Fighter Rising – “Killer Instinct Season 3” Review

The third major update to Killer Instinct aims to add depth to Microsoft’s exclusive fighter.

When Killer Instinct launched in 2013, it was a barebone and mediocre brawler with a steep learning curve. Two and half years later, developer Iron Galaxy has transformed a once average game into a beefy and competent fighter that’s worthy of gamers attention.

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Part of making Killer Instinct a better game meant making it more accessible. For the most part, Iron Galaxy does this very well. When playing offline, there are the standard AI fighting options everyone expects, but there are also four different training modes that move along at a gradual pace to teach the basics.

If you already Killer Instinct fighting mastered, you’ll feel at home in the improved online ecosystem. The ranked mode pits players against others who are similar in skill. Occasionally the mode sets up one-sided fights, but for the most part, battles feel like they take place on even ground. For a tournament style experience, the lobby mode allows gamers to participate in fights while also spectating some of the best Killer Instinct players in the world. While it doesn’t alter the combat, Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers can now battle each other with the addition of online cross-play.

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As far as character and level improvements go, there’s plenty to be excited about in Season 3. In total, Killer Instinct Season 3 will add eight new fighters to the roster. Four of them are available now, and the others will be released later this spring and summer. The first additions are Kim Wu, Tusk, the Arbiter from Halo and Rash from Battletoads. Each of the characters offers different fighting styles ranging from Kim Wu’s fast light attacks to Tusk’s slow but powerful combos. With well over twenty characters now in Killer Instinct’s roster, there’s more than enough options to fit whatever play style catches your fancy. All stages, including those in previous seasons, have been updated with better lighting and general graphics updates that make the characters pop on screen.

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Before graphics overhaul
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After graphics overhaul

Not every aspect of Killer Instinct has improved in Season 3. The menu system is still painfully slow and selecting characters and colors still takes a few seconds to load. These issues may seem insubstantial, but it’s rather disappointing that the menu system is so slow and unresponsive when the actual moment-to-moment gameplay feels so great.

The Verdict

Killer Instinct Season 3 hosts even more improvements to the already solid Microsoft exclusive. With a dedication to accessibility and refinement, Iron Galaxy has shown that they’re ready and capable of competing with the likes of Tekken and Street Fighter for gamers attention.

Season 3 might not break any ground just yet, but with the ambitious Shadow Lords mode coming soon, Killer Instinct is a no-brainer for Xbox and Windows gamers looking for an accessible yet challenging brawler this spring.

**Microsoft has asked to not score the game until all of Killer Instinct Season 3 content has been released**

Killer Instinct Season 3 was reviewed on a Xbox One press copy courtesy of Microsoft.

 

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