I’m Worried About Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct is one of those games that carries a sense of nostalgia. It’s a game that entertained many during their youth but also stood out for its iconic announcer and ridiculous combos. It was often seen as a more fun alternative to already established beat ‘em ups, so when Killer Instinct 2013 (let’s call it that for the sake of reference) was revealed, the 90s child within me was excited, hyped, pumped…you get the idea.
People have been asking for a new Killer Instinct for years, and we’ve been teased ever since. The license was renewed, web domains were purchased, and hints were dropped–but nothing happened. This is why Killer Instinct received such a positive reaction after its reveal at E3. But after the dust had settled, the worrying began–and it is continuous. Why worry, you might ask? It looked great, right? It sure did (at first anyway), but upon repeat viewings and watching the game being played on various streams, it all looks a bit flat.
By “flat” I mean overly simple–even for a Killer Instinct game–and that rings a few alarm bells. Chaining together ridiculous combos was always part of Killer Instinct‘s appeal, but the newest version looks too simple; watching people slam buttons on fight sticks and throw together effective combos is slightly disheartening. There’s a line between being accessible and being so easy it requires next to no effort to play. The gameplay simply does not look all that engaging, either. It does, however, appear to be extremely one-note in its approach. Most fighters (at least modern fighters) tend to be at least entertaining to watch thanks to their fast pace and unpredictable nature. Killer Instinct, on the other hand, seems to be the opposite.
Putting the aforementioned problem aside, there’s still a number of raised eyebrows over the choice of developer; Double Helix Games is not a name that screams quality. If anything, their name inspires screams of frustration and pain. Their recent credits include the awful Battleship and Green Lantern film-licenced games. They are also credited with G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Basically, it’s hardly a roster of games to be proud of. There is some hope in the shape of their work on 2008′s Silent Hill: Homecoming, however, but it still doesn’t inspire confidence.
That being said, the free-to-play format of the game is interesting, although I do sense a few issues will arise because of it. Balancing each fighter will be key, as is reasonable pricing. If there is no way to try the other fighters, would people be willing to blindly invest in them? Will the game become dominated by one fighter? We wont know until it launches alongside the Xbox One, but I’m worried about the game’s quality and longevity. Will the fighter community support its free-to-play approach? Will it get picked up at EVO? (And yes, this is a important thing.) Only time will tell. I would be more than happy to be proven wrong by Killer Instinct. In fact, I even welcome it.