I wanted to do an in-depth post about how I’ve felt about season 3 thus far, it was supposed to be in another thread but it wound up being so much text that I decided to make it a topic of its own so I can voice my opinions in the feedback forums.
#To begin I want to cover the general changes and big things that have bothered me in season 3, things that really killed my hype for it and made this season drag on instead of inspiring excitement and passion for the game, well for me. My first point being:
The “only 3 stages” announcement: This right here took the wind out of my sails in an instant, to me stages have always been a huge part of what made KI characters unique. Seeing their stage, hearing the music tracks that were tailor made for them, seeing the custom artwork when the backgrounds go into overdrive during an ultra combo… Damn that is what made a character release. Hearing that there weren’t going to be any more stages after the initial lot was heartbreaking, it made me feel like season 3 was half-assed and incomplete. A major misstep in the direction for this game, one that I still hope will be rectified in the future.
Now I know what you’re thinking we have plenty of stages and that not all games have stages for their fighters! You’re right, its kind of been a unique KI thing to have a stage for each character and in most games you don’t need to have a stage with each release but you have to realize that those games have disembodied stages that don’t belong to anyone so its okay, in KI we’ve grown to love our stages and randomly gutting them out was devastating to some of us. I mean one of the biggest requested DLC features from the community has been remastered retro stages from KI 1 & 2, we’ve expressed interest in secret stages, rooftop stages, sky stages, KI fans LOVE stages. Where in the world did any part of that imply that we’d be cool with getting less of what we want?
The seemingly random lighting overhaul Personally I thought the game looked beautiful as it was, yeah the new lighting that they painstakingly reworked by hand looks fantastic but I don’t think it was needed, especially at the cost of things like character stages or other community requested features. Its a welcome addition but really not something that was that important, sure some stages lighting was bad like Fulgore’s that kept being changed or broken like Sabrewulfs but those could have been fixed without a complete overhaul.
No ultimate combos: I know that Double Helix were the ones that started this ball of crap rolling down hill by teasing Shago’s ulitmate at the end of season 1 and that Iron Galaxy is in no way obligated to live up to the expectations set by Shadow Jago’s ultimate inclusion but I’ll be damned if it wouldn’t have been nice, right? We were teased with ultimates and told " maybe next season" but it never happened, in season 2 we were again told better luck next time and now in season 3 we still don’t have ultimates and have been given the runaround by the staff using tricky wording to avoid having to admit it’ll never happen. At this point any excitement for ultimates is pretty much flat out dead, despite them being the number one most requested feature in Killer Instinct since the beginning. Disappointment doesn’t even being to cover this situation.
We will more than likely not be getting a ninth “bonus” character: I know this one isn’t really a huge deal but it was another letdown for me in season 3, I like things to be consistent and so far each season up until now has had 9 characters, its fun to have a bonus, it keeps the roster looking nice and even and it gives us more original content. We were basically told there was to be another community fund and in said interview it was suggested that we could fund another character and as an example we were given Shadow Orchid or Maya, clearly the thought of a ninth character was on the table but for whatever reason it petered out and never happened. This might not be a huge deal but it killed again my hype for season 3.
Other requested features that are seemingly in limbo: I could go on for hours about this stuff but where are character specific dojo lessons, where are the alternate taunts, where are the dozens of UI changes, the toggles, options like character zoom coming back to the dress up menu? There are to many things to list and I understand that there is a lot to do to bring a season of KI to the dinner table but some of these are long standing requests that still aren’t in the game.
#Now I want to go on and list my thoughts on the characters of this season and what I did and didn’t like.
Kim Wu: Never been a fan of the character, I thought she was of the most generic designs in any KI game. Her new design is equally bland, it didn’t really enhance her at all to me, she’s just a generic Kung-fu chick and I’m not impressed. That being said a lot of people really did and still do like her, so she’s okay in my opinion. It’s a fighting game, you’re not supposed to like every character.
I don’t have a lot of experience with her play style because of what I just said above but from what I’ve seen she plays pretty well, I don’t have anything against her moveset or fighting style. Though the way her dragons just orbit her body in a static manner looks gross, they should have their own physics like Spinal’s skulls and linger for a second when you move like the “guardians” in Shadow Lords do.
Tusk: I was also never a big fan of Tusk either, though I thought the Conan the Barbarian trope was cooler than Kim’s. That being said I think Tusk’s face looks like butt, especially his little Chiclet teeth. Kim’s face looked weird but eventually I got over it but Tusk looks pretty bad. His overall design is cool I guess, the modern Scottish looking Barbarian dude thing works for him, its not something I like but hey it could be worse.
His playstyle is pretty neat, its not my cup of tea but they really made him feel like a barbarian with that big ol’ sword he swings around. Again like Kim I’m not that well versed in Tusk tech because I’m not a fan of the character but from what I have played he was decent, I have a bit of trouble understanding him at times but he’s not a bad character in that regard.
Rash: I love Rash, he’s almost like the Dan of KI in the sense that he’s a complete joker and still viable. He looks pretty good aside from those long-■■■ bottom row of teeth that look like piano keys. For the most part they got him down as close as they could to his old design from Battletoads, well aside from the fact he didn’t have a belt in the old games. On the subject of his accessories, it was a complete disappointment that he didn’t have swappable belts/gloves/armbands so we could make outfits for Zitz and Pimple, real missed opportunity there. Oh and his retro is just plain lazy in my opinion, its literally just a different set of player colors on the exact same model with some different accessories… I mean come on, if you have to charge us for an alternate costume it could have been changed at least somewhat. Maybe make the default costume’s face less goofy and more gritty and keep the retro looking like classic cartoon Rash, as it is I’ve got to say its one of the most lackluster retros in the game in terms of effort put forth.
