games / Previews

Killer Instinct (Xbox One) Preview

August 2, 2013 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

Microsoft finally announced the long-awaited new entry in the Killer Instinct franchise at E3 this year. Unfortunately we weren’t able to play the game at that time, but come San Diego Comic-Con 2013, we finally got the chance to pick up and play it. It’s hard to believe the first one first graced the arcades in 1994, and it took almost twenty years to get a new follow-up. The Xbox One demo of the game was available to play at Microsoft’s Xbox Media Showcase during Comic-Con International. So here’s how it stacked up.

The demo featured Jago, Glacius, and Sabrewulf as playable characters. All the characters had new souped-up redesigns for the game. The characters and level designs are reminiscent of the original. To be honest though, I’m not too crazy about Glacius’ redesign as it’s quite a dramatic departure from his original design which I found to be really cool and badass. I don’t dislike Glacius’ new, jagged, more alien-like redesign, but I also wouldn’t mind a skin that’s more reminiscent of his original character model as well. The demo featured a mock-up arcade style joystick made by Mad Catz, which of course is much preferable for a 2D arcade-style fighting game. I was told by the developers that this Mad Catz joystick was not what the final version would be but was a prototype made to use for the show. Mad Catz is making one for the game.

So the action and combat for the demo was fast and very fluid. The joystick controls worked great and were very responsive. Building combos is pretty easy to work and get started with. Of course the Combo Breaker system is back but has been modified for this game. In order to break your opponent’s combo, you have to push the joystick and push two attack buttons matching the level of attack from your opponent (light, medium, heavy). If you are able to match it, you can break the combo in impressive fashion. Guess wrong, and you’re a few steps closer to annihilation. Besides the modified combo breaker system, you can also power-up your special moves with Shadow Linkers. Each character will have a Shadow Meter they can use to give your special moves extra damage. Pulling these off are a lot of fun and look really cool.

Noticeably absent from the demo and the game thus far are the No Mercy finishing moves. Considering the No Mercy’s were one of my favorite aspects of the original Killer Instinct, I was a little disappointed they were not here. Speaking with the developers, I was given the impression that the No Mercy’s could still make it in the game, so hopefully that will change.

The new Killer Instinct will be released later in November and is exclusive as a digital download on the Xbox One.

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Jeffrey Harris
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