I fully expect my opinions to be crapped on by the KI diehards and dudes calling me an 09’er or 16’er or casual or whatever. I’ll give a little context; I rented KI when it came to the SNES and used Spinal. I did play it in the arcade once. As a little kid I sucked at fighters of course. I got back into fighters around 2004 and mainly stuck with Street Fighter. I skipped the 4 series for a lot of reasons and have been playing a lot of V. When I heard of the KI reboot I got hype but was always hoping that it would come to PC. After all these years later it finally comes to PC, I upgraded to 10 specifically to play KI, and… I’m a little underwhelmed.
Presentation-wise it’s fantastic. Tutorial is amazing. All the little touches are fantastic. Netcode is very good but I have had it happen on occasion where it drops an input at a critical moment. But the problem I have is with the gameplay.
I feel like the game rewards YOLO play style too much and Combo Breaking is too much of a Rock Paper Scissors style of gameplay.
The Combo Breaking system is sometimes compared to Street Fighter 3 3rd Strike’s Parry system and I would say there’s only a surface similarity between the two. In that, someone who’s good at it can dramatically change the flow of the match. But in 3rd Strike, the Parry is easy to understand. You hit forward or down to Parry a standing or low attack. You can also Red Parry if you’re blocking and you have the timing to interrupt a blockstring. It becomes intuitive because everyone knows what an attack looks like in a fighting game.
Now compare that to Combo Breakers where you can only break auto-doubles or manuals with a Breaker of the same strength. This is when it gets complex because every single character -aside from season 1 characters- auto’s look entirely different. Some characters like Aganos have slower looking auto’s that are in fact Light or even Medium auto’s. And there’s a Punch and Kick version of every Auto.
I’ve tried carefully looking at the Auto, I’ve tried listening for the specific hit sounds, and I’ve tried looking at the way my character is being hit. And I cannot tell the difference between the various Auto’s aside from Lights that pretty much all look alike. The only solution to this, I feel, is to train with every single character and memorize what every single Auto looks like. That isn’t exactly friendly to newcomers, just saying.
This leads to the 2nd problem I have with the game, that the YOLO play style is heavily rewarded in a game like this. I’ve rarely fought anyone who blocks on wakeup. Almost every single person wakes up with a special or a wakeup Jab. I’ve fought dudes who have refused to block, who have refused to tech throws, who refuse to stop jumping in and etcetera. But yet these dudes know their auto doubles and enders and all that. I’ve fought dudes who literally just look for that one move that lets them in and get their combos going. Moves that can be difficult to read or block on reaction. Now, that’s just how fighting games are designed, I’m not complaining about this. But, a lot of these moves are safe unless you have meter to punish, plus it’s a little ridiculous that a guy can just throw out Jago’s Tatsuo from almost fullscreen, catches me, and gets to do his combo. That could be it for me just from one guess and what if my characters sucks at punishing that move?
That all said, here’s my suggestions:
Auto doubles and Manuals should emit a specific aura. Like say, if you do a Light Double, you emit a blue aura. Medium double is Yellow. Hard double is green.
This would make it unquestionably easier for anyone to know when to combo break and the player on the attack could still mix it up to an extent. This would encourage players to learn manuals and try to mix it up more.
Make any move that lets a character in do only Light auto kind of damage. Again, this forces people to mix it up and stop being (in the words of Geese Howard) Predictabo!
Also, change how Ultra Combos work at the end of the match. It definitely does not encourage a newbie to continue playing when a guy wins, does his long ultra combo where he’s allowed to cancel repeatedly, and then he has plenty of time to teabag you. Iaintevenmad. I’m used to disrespect in fighting games. But does the combo really need to be that long? Why not make it like the Marvel series where you win, and you can do a dead body combo, but you only have so much time and the match will end regardless of how far you’re into your dead body combo.
I expect dudes to yell at me and tell me I’m wrong but this is my opinion regarding KI.