Killer Instinctby Brent Roberts
June 24, 2013
In the ring of the fighting game genre there are many strong fighters out there that have dominated the competition for decades. Gamers frantically on a quest to become the best in the world in a gaming genre that relies more on tactics and strategy than tons of ammunition and explosives, practiced for weeks upon months perfecting their fighting skills. We have had our Hadokens and our "Get over here" moments, but quietly in the shadows one of the greatest phrases in fighting game history has finally made a comeback.
When you heard this phrase you were either rejoicing with an 80+ hit combination or you were hearing the jeers of others and forced to take the walk of shame while your character got mercilessly pummeled for what seemed like eternity. Since the days of Nintendo 64, Killer Instinct fans around the world have patiently waited to see their favorite fighters come back to life, and for the longest time it became a running joke throughout the gamming community. Teasers of a new Killer Instinct game were released, and yet the voices of gamers were not heard for over a decade, until now.
Before the Microsoft Press Conference we were told that this year was going to be all about the games, but none of us were prepared for the tidal wave that was about to hit. During the conference Microsoft slyly delivered what would be considered by many fighting game fans, to be an answer to a decade old prayer. When the screen flashed Killer Instinct the crowd erupted and I personally started to severely lose my voice due to the cheering. The classic arcade music was obviously remixed and remastered but retained the hard, heavy metal rock feel that we all know and love. Then finally, after being patient for so many years, we finally saw our fighters on stage. Jago, Saberwulf, Glacius all showcased just what good can happen to those who wait. After the deafening teaser we were treated to the return of the game after a while in the conference, and the crowd erupted yet again. This battle showcased a lot more than just the visual eye candy remake. We got to see how certain moves were powered differently now and how fluid all the animation became. We couldn't wait to get our hands on this game and the new Killer Instinct Arcade Stick as well; thankfully that prayer got answered very quickly.
That evening at a Microsoft showcase event, we were treated to some of the best and brightest that Microsoft had to offer. Multiple Xbox One stations featuring multiple games were scattered throughout the room and outside as well however, there was one game that consistently had a massive audience and that was Killer Instinct. We stood in line for our chance to sit down on the couch and go hands on with both the new fight stick and Killer Instinct itself. After choosing Saberwulf (bring it on you Jago fans), I proceeded to battle my heart out and lost my first match trying to recall decades old information while at the same time trying to figure out how they have adapted the play control for the Xbox One. I waited back in line till I got a my 2nd chance and that's when it dawned on me, I had forgotten my combo breaker. Once that missing piece of the puzzle fell in place, the game was on. This time picking a white Saberwulf I proceeded to utterly decimate my opponent by breaking his combos which in turn, caused my special meter at the bottom to fill which enabled me to counter with stronger, faster, and more brutal attacks. I have to admit I didn't get a chance to pull off any Ultra Combos; however I do not doubt for one instance that when it happens it will be a fighting game spectacle that will be remembered for all time.
While having our prayers answered by getting to see something official for Killer Instinct was beyond description, getting to play it was a sensation unlike any other. Thankfully Microsoft also included Killer Instinct in their E3 booth along with the new Killer Instinct arcade fight stick. We don't have to tell you where some of the biggest line ups were. We took this opportunity to focus more on the fight stick than the game and we were happily surprised at the responsiveness of the controls and buttons. There is a lot of debate on the controller vs. fight stick issue but when you have a fight stick that provides smooth and seamless motion and input, anyone who uses a controller will be at a disadvantage.
Killer Instinct has always been a fan favorite around the world. All last week we had the pleasure to experience it first hand and what stood out for us the most was the amazing level of execution that went into this game. It's because of all this hard work that one of, if not the, top contender for best fighting game won't set the bar, or exceed it. Instead it will take the bar and beat you with an almost fanatical sense of aggression over 80 times, throw your body off the side, and laugh at you on your way down. Get ready for ground to shake and the heavens open up because Killer Instinct only releases on Xbox One and it steps into the ring THIS November!