STAFF REVIEW of Killer Instinct Season 3 (Xbox One)


Saturday, May 21, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Killer Instinct Season 3 Box art The time has come for a new season of Killer Instinct, and not only does it deliver a powerful message to the competition, but it single-handedly puts KI in contention for best fighting game on the market today. Since the original KI back in the days of the arcade, this game has captured my interest to the point where I can say without question that it would have been cheaper to buy an arcade unit instead of dumping a small fortune into a machine at the local bowling alley.

Killer Instinct on the Xbox One has managed to somewhat dominate the fighting arena for so long that support continues to build for this iconic franchise. Iron Galaxy went through Season 2 by adding more classical characters, but Season 3 is said to offer the best lineup yet. So does it? Enough chit chat, let's dive into Season 3 and find out just what you get for your money, and what version is right for you!

It goes without saying that Season 3 of Killer Instinct introduces four out of eight new characters right from the start. Now Kim Wu, Tusk, Rash from Battletoads, and even the Arbiter from Halo itself are added to the roster, putting the total count of characters at 22 with Mira, Gargos, General RAAM from Gears of War, and a mystery character to be named later, on the way. I was wondering what they could do to top Season 2, but with this lineup of characters, Killer Instinct just threw down the gauntlet and gave all of the other fighting games the middle finger.


It goes without saying that Season 3 of Killer Instinct introduces four out of eight new characters right from the start. Now Kim Wu, Tusk, Rash from Battletoads, and even the Arbiter from Halo itself are added to the roster, putting the total count of characters at 22 with Mira, Gargos, General RAAM from Gears of War, and a mystery character to be named later, on the way. I was wondering what they could do to top Season 2, but with this lineup of characters, Killer Instinct just threw down the gauntlet and gave all of the other fighting games the middle finger.

For veterans of Killer Instinct, having Kim Wu and Tusk will be a nice touch, but the detail and representation of the new characters Rash and the Arbiter is truly amazing. Rash still comes off as a brawler but go into Instinct Mode and BAM, you are unleashing his off-the-deep-end style of animation and movements from the original game that also includes the original sound effects. But that's not all, because when you go into Instinct Mode you can call up the speeder-bike and start wrecking your opponent. Now this level of detail also applies to the other new kid on the fighting block; the Arbiter.

Now throwing a character like Arbiter into a fighting game may seem like it's out of place, but then you realize it; you're playing as the Arbiter! The Arbiter's stage has become one of my all-time favorites as it places you in the Arena of Judgement, with an entire Halo war unfolding before your eyes in the background. To say that they set the stage of a lifetime is an understatement. Arbiter comes stocked with some pretty nice moves and tools at his disposal. Sure you have your energy sword, but you also have some sticky grenades that will replenish themselves if given time, a covenant carbine with limited ammo (that you can restock with more moves when used in a combo) and you even have a cloaking ability and energy shield! While sluggish in movement, the Arbiter can deal tremendous damage incredibly fast and should always be taken seriously. Hands down the Arbiter is my favorite new addition to Killer Instinct. Thank you Iron Galaxy.


The other big change of Season 3 comes in the more technical sides by offering things like balancing some of the game's existing characters, matchmaking improvements based on skill level, and more. This technical balancing act is all part of the next big addition which is that Killer Instinct is available on PC through Windows 10 as well. Now, you might be saying that you already own it on your Xbox One, but if you get Season 3 then all your data will transfer over to your PC for free. It's these types of innovations that keep not only a series growing, but legends forming.

And those legends are going to be formed in the upcoming Shadow Lords mode releasing later this season. The few details that we do know currently is staggering. We know that Gargos will be introduced as the boss character for this upcoming mode. It will be up to you to take out Gargos' fighters with a team that you form. Crafting new items will also be available and this comes along with KI gold and more microtransactions.

Now you may be wondering to yourself if you already have Killer Instinct Season 1 and 2, is there a need to buy Season 3? Well, we here at XBA think you do. That being said, there are some different pricing options for you to choose from.


Combo Breaker ($19.99 + tax USD) - This version gets you all four currently available new characters and all the rest of the content as it's released over the season.

Ultra Edition ($39.99 + tax USD} - This version includes all of the Combo Breaker content, but you also get early access to the fighters. Also included are a VIP Double XP Booster, 8 retro costumes, accessory sets, and a whole new bonus retro color for all eight of the Season 3 characters. And finally, you get 18,000 KI Gold (this is a limited time offer (how limited? I honestly don't know).

Supreme Edition ($59.99 + tax USD) - This is the ultimate bundle for Killer Instinct as you get all of Season 1, 2, and 3 characters so you can instantly dive in with over 25 characters at your fingertips. Also included is all the content from all three Ultra Editions which means all the costumes, accessories, 18,000 KI Gold (Limited time offer), bonus colors for the Season 3 fighters, and VIP Double XP Boost. Plus, you also get Killer Instinct 2 Classic AND Killer Instinct Classic both on Xbox One (but are not included in the Windows 10 version).

If you have been on the fence about jumping into the Killer Instinct arena, then the Supreme Edition is going to be perfect for you because it gets you right into the game at its most current version with the biggest amount of player support. If you already have Season 1 and Season 2, then you can get all the characters for only $19.99, but double that and you get more than double the content so the choice is really on how you put a value on what is added for the $39.99 price tag.

Regardless of what version you select there is one undeniable fact that Killer Instinct Season 3 has catapulted this game as a serious contender for best fighting game on the market today. We think it's a worth addition to any fighting fan's library of gamers. See you in the arena!


Suggestions:
Think of new outlets to explore with not only other games (maybe Dragon Age or Mass Effect?), but movies and other media for new potential character additions.


Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10

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