Killer Instinct has been one of the key titles on Xbox One evolving alongside the console with many changes since the start of the generation. This has been delivered through a couple seasons of content including new rosters, levels and completely redone environments. With the release of Killer Instinct Windows 10 we're also greeted with the third season which aims to revamp much of the game once more.
It's changed considerably since the launch of the Xbox One and now it's in full swing with parity between the two versions of the game. While this might not be in terms of resolution as this game looks heavenly in 4k resolution, but in the basics of every other aspect. I'll mention that you need to load up the Xbox One Killer Instinct first before playing it on PC as you're able to transfer all your statistics over.
This is great as you literally just pick up where you were on the console, but with the benefits that playing on a PC has. That being the many graphical options depending on your PC and keyboard support if you so choose. Along with carrying over all your stats the game also supports full cross-play so battling console players is an option and cross-buy. The Cross-Buy options will bring over anything you've bought on Xbox One so you have it on the PC which is wonderful. At the moment it's not recognizing my Season 2 purchase so I had to play with just the first season characters for this review. They're working on this along with more optimization down the line though I'm reviewing what's available currently at launch.
In this next bit I'll be going over general aspects of the game for those that might be new to the franchise or the title in general. Killer Instinct is Xbox's core first party game that's completely free and builds off the wealth of the classic franchise that was around a few generations ago.
We're currently at the third season of the game with a roster of over twenty characters available at launch with more on the horizon. Being a free to play title players are given a single free character which rotates every month so you're most likely going to want to pick up one of the seasons to build your roster. This is great for those that want a selection, but if you just like the style of a singular character you can buy them that way as well.
It's all about options and Killer Instinct is great for that, the other characters are all available in the game to battle and just aren't available to fight with if you haven't bought them. The roster of characters present is fantastic bringing a wide variety of personalities and styles to the battle along with some interesting guests from other Xbox franchises. The game also features a large list of levels to play across which are all available and tons of additional costumes to unlock or purchase depending on the item.
Killer Instinct is mostly known for its straight up combat whether that's local or online matches against the rather great at fighting community. Aside from those core aspects the game has added quite a bit since the first release including a full story mode for each of the characters and an area called the Shadow Lab.
The story mode takes a page out of the classic games with each character fighting a set amount of other fights as they obtain one of multiple endings for that single character. Shadow Lab is an entirely different thing having you play against an AI to learn your skills and then you can send out that shadow to fight other shadows.
This grants points and bonuses depending on how good your learned virtual self is at combat. You can also gain multiple shadows as they level and it's an interesting system in developing smarter AI for the game. There's also a Dojo area for those that want to improve their skills or learn new techniques and survival mode where you just battle for as long as you can go.
The game looks absolutely stunning on PC with many graphic options to tweak the world to what your rig can handle. I do however wish there were more resolution options, but I'm sure more will appear with updates. The game can be played with a controller, keyboard or even Xbox 360 fightsticks with Xbox One fightsticks being usable with a future update.
I tried both the controller and the keyboard for this review, both worked fine though obviously coming from console I was more comfortable with the controller. The environments are outstanding for the game getting a facelift for season 3 and the characters also look amazing on this version.
Its crazy seeing all the different combos be unleashed at character whether that's the multiple shadow hits or general particle effects bouncing in the air. As far as combat goes it's layered with multiple levels and area to target on each character making it one of the more in-depth fighting titles and that was appreciated.
The performance test for this game is seeing two Cinders fight each other as they're a fire character and it's crazy. You'll actually need to pass the performance test to play in certain multiplayer areas which is a good thing as it keeps it more equal. The game features full cross-play and cross-buy as mentioned before which is amazing, I was very surprised how easy the process of going to PC from Xbox One was.
Killer Instinct Windows 10 is a great fighting game offering the entire build-up of the Xbox One version with some improvement that only the PC space can offer. I was impressed with this version of the game and it's nice to have the option to play on whatever platform I choose.
If you've never played Killer Instinct than this is the best time to get into the game as it's free to you have nothing to lose and it's one of the best fighting genre titles I've ever played. It also has the benefit of consistently improving every year and if they keep adding rosters over time this will be the largest fighting game in existence.
It's really an amazing title and even the free base offerings are enough to give you a good try of what's available with the third stellar season. A final mention is that this is not a review of the third season as that's in process with character releases and this simply covers the Windows 10 version of Killer Instinct.
Killer Instinct Season 3 Review
Killer Instinct Season 2 Review
Killer Instinct for Windows 10
Review Code Provided by Microsoft