Killer Instinct (2013) (KI3)

ABOUTIn 1994, Killer Instinct made a memorable impact in the fighting genre, especially in the arcade scene. After the sequel (KI2) and N64 port (KI Gold) a couple years down the road, the series went "missing in action" for over 15 years. In March of 2010, rumors of a next-gen reboot started to swirl, and finally at E3 2013, Microsoft and Double Helix Games officially announced a brand new Killer Instinct for Xbox One (exclusive). Currently the title is known simply as "Killer Instinct," but fans of the series can properly dub the game Killer Instinct 3.

Killer Instinct debuted as a launch title for Xbox One in Nov. 2013. The core game is free-to-play, with Jago originally available to everyone from the start (the free character is rotated every so often).
Players can use all of the game's default modes in the free version, including Online and Training. Additional characters can be purchased individually for about $5.00 each or in various packs. The later "Season 2" content added several stages and 9 characters to the title, making the game feel much more complete.

Season 3 released in March 2016 for both Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Both platforms are connected with cross-play, and purchased content will transfer back and forth if you own both versions. Rash from Battletoads, KI's first ever guest character, alsos make his debut in Season 3 along with Kim-Wu, Tusk, Arbiter, Mira and Gargos.

Killer Instinct Season 3's new selection screen.

Visually, the new Killer Instinct presents a sharp 2.5D graphics engine with eye-catching particle effects and lighting. The "evolving" backgrounds and BGM tracks also bring some aesthetic innovation to the table. Many returning characters look considerably "different" than the way us old school KI players remember them. However, some "classic costumes" from KI1 and KI2 have thankfully made an appearance via DLC (with surely more to come in the future). Personally, I'd like to see classic costumes for all of the returning characters (along with many color options, like in previous games). 

Killer Instinct uses the familiar "6-button" layout - 3 punches and 3 kicks. Like in the prequels, the combo system will allow for some insanely long and flashy combo strings. Dubbed "around the world" combos, heavy attacks can chain into medium attacks, followed by light attacks. Afterwards, you can connect a heavy attack of the opposing type (light punch to heavy kick) and continue the cycle. Like in past installments, Special Moves can be used as combo openers, linkers, and enders.

C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!! (Sorry, I had to get that out of my system). Of course, the iconic Combo Breakers return and are easier (but fairer) to execute. Pressing the 2 buttons that correspond with a normal your opponent is using will break their combo. Combo breakers also deal significant damage, which ends up making them dangerous when characters have low health. Also, if a player fails to break a combo correctly, they will be "locked out" from combo breaking for 3 seconds... allowing the opponent to continue their damaging combo. Combo Breakers aren't the only gameplay mechanic that breaks combos. The new Knockout Value bar (underneath the health meter) fills when linkers and auto doubles are used repeatedly. When the bar is full, the player will drop their combo.

Black Orchid's new moves are just sick... and her old ones still look great!

Killer Instinct
now has a traditional 2-level super meter called the Shadow Meter. Attacking and taking damage build the meter slightly, but having your attacks blocked build the meter faster. Blocking a few normals supply 1 stock, and blocking a few specials fill the meter to max rather quickly. Once the Shadow Meter fills up, players have access to Shadow Moves (similar to EX Specials), which have enhanced properties and damage.

The "Instinct Meter" is another entirely new system introduced, and can be compared to X-Factor from Ultimate MVC3. When a player has full meter, they can enter Instinct Mode by pressing both heavy attacks. The Instinct Meter has three different effects. First, it cancels a move in progress, returning the character to a neutral state. It also gives character-specific enhancements, for example: Extra frames, more block stun, etc. Lastly, Instinct Meter reduces Knockout Meter to zero, enabling players to extend their possible hits during a combo and max out the damage.

Page Updated: June 9th, 2017
Developer(s): Double Helix, Iron Galaxy, Rare Ltd., Microsoft
Publisher(s): Microsoft
Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release Date(s): Nov. 22nd, 2013      (XB1 - Digital Release)
Sept. 23rd, 2014
      (XB1 - Retail Combo Breaker Edition)
Oct. 15th, 2014        (Season 2)
Mar. 29th, 2016       (Windows 10/XB1 - Season 3)
Characters Jago, Glacius, Sabrewulf, Thunder, Orchid, Sadira, Spinal, Fulgore, T. J. Combo, Maya, Kan-Ra, Riptor, Shadow Jago, Omen, Aganos, Hisako, Cinder, Aria, Kim-Wu, Tusk, Rash, Arbiter, Mira, Gargos, Eyedol, General Raam, Kilgore, Eagle

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Related Games: Killer Instinct, Killer Instinct 2, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Super SF4: Arcade Edition, Ultra SF4, Street Fighter 5

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First Impression:

I knew I made the right decision by not buying an Xbox One just for this game. Back in 2013, Killer Instinct launched in a very raw and incomplete state. KI3 has practically been a work-in-progress demo since launch, hence the reason I haven't reviewed it yet. 

Now with KI Season 3 finally out on PC, the game is obviously much more complete now... and I'm finally in the process of reviewing the game (very slowly I might add). I picked up a monstrous new gaming laptop back in 2015 (with hopes that a PC version of KI3 would eventually arrive), so I'm happy the new Killer Instinct hit PC. As an old school KI1/KI2 player from back in the arcade days, I'm definitely glad Killer Instinct is still around. Thanks for your patience on my Killer Instinct Season 3 review... it'll be up eventually.
~TFG Webmaster  

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