Review: What Score Would You Give Killer Instinct?

the new KI is groundbreaking, just like the old ones. In different fields.

The new KI has set the basis for what to expect in terms of netcode.
The new KI has successfully implemented the concept of seasonal delivery for fighting games
The new KI has shown how a game should really be balanced in terms of serious competitive gaming, no joke, under or OP characters. KI has raised the bar in that aspect.

MK and SF have taken notes from KI in several aspects (V-trigger, netcode, seasonal approach, and more)

And all this, being a seasonal console exclusive free to play game.

Unfortunately since I am a casual player I do not take advantage of the more solid features of the game, like balance, and good netcode, and suffer from the shortcomings of a low budget. Single player content is not enough to have me entertained, shadow mode is not at all appealing to me, I do not play lobbies and have to endure a grind to unlock system for colors and accesories. That and a tortuous development cycle that hurt the continuity of the game in terms of content (no ultimates) art style (character designs) and playability (more complex characters)

For that my score is 7.5/10, but I can understand why KI is a 9/10 for many people.


7.5 TO an 8 is a solid score, coming from people who grew up with KI.

Probably one of the more realistic scores that KI would receive. I think your points are more inline with what reviewers would look into. The seasonal approach is not something a lot of non fighting game players would overlook.

For context, metacritic has Season 1 at 73 and Season 2 at 85. Not a ton of re-reviews for S2 so take it with a grain of salt. But I don’t think reviewers in this day and age are going to object to a seasonal model on principle.

But that’s exactly what SFV what picked on. That it’s a game right now only for hardcore players not the casuals. If KI doesn’t launch with a story mode on day one you can bet that’s something reviewers may pick at. It probably won’t come with it too seeing as how the other stories only released when all the characters did.

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Score points

+combo assists is genius
+Dojo mode will teach you well
+ranking system is fair and top 32 is fun
+great use of shadow AI
+awsome graphics and design
+competertive and fun
+the best netcode ever made
+hugely balanced cast
+characters are fairly balanced
+beautiful stages
+the combo system is in depth and great for new comers

-where is dojo for everyone?
-still a few features lacking from the oringlas
-story mode could be better
-some graphics are rough around the edges
-season buys can be expensive & hard to understand


Killer isntinct is one of them indi gems turned main stream. With one of the best casts ever featured in a fighting game it gives MK and SF a run for their money.

With a low entry skill point and a sky high mastery level, killer instinct has the kind of game play to keep people coming back year after year.

The game is solid and does what it says on the tin exceptionally well. You will find almost 0 lag online and the game runs at a beautiful 60fps at 900p it’s reliability is formidable.

The only things that hold Killer Instinct back is its budget and the fact that its an Xbox One exclusivity. Thankfully this is set to change on match 29th when the PC addition hits windows 10 stores along with season 3 and new and improved graphics

These hold backs can be felt in the visuals. Although killer instincts character design is exceptionally strong it can be letdown but a background hole or empty space here and there. Some hair physics and texture work is messy and could do with a little help.

Although freeze frame Killer Instinct might not looks like the most beautiful game ever made it’s a different story in motion. The game is slick fast and wowing with never an awe inspiring moment per round. You will never find a match full of just footsies and blocking, killer instinct is agressive dude to its breaker and counter system and this is where the game looks fantastic.

#Over view

Killer Instinct is a jewel in Microsoft crown, a rough one maybe but one that with more and more polish will become a diamond and diamonds last forever.

With all the competition from huge games like MKX and other Japanese developers this game should have died off yeas ago but the combo system is rediculously addictive allowing Killer instinct to live breath and grown on a hardcore shooter console.

Microsoft has demonstrated that it can support and work with third party developers to bring the most hardcore of experences to more than one or two genres.

Now it has its own fighter… the gloves have clearly come off.



Season 1 I would rank 8/10. Season 1 added some new things and it still felt like KI such as counter breaker, easy combo breakers,.

Season 2 would be 6/10 for me. I do really like the new characters IG came up with but Season 2 added to many air juggles, sluggish characters, and it didn’t feel like KI anymore. I am glad IG nailed Riptor at least as I was never a Cinder or Combo fan, but this Season could have been better if all they did was add characters and stages and didn’t have air counter breakers and stuck more to the essence of KI, I did have my doubts about releasing 1 character per month with constant nerfs and bugs. If I had a chorus how Season 2 would be released, I would have rather it started in early 2015 with 4-6 characters and releasing the remaining cast up until the summer of 2015 than start with 2 characters and releasing 1 per month.

I don’t know about Season 3 but I am glad that it is being released now with 4 characters and going to release a character every other month giving the devs TIME to get each character right. Am disappointed in the fact we only got 3 stages but I’m hoping it’s going to be overcompensating for another area of the game.

I’m not going to give a score to the game, but here are the points I would touch on if I was reviewing this game. Some points will be directed at hardcore players, others will be directed more at the normal gamer.