His gameplay is really spot on, the crazy rushdown thing with all his weird limb transformations works so well, he’s got more personality in his featureless groin than most of the rest of season 3 combined. Everything from his taunt to the way he can eat projectiles like you eat flies in Battletoads is perfect, overall an amazingly well designed fighter.
Arbiter: For this design they couldn’t have gotten it much better and that’s because they literally were handed assets from Halo so there was no way they could mess it up. Everything from his accessories to his retro are straight ports of Halo content. On the subject of his accessories its pretty lame that they cover his entire body so the colors are rendered useless underneath them. Oh and the eyes on his retro don’t blink, probably just a side effect of porting over a model that didn’t feature such animation from Halo. Other than that though, visually the Arbiter is perfect.
His gameplay is solid but its not my style, it feels a little stiff if that makes sense. Combat is a little technical and I feel that the grenades and carbine were kind of shoehorned in there, I thought he would be more of a brawler using his sword and cloaking skill instead of all these Halo gimmicks. Overall though he’s pretty good but like many of the characters in season 3 he doesn’t really speak to me but I can see he’s a good character with the way others play him.
Mira: Overall I love Mira’s design, she’s awesome and reminds me of Serana from Skyrim’s DLC expansion Dawnguard. She’s a sexy vampire girl with an attitude that uses “blood” for her attacks that is for some reason black and P2 in mirror matches has nasty yellow mustard bats. The only real disappointment I have with her character design is that it’s not male, don’t get me wrong she looks FANTASTIC and I love her as a character but I and a lot of others had hoped for the KI2 unused vampire to make a showing, the Lestat looking prim and proper Victorian vampire.
Her gameplay is pretty cool, mixing in a lot of different sources and themes, I love HOW she plays but I hate playing as her. Can you guess why? Because I’m not a KI pro and the colossal amount of health management you have to do to play her is a major turn off. I love the theme, the reason why it hurts you but it hurts you way to much. I’d rather see her damage and self-hurt nerfed so she’s fun to play than wind up doing more damage to yourself than your enemies do. This ruins her for me and its a shame too because I actually requested Jack of Blades to be in KI and Mira has a JoB costume…
Gargos: I love Gargos, he’s one of my favorite characters in KI, or he always used to be. The new Gargos is pretty ugly and I don’t mean in terms of his beauty, I know he’s meant to be a monster. I’m talking about his horrible looking face, the weird no-nosed monkey face is the goofiest thing I’ve ever seen in this game, it looks like it should be a retro costume accessory on Sabrewulf its so bad. The face alone kills the visual rating on Gargos for me, he’s terrible looking. Otherwise he looks good, the body and wings are magnificent, the overall physique is great. The two-toed slot feet are kinda weird but the worst part is the face, by far. Thankfully his retro costume is nearly perfect, the face is a little Jack Nicholson-y but the rest is awesome, even the feet look perfect.
Gargos’ gameplay was kinda hard for me to get my head around, its very clunky but after you master it he’s a demon, literally he’ll suck your soul dry. I love how he plays, the minions thing really sets him apart as a “boss” character and the stone flesh instinct mode fits his Gargoyle theme (Even though the devs say he’s not a gargoyle ), hell the no blocking thing was one of the suggestions I had for Eyedol so that’s a plus. Though I was kinda of pissed that they nerfed Glacius’ ranged game so it was more in line with Gargos’ portal punches, there’s no reason Gargos HAD to be on par with the best “zoner” in the game on all levels, needless nefing there. In the end Gargos truly is an awesome boss with some awesome moves and I just wish his look fit his personality better.
General RAAM: What can I say about General RAAM? He looks like a gears character, his accessories look to be ripped right from GoW just as Arbiter’s were from Halo so there’s not much to say on that front. He looks like what he’s supposed to because that’s what he is… I guess. Though the textures on his retro look like they were copied directly from the old janky JPEG looking versions off the Xbox 360, that’s pretty gross looking. My only beef with his looks are that they don’t really fit with KI as much as the other guests do, in Gears all of the characters are on steroids and look very strange, having a beefcake like RAAM in KI just looks out of place and its very obvious he was shoehorned in by Microsoft to promote Gears 4, can’t really blame IG for that.
His gameplay… its not bad but the sour taste his model leaves in my mouth makes it hard to enjoy him. He’s just not my style, he’s grabby and stabby, not really much to get excited about. His “Krill” bugs are an awesome idea in instinct but I think that could have been much better utilized on a character like Mira with her bats, or the unused KI2 vampire. Wasted potential putting that on a guest that’s kind of a throwaway character like RAAM.
Eyedol: I can’t really say much about Eyedol just yet other than he has single handedly saved season 3 for me, he was always one of my favorite video game bosses and now he’s back. Initially I was kind of shocked by his new look, he’s not two headed really and he’s not a cyclops, he’s a guy with a split in half head… That being said the new design has grown on me, its a very thoughtful way of taking the old theme and making it new. Granted it looks nothing like Eyedol but it still feels like it could be him, the big belly, short and wide stature all go well together despite not looking like Eyedol. The pulsating flesh on his head, all of it looks great and most of the visual themes were actually suggested by the community so there’s another plus right there. His retro looks great so far, I love how they managed to capture the old feel of original, though the little electric lines between the heads need to go away on the retro…
His gameplay I can’t speak much on yet as he’s not out but it looks promising, I like the idea of the stances switching on their own because it means you have to learn both styles and can’t rely on either of them to heavily to master the character. Again most of the themes you see were suggested by us so the character is really looking like a love letter from the devs to the community, telling us that they truly do listen.