It is always difficult for a developer to make a well balanced fighting game and one that the fighting game community will wholeheartedly accept. The standards of the fanbase are quite high and you really do need to get a lot of things right as a developer to appeal to them. Things like netcode, interesting fighters, glorious moves and good balancing are the ingredients that makes the recipe great.
When Microsoft first announced that Killer Instinct was going to be rebooted for the Xbox One I was a bit skeptical and for good reasons. The vanilla game launched with a paltry amount of content and the game was expected to get a lot better as time went on. Double Helix stopped working on the game after season 1 and the new developers, Iron Galaxy, have shown that they can take the feedback and implement it to make the original game even better.
With the Season 3 launch Killer Instinct, and this may be a little hyperbolic, has become the best fighting game in the market right now. Street Fighter V had a terrible launch and lacks content but the brand name always gave it the edge over other fighting games. That may now change with Killer Instinct Season 3 as it contains a crazy amount of content and an amazing netcode to offer players a great fighting game experience.
Season 3 features improved graphics. While it’s not a radical upgrade the improvements are definitely noticeable with better graphical effects and visuals that pop out a lot more. Considering all the characters in the game have some incredible movesets, the game just looks spectacular at times. In fact I prefer this game’s visual style a lot more than other games, although, it can be overwhelming at times.
Season 3 adds four new characters to the game and four more are expected to be added via updates. The Arbiter from Halo, yeah, remember him? And Rash from Battletoads are interesting additions. Kim Wu and Tusk from Killer Instinct 2 are back and better than ever. The game will have a total of 26 characters once all the content drop for the Season is done which is an amazing amount of fighting styles to choose from.
The netcode is great and there’s hardly any lag during online play. It is actually an amazing achievement for a fighting game since we usually expect some niggles here and there. Credit to Iron Galaxy for fine tuning the netcode for optimal play. You can also play solo as there is a plethora of single player modes to choose from including Story, Arcade, Shadow Lab and another mode called Shadow Lords which is expected to drop soon.
The less said about the music the better. It is simply fantastic and just pumps you up. The actual fighting feels great thanks to the audio effects which are quite well done. Newcomers to the franchise can jump in easily with Season 3 and there are nice tutorials which will guide them well. The problem with most fighting games is that the learning curve is pretty high, but with Killer Instinct you will definitely feel in control of your character but there is a lot of scope to improve as well.
There is cross-platform play and cross-save between Xbox One and Windows 10 versions which is a great thing. There are new stages accompanying the new characters. Arena of Judgment for Arbiter, Icehaven which is the stage for Tusk and Chinatown Brawl for Kim Wu. They all have good backdrops and are fun to fight in.
Iron Galaxy have done a fantastic job with Season 3 and while we wait for more content to drop, one can’t help but feel extremely impressed by this game as it continues to deliver great content and addictive gameplay.