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Games : Recommended
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Killer Instinct

Overview -

It's been 17 years since 'Killer Instinct 2' and 'Killer Instinct Gold' (N64) roamed their respective arcade and home audiences, and the intervening years have rarely seemed like the right time for the franchise to return. Microsoft's acquisition of the franchise's original developer Rare from Nintendo has kept even a re-release of the games a long shot, even as the entire fighting game scene has undergone a resurgence full of fighting games old and new in tournaments, online, and even the rare arcade. Finally, after multiple recent 360 rumors, Microsoft announced that a new 'Killer Instinct' from a new developer (Double Helix) would be a Xbox One launch title. Not only would the game have a free single character version for all Xbox One owners to play, but the original arcade 'Killer Instinct' would be included at the $40 level. And so it seems that the fighter that made combos and the word "ultra" video game parlance, is back.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
Release Date:
November 22nd, 2013

Video Review


Again, 'Killer Instinct' is not easy to classify. Short production schedule or no, the game's art style feels born of the Xbox 360's XBLA, rather than the Xbox One. The six fighting stages in particular are missing an artistic touch that would lend the game a polished look. Still, the move to the Xbox One allows for some brutally delivered character detail, and even more visually impressive, the particle effects really mesh well with the extra horse power. Selective use of specular maps do a nice job of highlighting certain details while breaking up otherwise lackluster texture groups. The game's 60 FPS at 720P never once slowed down to a noticeably degree.

Again, the limited amount of content compared with other fighters means the game's entire visual slate is delivered in short order. Hopefully, the extremely temp look for the menus will be entirely replaced at some point.

Audio Review


The soundtrack is fine, and fits the history of the franchise minus the specific skill that was evident in SNES era. Fortunately, the narrator is perfect and manages a significance far above the music. Sound effects have the exact amount of oomph that is expected from a 2D fighter, likely following the 'Street Fighter IV' idea that fighters are at home in mono (or adjacent stereo) arcade cabinets.

The new 'Killer Instinct' is mired in free-2-play trappings, a lack of content and unnecessary unlock system, is very rough around edges. And yet, the solid and at times pretty fighting twist on 'Street Fighter IV' delivered by the game, is almost a must-own for fighting fans on the new system, which means that long-time fans have no choice but to pony up for 'Ultra Version.' It is almost as though if the game wasn't such a solid fighter, it might been free outright, and the potential (eventuality even) for what has been delivered to sprout a dedicated community, makes buying in now without knowing exact expansion plans and costs a nebulous prospect. Even so, Capcom may find themselves extremely late to the party when they release a fighting game for the Xbox One.

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