Killer Instinct: Microsoft’s Version of Smash Bros? on troveshop

After spending hands-on time with Killer Instinct Season 3, one editor talks about how the addition of Halo and Battletoad mascots signals a big change of approach for the game.

Ever since Microsoft confirmed that Rash the Battletoad would be joining Killer Instinct, fans have been wondering just what else the team at Iron Galaxy Studios has planned for the game. Evidently, it had quite a bit more, as the studio then confirmed that Halo‘s Arbiter would be joining the fray as a Season 3 participant. Now longtime followers of the series are looking down the barrel of a rather radical change of pace for Killer Instinct, and it appears that more familiar mascots could very well be joining the fray.

I came to this belief following some hands-on time with all four of the launch characters during a press briefing in San Francisco. The lineup currently consists of franchise veterans Tusk and Kim Wu, with the likes of guest fighters Arbiter and Rash also getting in on the action. Each fighter handles uniquely, but it’s the guest characters themselves that are going to get the most attention for obvious reasons. And, speaking to one of the developers on-hand at the event, he seemed to imply that more are on the way.

This line of thought is reminiscent of the mentality of Super Smash Bros., which is Nintendo’s prized fighting game that features quite a depth of characters from its own IP. The only difference between what Nintendo has accomplished and Microsoft is attempting, however, is that Killer Instinct is more of a traditional (albeit very different) extension of the genre. Despite this, the known guest characters have been painstakingly brought over to the game, and they simultaneously honor their roots and appeal to fight aficionados.

Killer Instinct Guest Characters Battletoad

The Arbiter in particular has some incredibly cool ways of paying homage to the first-person shooter series in which he originates. Those wondering how the Elite leader handles will find themselves in for a real treat, as his moveset has been mapped to the Xbox One controller to be immediately familiar for Halo 5 players. Being given a rundown, I was informed that hitting ‘RT’ – which is traditionally the trigger in Halo – will have the alien fire his carbine rifle, while smacking ‘LB’ will lob a plasma grenade at the enemy.

Meanwhile, the humanoid toad Rash has moves ripped right out of the NES and arcade versions of his game, Battletoads. The ability to have his limbs turn into a mace and even generate a massive, spiked boot for some of his more powerful kicks are a sight to behold. Of course, if that weren’t already enough, the character can transform into a wrecking ball in an attempt to lay waste to the competition. It’s a rather true-to-form rendition of the Battletoad, and that’s the most appealing part of seeing these fighters in action.

These beloved characters remain true to their source material, and as a result they’re immediately captivating to fans of each respective series. Watching Arbiter square off against individuals that would have otherwise never crossed his path incites a bit of excitement within myself that is almost on par with what’s present in every new Super Smash Bros. character reveal. Microsoft and Iron Galaxy are really on to something with the inclusion of these mascots in Killer Instinct, and Season 3 is exactly what will kickstart interest in the fighting game for Xbox fans that have yet to take notice of the combo-filled property.

Which characters would you like to see join Killer Instinct in Season 3? Do you think the game is better or cheapened as a result of these characters joining the fray? Get at us in the comments.

Killer Instinct Season 3 arrives for Xbox One and Windows PC on March 29, 2016.

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