I’m expanding a bit on the negative points just for team feedback (if they are reading this thread), since the positives kind of speak for themselves. So the negative section might be longer than the positive section for that reason, even though I (obviously) like the game.

+Fantastic core set of characters, all of them very different. The game feels just as dense (if not more) at 18 characters than SFIV at 40 characters. Most characters try something new that hasn’t been tried in another fighting game.

+Game brings out a lot of energy and emotion, you can never stop thinking during a fight

+Combo breaker system is wholly unique and brings interesting mind games you don’t find in other games, but the base system feels very “Street Fighter-y”, which gives you a great mix of new and familiar

+Ongoing developer support that interacts with their players regularly means the game is more in touch with player sensibilities more quickly (on average)

+Despite characters being strong and varied, the game’s balance is great

+Great spectator game because of its high energy and penchant for “scrambles” and high intensity moments

+Stages and music are the best in any fighting game on the market

+Netcode is best in class, making online a legitimate way to train

+Game does a respectable job teaching newcomers how to play with the Dojo and Combo Assist modes

+Shadows mode does a much better job replicating human behavior by fighting game AI than any other game, even though the AI itself has flaws at times

-Character aesthetics feel uneven; some characters look and animate superbly, while others have some jankiness to them that feels unnecessary

-Long loading times and downtime between fights (unskippable post-fight cutscenes, which have gotten longer in S2) can frustrate. Character select loading is particularly bad.

-Shadow Jago, a tournament-legal character in the game, is not purchasable any time, he can only be bought during special promotions, and at an inflated cost to the other characters. It’s an artifact of how the game was made over its first two years of development, but it is inexcusable in 2016.

-Many of the game’s modes feel like they have missed their potential. Shadows mode, for example, is a very smart approach to fighting game AI and it works well, but it is not realized well in the game. The game lets you save only two shadow characters, and you cannot play shadow AI from other players with any character in the game. This means one of the main reasons players might want to try the mode out (practicing with a new character they aren’t confident to go online with yet) is impossible without deleting an existing shadow and spending the 10-15 minutes required to set up a new one. None of the game’s single player story modes take advantage of the unique potential Shadows mode would bring, and there is missed opportunity to use Shadows as a teaching tool (“anti-airs are important to learn, so to teach you this, fight this jump-happy shadow opponent!”). This missed potential extends to other areas of the game, such as their replay system (which is well implemented but no opportunity to share replays with other users).

-Huge missed opportunity for DLC costumes, colors, and announcers. The game seems custom-built to handle a steady stream of aesthetics, but strangely little has ever been released. The series as a whole has always taken particular pride in their announcers as being a large part of the fight, but only one DLC announcer has ever been released over 2+ years; I can’t imagine the revenue stream wouldn’t exist for “famous” fighting game announcers such as 3rd Strike or Alpha, famous voices from other games (Halo’s announcer, Bastion’s narrator, etc), or any number of other things. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that KI, at times, feels constrained by its budget, and part of the revenue from this super low-hanging fruit could help make the game better.

-The game’s unlock system requires way too much grinding, so colors and accessories tend to remain locked for dozens of hours

Obviously the game comes highly recommended from me, because the pros far outweigh the cons. The core fighting game aspect of KI is exceptional, and that’s really why we play these games. But if there is a complaint to levy against the game (aside from a few scattered animations and models being a little weird), it’s that it feels like sometimes KI is its own roadblock from people enjoying its features. It would be nice to see KI ditch its seemingly artificial restrictions (stuff hidden behind unlocks, unable to play shadows mode with a random character, Shadow Jago not buyable regularly, etc) and embrace its high potential for aesthetic DLC.


But SFV doesn’t have a seasonal model - hence the problem. They sell you a full game, day one, with a full game price and launch with less content than KI Season 1.

And it may be that reviewers would complain if this was the first season of KI (that was the #1 review complaint for S1 - “This game is great but there’s not enough of it.”). But for launching the third season, with 26 characters and a ton of content… They aren’t going to hold the season model against it.

Would have been a 9 or 10 if it was more consistent…

It doesn’t look very good for anyone, that there’s such a huge difference in the story modes from season 1 to season 2.

The fact that we have 2 characters that doesn’t have the same amount of costumes as the others, doesn’t help either… bonus characters or not… they stick out,

And then there the trouble of how confused people still are around the way it’s sold… free… or buy characters individually is still what a lot of people think… I actually think a “Complete Edition” would benefit the sales, because then people expect that they get it all… for obvious reasons :slight_smile:

There is no denying that KI is nothing short of amazing though.

The mechanics are easy to learn, and it’s generally a VERY easy fighting game to get decent at… and still, it has A LOT of debt, because it’s all about mindgames on the higher levels…

The roster is STUPIDLY balanced, and we never see all characters being used it the top of tournaments

The diversity on the roster is also incredible (especially if you come from SF with 15 almost identical shotos)… not only in play style, but also design and personality.

Then there’s the fact that EVERY character plays very different, depending on what character you play against. This and the diversity helps the game feel fresh ALWAYS.

