Review: Killer Instinct Season 3 (Xbox One)
**Disclaimer: This review is based on the current features available for Killer Instinct Season 3. We will update this piece as new content and patches become available.
When Killer Instinct was launched a few years ago we put out a review praising the season 1 character roster, solid framerate and gorgeous visuals. Since then the game has become a staple in competitive gaming and has had numerous tweaks and additions including new characters and levels. The question remains; should you fork out more for additional content over two years later? Let’s take a look…
What’s in the box?
Killer Instinct Season 3 is comprised of eight new character slots. Some have been revealed while two slots have yet to be announced. This being said, Killer Instinct enthusiasts will have a very good idea of who to expect judging from the lineup of the original arcade title. Of these eight slots four characters alone, with their accompanying levels, are available at launch. You can expect familiar faces but not necessarily from the Killer Instinct franchise. First up is Tusk, one of the more popular characters from Killer Instinct 2. Tusk is a Scandinavian, beard-sporting, double-handed sword-bearing barbarian who claims to be an immortal warrior. He moves significantly slower than most characters and at first can seem to be an easy target. His attacks however are, for the most part, quite quick and tricky to judge. Kim Wu, on the other hand, is about half the size of Tusk and three times as fast. Kim Wu is a Korean-American martial artist who is armed with nunchaku and… a dragon. She’ll be sure to let you know this before each battle. Her move set is frantically quick but suffers from not being far reaching. But the next two combatants are the two fans have been waiting for.
One of the most well received character announcements was that of fellow Rare Ltd. Alumni, beloved Battletoads brawler – Rash. Whether his legs morph into an axe or he distorts himself into a wrecking ball – his moves hold true to the original Battletoads franchise. Between him breaking the fourth wall and racing around on his bike you couldn’t ask for more fan service from the wart-covered wisecrack. Lastly there’s Arbiter from the Halo franchise. One of the more surprising additions. Like Tusk, Arbiter is slower than a lot of the other competitors, this is compensated with by having powerful attacks as well as a handy use of weaponry including plasma grenades. Arbiter’s home stage is The Arena of Judgment which in my opinion is the bust environment in the entire game. In the background, both the Covenant and the Swords of Sangheilios battle each other in a grueling shootout with various events occurring during the battle. If you’re a fan of Halo 5: Guardians you’ll absolutely love this level.
When it comes to content Season 3 is well worth the extra purchase especially with four more characters to join the party and the welcomed tweak in visuals to the Shadow Moves. Unfortunately, the add-on doesn’t come without its faults. After the Season 3 update was applied the first thing I did was go to the multiplayer matchmaking. One week later and I’m yet to join a single match, neither ranked or expedition. This is a concern. I did however manage to join a match manually against another local fighter enthusiast and from my side the connection held up well and the framerate held up as it has in the past. The only other fault I found was that the character colour pallets occasionally change midgame. This is by no means game breaking but rather unnecessarily sore on the eyes. Tusks eyes turning pitch black after a match was probably one of the creepier incidents.
The brawl overall…
At this stage four new characters and levels along with a few game tweaks might not sound like a worthwhile endeavor. The fact is that the content that Season 3 provides at launch will keep you busy well into the next character launch window. Between the ShadowLab mode, Survival and numerous trails you have plenty to do. If you’ve mastered all of those with the new characters you can always start mastering combo’s without the combo assist mode. Xbox One players are also able to move over their Xbox One content and purchases to a Windows 10 platform and vice versa, and the same also goes for saved games. With Mira, Gargos, General RAAM and a potential Killer Instinct idol on the way, Season 3 is a worthwhile addition to the already impressive fighter.