Kill la Kill IF Review – A Fighter All About Story

    Title: Kill la Kill IF
    Developer: APLUS
    Release Date: July 26, 2019
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Arc System Works
    Genre: Fighting

Like most anime fans in the west, I knew that 2013’s Studio Trigger anime Kill la Kill was definitely one of those must-see series. While the anime excelled in lewd fanservice, it became so popular that no one could possibly ignore it. The popularity of the series seems to continue even after it has ended with developer Arc System Works acquiring the license to produce a fighting game within the world of Kill la Kill titled Kill la Kill IF.

While Kill la Kill IF is definitely a fighting game at its core. The game also has a grasp on what makes the series so popular, the characters. You see, playing Kill la Kill IF provided many surprises that at some point makes it not even feel like a traditional fighting game at all. Depending on what you are looking for as a gamer, Kill la Kill IF has much to offer across its modes.

Kill la Kill IF tells the story of Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin. While both characters are remarkably different in terms of personality, their fates end up being tied together like a spool of yarn. Most of the game’s content is locked behind its Story Mode, which was surprising to me at first. I was under the impression that this was a game that was purely about pitting two characters from the Kill la Kill series against each other and fighting it out. While that is true to a point, the developers want you to play through the story and if you want characters and other unlockable items, then it’s required.

The Story Mode of Kill la Kill IF is definitely nothing typical to any fighting game that I’ve played to date. You could say that I’m used to the short story scenes between characters that can easily be skipped just to get to the next fight. However, Kill la Kill IF is heavy on the story to the point where it feels like you are watching the anime. Scenes are lengthy and pretty much retell most of the Kill la Kill story, with some various news scenes that fans will easily spot. However, players who are just here to play a hardcore fighting game might feel a little confused.

Just based on Kill la Kill IF’s story alone, it doesn’t seem like it wants to be a hardcore fighting game. Instead, it feels more like an action game that takes players on a journey through the lives of these characters. It’s not uncommon in the game’s story that players will need to fight off 50 enemies or take on multiple characters at once. Additionally, the game even features boss fights to top off each character’s route. It’s all rather interesting, and what’s more interesting is that it works so well.

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Kill la Kill IF knows that it’s based on a popular anime series. However, not all of the fans will be fighting game fans. The Story Mode of Kill la Kill IF is so accessible in that regard that any fan of the series can play through it and find enjoyment across matches. After the game’s story, players will discover more offerings in terms of versus and online modes, but that all comes after the Story mode is complete. The story itself is well-produced and makes sense after playing both Chapters.

The fighting system in Kill la Kill IF is streamlined to be accessible to new fighting game players, but also offers some high-level systems for fighting game fans to dive into. Each character has a range of unique skills and abilities that mirrors their actions from the source material. However, some characters have some pretty overpowered attacks such as a blast from Nonon Jakuzure that stretches across the field. Combos can be executed with ease making for some beautifully animated moments of offensive gameplay, but there is also a range of actions players can execute in terms of defensive gameplay such as counters or combo breaks.

The problem with the fighting system is that it can easily be broken by spamming certain attacks. It can get rather annoying at times when this happens, but I believe high-level players will be able to recognize these moves and be able to get around them. However, those who aren’t into fighting games might get frustrated if an opponent decides to play this way. I’m hoping over time the game receives the balance that it requires to become as much of a tournament fighter as it is entertaining.

KILL la KILL IF

Kill la Kill IF is a gorgeous looking game in terms of its character animations and designs. The environments in the game come off as simple and generic, but I think it just allows the characters to stand out more prominently. Arc System Works definitely knew what they were doing in terms of bringing these anime characters to the 3D space and it all looks simply gorgeous. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any frame rate issues on the PlayStation 4 version of the game, even when fighting against multiple enemies at the same time. I’d also like to also add that the sound design and voice-over in Kill la Kill IF are amazing.

After completing the story, players earn in-game points to unlock various new items. What’s pretty cool is the game’s Diorama Mode which lets you pose and post the characters in an action scene or even get a closer look at their…gear. Everything is fairly straightforward after the story is completed which means most of your time will be spent honing your skills in the game’s versus modes and finding your main.

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Kill la Kill IF is a pretty strange game in that it does its best to satisfy fans of the anime and fans of the fighting game community. However, in the end, just like the anime, this game is pure fanservice with all the over-the-top character interactions and zany humor that fans love. While it does have some mechanically sound fighting game systems with a decent balance on offensive and defensive gameplay, Kill la Kill IF’s choice to lock modes and content behind the story mode proved that this game is for the larger community of anime fans and I enjoyed it for that.

Kill la Kill IF is beautiful, fun, and insane. Getting through each battle adds to the excitement of what’s to come next and getting to spend just a little more time at Honnouji Academy was a joy for me. While the story will take around four to five hours to complete, I did wish that there were additional modes to unlock. However, for what it is, Kill la Kill IF offers a nice fighting game experience with an awesome storyline, characters, and presentation to make it all about the fans.

Score:
/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.