What’s better than watching the completely off the wall Trigger anime, Kill la Kill? Well, playing a game based on it and one that’s faithful to the combat-heavy show. A 3D brawler that tosses players into a number of zany battles, while maintaining the charm that made the anime a fan favorite. It’s all here and then some, which made this Kill la Kill fan very happy…. for the most part.
Game Name: KILL la KILL – IF
Platform(s): PS4 (reviewed), PC, Switch
Publisher(s): Arc System Works
Developer(s): A+ Games
Release Date: July 26th, 2019
** This review is based on the retail version of the game without patch 1.01 that was released on July 26, 2019.**
KILL la KILL – IF isn’t a re-telling of the original anime, and instead puts players in the role of Satsuki Kiryūin and tells an alternate story of that from the show. That said, it does parallel the anime but it doesn’t stray that far away and fans of the show will still be able to relate to what’s happening. The story its self skips past most of the anime and starts right after the Elite Four pillar battle. That said, I rather enjoyed this change-up. Of course, fan-favorite Ryuko Matoi is also playable, but more on that later.
At first, this seems like average arena 3D arena brawler. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and in fact. Under all the button smashing, there’s a simple but rewarding combo system, if you know how to use it. You have access to several buttons; close, ranged attack, block/dodge and a special that handles multiple duties. With these buttons, you’ll be able to dish out guard breaks, aerial combos and a number of special moves.
In addition to this, the game features a rock-paper-scissors mechanic called “Bloody Valor”. Which just happens to be very familiar to the Clash mechanic found in Injustice 2. Activating this by building up a full meter will launch your character towards your opponent, and initiates the guessing game. Here you’ll pick from building your meter, adding more damage, or health recovery, each with their own priority. If you pick the right button, you’ll succeed in winning this clash, you’ll gain a small power-up and will receive whichever bonus you selected. While your opponent is stunned and is opened up for some serious damage. Of course, if they manage to one-up your choice, the tables are turned on you. As you can imagine, this random mechanic doesn’t seem worth using your meter and could decide who wins or loses a battle.
That’s not to say the game isn’t easily accessible, as it is. You can easily beat the CPU and others by randomly smashing buttons. It’s also really enjoyable. However, once you learn some simple and complex combos, this is when the combat really shines. There’s something about doing a combo that launches someone into the sky, allowing you to follow up and pummel them so more and linking it into a finisher. Honestly, it feels very similar to the Dragon Ball FighterZ combo system. Oh, there’s also a few infinite’s that I’ve encountered so far that will let you take your opponent (or you) down to nothing.
KILL la KILL – IF isn’t very long, clocking in at under three hours to complete it. Thankfully, once you’ve reached the end, another chapter opens up. This time you’ll switch characters and will now be able to play as Ryuko Matoi and play through her story. Sadly, her story is even shorter.
As far as anime fighting games good, this one is quite good. The fighting system is fun, even if it does tend to get repetitive. The visuals look like they were pulled directly from the show and are faithful to their anime counterparts. Especially when you pull off a special move and are greeted to a 2-3 second animated segment. The original Japanese voice actors are also on board, reprising respective characters. They even managed to keep the licensed score from the show and tossed in a few remixes as well. There’s also a versus mode, a practice mode and a gallery mode that houses several in-game goodies. Expanding on the practice mode, there are a number of challenges, a tutorial (barebones) to get you familiar with the game. I only wish they were a bit more fleshed out.
I was able to get in a number of online battles and I’m happy to report that I didn’t encounter any issues. Setting my desired connection level to 3 and above, allowed me to have a decent experience. I don’t recall having any matches where the latency caused any concerning problems.
As I said, the game is enjoyable. However, I still have a few issues with the game. First up is the camera and it’s just a pain in the butt. When you’re playing 1v1, it’s fine and it does a decent job of tracking you. Once you get into the sections where it’s you versus two or more opponents, the camera doesn’t track you very well. Since there’s no way to lock on to an opponent, you run into situations where they end up out of your view and they’re still able to attack you.
My other concern is the ending boss in Ryuko Matoi story, which of course is Satsuki Kiryūin. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to force you to use the Bloody Valor mechanic and win three bouts in order to actually beat the boss. It’s plain frustrating. The last is there’s no real way to get out of a combo. You have to hope it gets dropped, or that you get hit so far out of range that the combo whiffs. I’m hoping this gets patched or this is going to be a huge issue going forward.
Still, this is a solid title for fans of the series and for those who enjoy 3D arena fighting games. It’s going to be interesting to see where this game falls and if the fighting game community braces it or not.
Review Disclosure Statement: Review was based on a retail copy of KILL la KILL – IF that was provided to us by Arc System Works for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Kill la Kill The Game is all about the fan service. Fans of the anime and manga are likely going to love this game. While those who’d enjoy brawlers will also enjoy it. However, for those serious about fighting games, there may not be enough here to keep them entertained for more than a few hours.
- Enjoyable combat system
- Visuals look exactly like the anime
- Licensed musical score and voices
- Tons of Kill la Kill fan service
- The camera is terrible
- Combat gets repetitive