Where do I begin?
I haven’t done a rant on anything in a while so I may be rusty at this. I have been so disappointed, not mad, disappointed in everything that we have learned about Killer Instinct ever since it’s reveal. I never thought we would get a new Killer Instinct considering the copyright issues, the state of Rare right now and the lukewarm reception the franchise has had as the years have gone by. Seriously, Killer Instinct has been lumped in with titles like World Heroes and Eternal Champions as fighters not worth a second glance (although they do IMO). So when I saw the reveal of Killer Instinct at Microsoft’s E3 2013 Media Briefing, not only was I excited but it became the reason why I wanted an Xbox One. Ryse? Dead Island 3? Project Spark? No, no, no. It was all about Killer Instinct. Oh, how much can change in just a short 10 weeks.
Since the initial reveal, we’ve learned that Killer Instinct is going to be a free-to-play game that only gives you one character, a training mode and an online mode. What’s more is there will be only six characters in total, each of which will cost $5 each or $20 if you get them all at once. Two more will be added later which you will get for free if you pay the $20 but that’s still only eight characters. Finally, there will be a version you can buy for $40 that will give you costumes and an emulated version of the first Killer Instinct for arcades. Oh and that’s to say nothing about the gameplay that looks like a rip off of Street Fighter with just an emphasis on combos.
Okay, first off: Microsoft, you cannot charge $20 for an emulated version of Killer Instinct 1. It’s not worth that much, let alone without any online play or HD visuals or any of the upgrades we expect from a re-release nowadays. You could maybe get away with that if you also included Killer Instinct 2. Secondly, ONLY SIX CHARACTERS AT LAUNCH!? The first Killer Instinct had 10 characters and that was in 1994! Between the two Killer Instinct games, there’s a total of 15 characters you could have used. Thirdly, why is there only a training mode and online play? What about local multiplayer? Fighting games still do that. I know local multiplayer in shooters are going the way of the Dodo but local multiplayer in fighting games is alive and well! And no story mode until later? Why are you selling us an incomplete game!?
Real quick, I want to address a couple meaningless things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of this but I have these complaints nonetheless as well as one minor complement I will give developer Double Helix. One, I haven’t seen any No Mercies, only Ultra combos. WTF? Two, why do all the characters look all weird? Jago’s abs look like multiple cysts waiting to explode, Glacius looks like a blue Alien reject, Sabrewulf looks like a dog with rabies, and Thunder has on way too much war paint. It’s like he applied it with a paint roller. Finally, my one complement. I don’t know anything about her yet but the design for Sadira is badass. Nicely done.
Alright, finally, the one thing that truly matters: Gameplay. Now, obviously, I haven’t played the game but from what I can tell from the gameplay I’ve seen, it’s taken a lot of cues from Street Fighter IV. The style of it’s art design is the same, it has the same 2.5D graphical design, and even it’s victory screen looks similar to Street Fighter IV. What it doesn’t have in common are the fluid animations. Killer Instinct characters seem to just pop into an animation without any kind of flow just to achieve the combo it wants to. So you can get that 100+ hit combo and look like a bad ass. However, we know from Marvel vs Capcom 3 that style will not win over substance and especially won’t if you don’t have all these features to distract you.
I really hate what Microsoft has done with this newest Killer Instinct game and what was before my reason to get an Xbox One has now become why I won’t get an Xbox One. I’ve been weary of Microsoft ever since the Xbox Live Arcade offerings, once my reason to own an Xbox 360, became subpar due in part to their strained relationship with independent developers. This only reaffirms my nervousness. At this point, I would’ve settled for an HD remake of the first game.