Killer Instinct finally got a much awaited reboot to the series alongside the launch of the Xbox One back in late 2013, which offered players the chance to purchase characters individually or as a season pass. Season 2 came later and brought nine total characters over a period of months to increase the roster to 18 playable characters, but that is not all as Season 3 has now arrived as well with even more characters, including two very special guest characters.
Killer Instinct Season 3 is taking sort of a middle ground approach between the first two seasons, which offered six and two characters respectively at launch. Instead, Season 3 is offering exactly half of the total number characters that are coming with four new fighters to start. Of the four available right now, two are returning fighters from Killer Instinct 2 with Kim Wu and Tusk, while two are the aforementioned guest characters with Arbiter from the Halo series and Rash from the Battletoads series.
Considering that you can buy Season 3 as a whole or in parts, we’ll be giving a rundown of each of the four fighters individually, so that you can judge their worth, along with an overall recommendation either way at the end. However, the fact that Season 3 is only partially released can make it hard to make the latter decision, so that will come even more into focus as the other DLC characters are released in the future.
Like the previously released characters in Killer Instinct, each of these fighters have a default costume and a retro costume, which are pretty distinct from one another in design. Just remember that not every version has the retro costumes included, as the cheaper base version does not include them.
Starting off with a returning fighter, Kim Wu first debuted in Killer Instinct 2 as a nunchuck wielding characters who has been brought back with the same style weaponry as before. Kim Wu’s retro costume is a perfect recreation of her KI2 look with a two piece purple outfit that has blue outlines, along with bright red hair in a ponytail that almost borders on being close to pink. Her default costume is a very nicely designed modern interpretation that includes a black undershirt and shorts with a purple jacket over the top that looks like it was made from her original costume almost, along with darker red hair that once again is pulled back in a ponytail.
In her base moveset, Kim Wu is quite easy to learn to use thanks to her high speed and ability to string together combos with ease through the use of her nunchuck. This can become much more complicated though with her use of Dragon Spirits that you can build up and then use strategically in a few different ways in battle, so mastering her techniques can definitely take some practice.
The one other Killer Instinct veteran to be released in this first part of Season 3 is that of Tusk, who like Kim Wu, also debuted in Killer Instinct 2. Tusk’s retro costume takes most elements of the original costume that you would recognize, such as the fur covered almost loincloth with the skull belt and a snake tattoo across his chest. However, his character model itself is definitely beefier than in the past, which kind of makes the overall costume feel a little off. The new default costume is definitely an upgrade with the now bearded Tusk fitting more his body type with what looks like a Viking design, rather than what used to look almost like a more advanced caveman, which now fits much better with his weapon of choice, a giant sword.
While Tusk is on the larger side compared to Kim Wu, he is surprisingly speedy as well. As soon as a battle starts, he can start waving around his sword like it is near weightless in his hands. This includes slash attacks, spin moves, and even lunging attacks that make him a true force in battle that can honestly be very hard to stop mid-combo. Tusk’s original character was said to be based on Conan the Barbarian and his powerful sword attacks definitely make that a very apt comparison.
The first of the guest characters in Season 3 of Killer Instinct is one that fans of the Halo series will recognize with the Arbiter. This character is one of the most well known characters from the Halo franchise, behind the likes of Master Chief and Cortana, but he may have seemed like an odd choice at first in Killer Instinct. His retro costume looks just like you have seen him in that series before, with a greyish blue design. However, he also gets a much different look in this game with his new default costume that adds in purple and red to the mix. While the overall character model doesn’t look that different between the two, with maybe the new costume being a little more detailed, the colors do set the two apart much more so than the usual color palette options available in the game.
Like Tusk, Arbiter brings a sword into battle, most specifically the iconic Energy Sword from the Halo series, but he mixes in the Energy Sword along with attacks with his other fist and legs to build up combos in battle. While this is pretty similar to other sword based fighters in the game, what really sets Arbiter apart from the rest are two of his moves that are straight from the Halo series. One is the ability to throw Plasma Grenades at the opponent with can stick to them and then explode, while the other is his Carbine that he can use in battle to shoot the opponent, both of which can be done with a simple button press. The development team at Iron Galaxy really did a fantastic job at bringing Arbiter to life with a mix of original moves and those that will be very familiar to long time Halo fans as well.
While Arbiter is a true Microsoft born character as part of the Halo franchise, the other guest character is one that was acquired by Microsoft after being established for years. Rash is one of the playable characters in the fan favorite, albeit crushingly hard, Battletoads series. He was rarely seen in gaming for years until his recent appearance in Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, as well as with the inclusion of the original and arcade Battletoads game in 2014’s Rare Replay. Compared to the other three additions in Season 3, Rash definitely has the least unique costumes, as his Retro one truly does look like he did in the originals with the bright green scaly skin on him, while the new default costume is just a darker version that fits better with the overall aesthetics of Killer Instinct. This really is not a disappointment at all though, as Rash looks absolutely fantastic in action.
Rash is one of the best possible choices for a guest character that the development team could have made, as the Battletoads style of combos meshes naturally with Killer Instinct. By continuously pressing either the light attack or light kick buttons, Rash will dole out beat ’em up style combos that look like they are straight out of Battletoads. His Instinct mode even brings out the infamous speeder bike to use that gave many gamers nightmares as kids. On top of his style of play, he brings a real level of humor to the game whenever he is on the screen, including him making fun of the fact he’s had so many cameos recently.
Only half of the characters are out so far, but Killer Instinct Season 3 is off to a great start with four quality additions. Kim Wu brings a different weapon into the mix with her nunchuck, while Tusk is a beast with his masterful sword skills. Arbiter has a simplistic basic moveset, but adding in the Plasma Grenades and Carbine weapons from Halo make him rather different from the rest of the roster. Then you have Rash that is just downright fun to use and plays exactly how you would want from a modern version of him.
It may be hard to truly justify if the various bundles are worth it for the money only based on half of the roster of Season 3, but even with just those four it’s a heck of a bargain right now. You may not want to buy them individually unless you just want to buy maybe Arbiter and Rash since they are guest characters at $5 each, but you can instead buy the Killer Instinct Combo Breaker Edition for $19.99 that will give you not only these four, but the upcoming four as well, making each one only $2.50 essentially. The only thing here is that it doesn’t appear you get the retro costumes included, which I personally felt are worth it for at least Arbiter and Rash.
However, you can get the full Killer Instinct Season 3 Ultra Edition for $39.99 that provides you with not just the eight characters, but a retro costume for each, along with a good bit of other goodies like accessories, XP boosters, KI Gold, and early access to future fighters. For someone that hasn’t bought any of the seasons thus far, there is also the Supreme Edition for $59.99 that provides you with all 25 characters from across the three seasons and pretty much everything else as well. The four new fighters are already well worth getting one of the available options, so it will be great to see what Iron Galaxy has in store for us with the remaining fighters for Season 3 as well.