Killer Instinct (2013)

Benjamin Himes

This game is sublime! I’ve never taken to a fighting game quite like it. If it were music it would definitely fall into heavy metal. The pace is quick and the game is programmed to prevent spamming through the use of combo breakers. In the month and a half I’ve been playing I’ve had the pleasure of playing with three friends in a series of back and forth matches where the tides of battle can turn in a heartbeat. The momentum built up chaining combo moves has the effect of a kind of invincibility, an invincibility spawned from persistence and passion.
When I first started, the two characters I was advised to start with were Riptor and Sabrewulf, two characters whose hack and slash abilities were easy to understand and pick up. Eventually, logging in time with Thunder, Rash, and both iterations of Jago became essential in order to gain a wider perspective on how to play against them, and to play around with how they match up with the others. If I had to choose one character to master it would be Riptor, his attacks, combos, and throws are tasty and fun to watch.
One of my friends who plays is the one who owns the game and plays online regularly. One match we go over fairly consistently is Riptor versus Sabrewulf. These matches are tight, where not one of us gains a full head of steam when it comes to knocking off large chunks of health, gaining a combo-breaker, or trapping in the corner. Each match increasing in intensity, the anticipation for such a match is bewildering.
This is by far of the top fighting games I’ve played and I highly recommend it to any newcomers of fighting games.


A Pre-Sequel Worth Discovering – Shadows of the Empire

Benjamin Himes

        Back in the day, oh, sometime in the year 1996, was the year when I was shown the Star Wars trilogy by my parents; and so began what would become a still-burning passion that has delved into many a medium that incorporated film, books, video games, essentially anything that had the Star Wars logo on it immediately caught my eye.

Fast forward a year, when Christmas 1997 rolled around, an N64 came to our house; and my passion for video games went from occasional fidgeting’s of Game Boy and NES bouts to a full-fledged obsession for everything our N64 had to offer; that and frequent trips to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. One in particular that had my cross-hairs was Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, at this point in time the original trilogy was fresh in my mind. What could be better than a middle story that improved upon Empire and Jedi, and the fact that we were treated to a new set of characters ingrained within the universe that were joined seamlessly with the stories of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance vs. The Empire.

A defining characteristic of this tale was the fact that it was it’s own thing; despite taking place during and after the events of Empire, we were intrigued and invested in the adventures that Dash Render and Leebo were getting into that would eventually set up the events of Jedi. This was not a tale deliberately shoe-horned in for the sake of merchandising opportunities, although I will admit that was an end goal with the creation of this side story. What makes it work is that the creators took their time in realizing this narrative, which it did not have to fit precisely into the narrative weave of Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, and Lando. Rather, they were accessories to a story that was consolidated exclusively around the side-dealings that involved Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor. A story and characters that give context to the overall narrative that takes place within the trilogy without feeling and playing-out as just another slapped-on side mission.