Arena-based fighting is a popular approach for adapting anime into interactive form. Franchises like Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, Dragon Ball Xenoverse, My Hero One’s Justice, and J-Star Victory/Jump Force have all demonstrated there are a few benefits with the method.
Largely, each game favors accessibility, allowing those without years of experience with fighters to unleash the kind of flashy, over-the-top combos exhibited in the source material. Typically, the employment of wide-open battlefields emulate the perspective of animated scuffles, rather than the flat, side-view angle employed by dedicated fighting games.
“Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars!”
The downside of this method is that adaptations can lack the depth and finesse of top-tier entries in the genre. Because of this, they often don’t have the longevity of brethren that are built from the ground up.
Unsurprisingly, the release of Kill la Kill: IF employs the same style of fighting that has powered Naruto’s prolific adaptations. Essentially, each of the game’s ten characters (an additional two free characters are arriving before fall) share a common move-set, rooted in three basic types of offensive actions.
“Gosh, everyone seems to be having so much fun”
Punches and strikes require opponents to be adjacent, paving the way for humiliating air combos, juggles, and wall-bounces. Long distance dashes or projectile attacks endow you with ranged capabilities, perfect for getting the jump on evasive opponents. Finally, there are the big, slow guard breaks that can crack open a defensive foe like a salted pistachio.
Fortunately, every student at Honnōji Academy doesn’t play exactly the same, with distinctiveness rooted in each character’s personality. So, the masochistic Ira Gamagoori literally and figuratively whips himself into a fury, increasing his power with by self-lashing. As a member of non-athletic clubs like biology and gardening, Nonon Jakuzure prefers to maintain a distance from her brawny opponents, opting for ranged attacks. You’ll have to discover the differences yourself however, since Kill la Kill’s tutorial only cover the broad fundamental of play.
“Everyone on the planet knows that if you win with friendship, you win at life!”
Largely, fighting is straightforward and mostly enjoyable, save for a few niggling issues. The game’s camera doesn’t always provide the best point-of-view on the action, typically trying to frame both combatants. That can mean it can swing around suddenly, which made defensive evasions unwieldy. Some will find the game to be too lenient toward button mashing. Often, you’re able to beat CPU-controlled opponents without a strategy that’s deeper that say constant projectile spamming.
But that’s not to say, there’s fun to be had. While Kill la Kill IF doesn’t always capture the hyperkinetic battles of the anime, it does an admirable job at nailing the aesthetics. Developers Arc System Works and APLUS have meticulously recreated the look of the series, with character models, backdrops, and scene titling that might trick a passerby into thinking they are watching the actual anime. This is especially true for IF’s dual story modes.
“You and Senketsu are our hope.”
Here, players see a revisionist reworking of Kill la Kill’s storyline, offering an alternative take on the events that follow episode eight. Initially, you take the role of Lady Satsuki, witnessing key events with subtle revisions to accommodate the game’s condensed cast. For KLK fans, it will be thoroughly thrilling to revisit Honnō City, since the only other adaptions were the “Goodbye Again” OVA on the physical media release and the seventeen-chapter manga. After completing Satsuki’s storyline, the game delivers a secondary trek where you take control of Ryuko.
With scripting by Kazuki Nakashima, the original Japanese and English voice casts, along with assets that look remarkable close to Kill la Kill’s barbarous outdoor environments, IF’s aesthetics are near flawless. Seeing Satsuki Kiryuin, perched atop the academy’s stadium expressing tyrannical contempt is a delight, with IF mimicking the tonality of the series. While the pacing is understandably slower, the developer’s recreation of the series is amazing and helps to overcome some of the weaknesses with combat.
“If you don’t try to win with everything you have, it’ll come back to bite you.”
Followers will also appreciate the extras. Beyond elements of the soundtrack, artwork, and lines from the voice actors, IF’s Special Figure mode offers a diorama. Here, you can pose and take snapshots of the game’s characters. Franchises like the Senran Kagura series have a similar component, and for the truly hardcore Kill la Kill fanatic, it’s just a pleasing here.
Kill la Kill IF’s combat might be refined enough to gratify fans who are unfamiliar with the property. But if you enjoyed the 2013 series, the game’s ambitions to recreation the popular anime will satisfy. Being able to control the cast and watch the game’s meticulously crafted reproduction of key scenes is a genuine thrill. Although the game’s restrained divergences from canon are enjoyable, it would have striking for the game to truly expand on its characterization.
Kill la Kill IF was played on PC with review code provided by the publisher