I’ve been really excited about the Killer Instinct reboot on Xbox One ever since they announced it and now the game is out in the wild for all your free-to-play (and freemium) enjoyment. Even though there are many elements in common with the original Killer Instinct games, like Ultra Combos and Combo Breakers, many of the mechanics are also very different in how they work. You have a lot more freedom in custom-creating your own combos, for example.
Max has put together a great tutorial video that walks you through the basics of Killer Instinct on Xbox One, covering normals, specials, combos, KV meter, instinct meter, and combo breakers. You’ll learn the basic combo structure with openers, auto doubles, linkers and enders, as well as how shadow moves and how the instinct meter come into play.
The main idea is that certain jump-ins and specials can act as combo openers, then you can auto-double with just about any normal. Light attacks are fast, but weak; medium attacks are a little slower and stronger; and heavy attacks are the most damaging, but take the longest. Similarly, you do the combo breaker by hitting the LP+LK, MP+MK or HP+HK corresponding with the strength of your opponent’s attack.
I could go at length about some of these different mechanics, but they make way more sense when you watch the video. Skip ahead to 3:23 if you don’t want to watch his cheesy acting with Dr. Doom.
Oh, and while he doesn’t cover it in the video, you execute an ultra combo by doing the appropriate special move motion of your character, but with 3P or 3K as a combo ender. You can then cancel with instinct meter to continue the combo into another ultra combo, followed by two shadow attacks, followed by one regular special to get a super long ultra combo finish. There’s also a useful guide on USGamer.net that’s worth a read if you prefer the text-based explanation.
So you’ve finally decided that playing on stick is the way to go. The only problem is, with so many out there you don’t know which to choose! This guide details sticks I’ve used and details the pros and cons for each. I didn’t include any sticks below $60, I’ve had too many bad experiences with those, especially off brand or generic brand sticks. Don’t get them.
The tournament standard stick which set the benchmark for all sticks that followed it. This is a great all round stick. It has the standard quality Sanwa Denshi parts and is relatively compact.
Pros: Compact, Durable, Easy to Mod, Will fit most stick bags
Cons: Acoustics feel hallow (personal preference), Discontinued
MadCatz Fightstick Pro
Currently Madcatz flagship stick. Unlike the TE this stick is slightly thinner resulting in a rectangular shape. Uses the standard Sanwa parts and has good moddability. It’s slightly cheaper than the average tournament stick and usually on sale during majors. A great beginner stick. On the Mad Catz store for $129.99 USD
Pros: Compact, Cheap, Moddability
Cons: Light, Distance of stick and buttons is closer than usual.
Madcatz crown jewel. This premium stick sports a $200 price tag but is worth every penny. It’s heavy and feels nice and sturdy on the lap. Solid acoustics and has plenty of room allowing for more extravagant mods. This stick is quality, I’d highly recommend this tournament regulars and enthusiasts. Snag this if there’s a Madcatz promo which bring the price down to around $169.
Pros: Solid construction, Durable, Extra long cable
Cons: Can be cumbersome to carry. Extensive work needed to gut.
This stick is interesting as it’s build quality isn’t quite as high as a TE or Qanba but is definitely above the generic no names and below $100 sticks. The stick and buttons are Hori’s own brand and their stiffness feel somewhere between Sanwa and Seismetsu parts. Plenty of space to mod. This is the stick I’d recommend for first timers who want general all round stick, only problem it’s discontinued and prices vary wildly. The range I’ve seen is $70 – $200. Grab it if you find it around $100 or less.
Pros: Not too expensive, versatile
Cons: Hard to find and prices vary, not as long lasting as some of the other sticks
Improved version of the RAP3. Uses Sanwa parts and feels sturdier.
One of the cheaper tournament level sticks (Around $130). It has the standard Sanwa parts and a rectangular body vs the RAPs oval. I’ve found this stick to be extremely light which can be good or bad depending on preference.
Pros: Compact, Cheap
This stick is amazing for what it is. The buttons are springy and smooth. A easy to carry stick, though its’ small body means it’s has extremely limited moddability. Easily the best $50 stick and the only $50 worth buying.
Pros: Easy to carry, Cheap, Surprisingly good build quality
Cons: Little moddability, no Xbox model
Hori’s Ferrari. It’s big, flashy and pricey, what you get for $200 is a stick with good acoustics, light up touch buttons and programmable control schemes. It’s the most technologically advanced stick on the market. It’s tournament prevents accidental pauses and the underlining keeps the stick in place. Get this for the ultimate Hori experience.
Pros: Remappable buttons, Super smooth stick
Cons: Buttons are a bit hard
This is the stick made for left handers. It’s symmetrical layout allows the player to play south paw simply by turning it around and flicking a switch. Uses Sanwa parts and has a nice solid feel. The pleather base is unique and prevents slipping.
Pros: Left hand usability, Large surface area, Carrying handle,
Con: PS3 model only, Limited quantities
Qanba Q4 (any variant):
Qanba’s flagship stick and also my favorite stick. The weight and acoustics of it is super solid, it doesn’t feel hollow at all. The best feature of this stick is that it comes dual modded out of the box. It works on Xbox and PS3 without adapters or converters. Standard Sanwa parts and a $160 price tag makes this stick the best valve out there.
Pros: Dual modded, Carrying handle, Super sturdy feel, Easy to mod
Cons: Cloth base wears out easily, back panel can be hard to place securely.
The Godzilla of all arcade fightsticks. It’s heavy, long, big and costs $299 before shipping fees! Why would anyone want to buy this monster? Well, it will be the only stick you’ll ever need! It provides a feel that no other stick comes close. It comes with quality Sanwa parts and is easy to mod. The feel is hard to put in words, you just have to try one.
Pros: Sturdy, Even weight distribution, Plenty of space for mods, Can sit on it
Cons: Numbs legs with prolonged use, Hard to carry around, Expensive to ship, Hard to order
So, the new Killer Instinct was revealed to the world at E3 2013 earlier this year as an Xbox One exclusive that will be ready at launch and more details have slowly been revealed to us. We now know about Jago, Sabrewulf and Glacius, but at Gamescon in Germany, Double Helix is showing us two more characters: Chief Thunder and a new character named Sadira.
Before we get to that, you’ll want to watch this video with Ken Lobb as he clarifies the pricing structure. Basically, you’ll get the “season one” eight characters with their eight stages for $20, you can buy individual characters for $5, or you can get the premium pack for $40 that includes a port of the original KI. Six of these characters will be ready at launch with the other two coming shortly after. Then, they’ll have a similarly-sized season two with more characters, more stages and hopefully some No Mercy (fatality) action.
And here is an epic double ultra combo by Thunder. I was never a huge fan of him in the original game, but maybe he was more your thing.
And here is the first original character for the new Killer Instinct. She’s also the first female. She’s named Sadira and it seems like she has some Spider-woman properties going on, but it’s such a short teaser trailer that we’ll have to wait until the next big reveal to learn more about her.