinvigorate it. The 2D fighter has changed significantly since 1994, and developer Double Helix recognizes it.
Killer Instinct is fast on Xbox One, unrecognizably so. Aside from the presence of Sabrewulf (ugh) and Jago (what?), you might mistake this for an entirely new game. The bright colors, and thick, black outlines give the characters, who take up a healthy amount of on-screen real estate, a comic book-style shade. Their combos are quick and flow naturally -- I found myself slipping into an awesome combo accidentally, Marvel vs. Capcom style, often.
The move sets are simple, the stylish and devastating Ultra Combos are easy to execute, and the Combo Breaker makes you feel like a badass. It’s basically just a parry with a fancy name, but Killer Instinct regards it so highly that it’s hard not to feel the surge of satisfaction every time you escape an onslaught of frightening kicks. Every big counter feels like an event, and it can totally change the flow of a fight when your opponent's left exposed after your escape.
Familiar, yes, but this is definitely Killer Instinct done differently (and arguably better).
Killer Instinct is a day-one digital-only release on Xbox One, and features -- get this -- one character. Jago is free to play on launch day. Everyone else -- unspecified returning characters as well as original fighters -- will cost money. Price is to-be-determined (of course).
Is this the start of a new trend? With Xbox Live Arcade vanishing into the greater Games Marketplace, perhaps free-to-play is the new trial version, and you'll nickel and dime your way to a more complete version. Hopefully trials of some sort will still mandated so players can try out everything as it hits Xbox Live.
IGN will have more on Killer Instinct leading up to its November release.