The nice amount of stages and awesome music (although this seems to go a little bit down for season 3)

The dojo is incredible (and hopefully in season 3 even better), and teaches not only KI, but fighting game terms and mechanics in general

Then of course there’s the netcode, which is very likely the best in ANY game

Yeah… think that’s my verdict.

8 for being the perfect game, with unfortunate inconsistencies

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Infilament is, by far, one of the most wise and helpful members of this community. It’s a luxury to have him with us. The review is spot on.

Thank you. Now the people vocing those concerns will stop being called nostalgics or nitpickers. The man himself agrees with them. Anybody dare to call Infil a “nostalgic” or “troll”?

It’s easy enough to do. @Infilament is a nitpicking and nostalgic troll. :smiling_imp:

In all seriousness, I rarely comment on aesthetic complaint threads simply because (1) they annoy me, and (2) a lot of the time, I just flat out disagree with the critiques. For myself, Maya is the only character whose animations seem janky, and to be honest I think that’s primarily just because the normals they chose to comprise her autodoubles are super awkward.

I actually like the way Omen looks, and think the effects on him are pretty sick. The recycled animations don’t remotely bother me - and even if he wasn’t a bonus character I suspect I’d be ok with them. Since he is, and no one was expecting him in the first place, I’m more than happy with the way he turned out. I like TJ’s animations, and actually liked him more when he had normal-sized arms. I like Cinder’s new design far more than the old one, and find the retro just as boring and uninspired as it was in the original KI.

Aesthetics are aesthetics - people like and respond to different things. I won’t insult all of you with different aesthetic opinions and preferences by calling you trolls or nostalgia warriors, but you can’t just just hand-wave away the fact that others disagree with you either. Much as I love him, “Infil agrees with me” is not a de facto argument-winning statement.

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If we compare his objectivity through various topics, to the one of some other forum members, it totally is.

We’ve probably derailed this thread enough, but I’ll just point out that being objective is not the same as being correct. Being objective (or having the approval of someone deemed so) doesn’t automatically win you an argument - reasonable people can and do disagree about things.

Criticising some of the bad S2 animations is both ojective and correct. In your case, you could say, “I like them even if they are bad”, which would be as correct and legit.

Bad animations are like junk food, you can enjoy it, accepting that it is bad and people objectively criticises it for a reason. I enjoy plenty of bad music and movies. But they are bad.

But if you think junk food is not only enjoyable but desirable, then you have no idea about cuisine.

Sigh. And that is where you lose people and why you get branded as trolls and nostalgics and those other things you apparently hate.

I don’t like S2 animations in spite of them being bad. I like them because on the whole I think they’re pretty good. Omen doesn’t look bad to me, TJ’s animations aren’t jank, and I think Cinder’s combinations are pretty darn fluid. And contra your assertion, none of those views (or observations to the contrary) are particularly objective or “correct”. You (generic “you”) lose people because those discussions are so often filled with self-righteous proclamations about how any ape can see how this or that design choice or animation is terrible, and any opinion to the contrary is indicative of having no taste or sense of aesthetics. As it turns out, people tend not to respond well to the idea that they’re rubes who don’t know what quality looks like.

But whatever. We’ve wasted enough thread space on this discussion. I’d say PM me if you feel the need to continue this line of discussion, but I honestly just don’t care.

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Just for the record, I don’t treat my opinion as the “objectively correct” one, and while I’m glad some people might agree with me from time to time, I hope my opinion is discussed and debated like anyone else’s would be.

I intentionally didn’t mention which characters I think have worse animation/design than the rest of the cast in order to avoid too much debate.

Season 1 was about the same as SFV. Don’t you remember there wasn’t even lobbies. The only main difference was that it cost 20 bucks and KI had less characters at launch. The one thing S1 had above SFV was dojo and the story mode which came after Fullgore was finally released so it didn’t release with full content either. Also, seeing as how the devs keep saying SFV will be updated for 5 years, it’s pretty obvious they are going to do seasons.

We don’t need to bicker about the content details. But the difference between $20 and $60 is a lot. And of course, KI season 1 took a lot of grief when it launched too. If SFV was released in a seasonal model I think people would be more forgiving. The “stealth” seasonal model they are using has caused confusion and negative reaction. Plus, we’re back to money. $60 entry plus $20 for each new season is going to burn people more than $20 for each new season.

The only thing I really disagree with you about here is that reviewers looking to review S2 or S3 would probably not be so negative about the season model - just because there is so much more content at the moment of the review.

SFV is selling at $60, so we need to ask the question: does the base game give you 3 seasons (at $20) worth of content? Actually, the first SFV season is selling for $30, so maybe only 2 seasons worth of content should be the question.

SFV at $60 is a tough sell when so much of the game surrounding the actual gameplay is not there yet, and what IS there is really poorly made or structured.

As much of a SF fan as I am in general, I think the generally middling review scores SFV has gotten have been really accurate. The game is a total mess in every measurable way except the gameplay. In fact, if the same game was made without Capcom and SF’s branding on it, I have no doubt it would get much lower scores.