System: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), PlayStation 4
Publisher: PQube, Arc System Works
Developer: A+ Games
Release Date: July 25, 2019 [Steam], July 26, 2019 [PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch]
Genre: Action, Fighting, Brawler
Official Website: https://www.kill-la-kill-game.jp/en/
KILL la KILL - IF - English Play Guide
Who it Caters to
Recently, we’ve witnessed a plethora of anime fighting titles hit the gaming shelves with many catering solely to a particular franchise. JUMP FORCE was somewhat of the modern answer to 2006’s classic, Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS, Dragon Ball FighterZ garnered massive mainstream attention, and the list continues to grow. What’s very clear here is that the anime culture has taken the world by storm and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Kill la Kill IF is another fine example of a popular anime series transformed from its 2D counterpart into a full-fledged fighting game, which plays more like an arena fighter but with just enough depth that fans and newcomers to the series will find plenty of enjoyment as you play through the story.
What to Expect
Kill la Kill IF is first and foremost an arena fighter which means that it plays a very different tune when compared to your typical traditional fighter. For those new to arena fighters, they essentially place more emphasis on playing in a 3D battlefield, giving players abundant freedom to run and attack in every direction without the worry of limitations. In Kill la Kill IF, a lot of emphases is placed on its various gameplay features such as being able to create high damaging combos off of very simple execution, while providing a genuinely fun experience for those who aren’t very familiar with fighting games in general. Kill la Kill IF comes with a story mode written by Kazuki Nakashima, which acts somewhat of an alternate continuation from where the anime left off noted as the ‘IF’ timeline, as well as free battles and online multiplayer where you can test your skills against other players across the globe. With over 10 playable characters on the roster, and other intriguing modes to explore, Kill la Kill IF is the quintessential title for any fan of the series looking to dive deep with their favorite characters.
The moment you jump into the story you immediately feel as if you’re truly watching an anime as you progress. Mr. Sushio, the man behind all of the original artwork for the series is back, and you can see every attention to detail put into this game. Whether it’s the incredibly detailed and well constructed facial animations or the explosive acrobatic combos you pull off during battle, Kill la Kill IF delivers 100% in this category. The presentation is sublime and doesn’t shy away from going above and beyond to ensure that every article of clothing, weaponry, and character animations flow seamlessly. The UI is very simple and players can access anything they want with the press of a button, which is great because a lot more care and attention have been placed on the gameplay more than anything.
Let’s kick off with the more defining aspects of Kill la Kill IF in the sound and music department, starting with the voice acting. Fans of the show will immediately recognize every seiyuu from the series, which only adds more authenticity to the game as a whole. Koshimizu Ami reprises her role as Ryuuko, Ryouka Yuzuki does a stellar job with Satsuki, and Toshihiko Seki still kicks ass as Senketsu. The list of seiyuu goes on but this is what truly brings Kill la Kill IF to life, 5 years after the original anime aired, which is a testament to the skill and talent these seiyuu bring to the table. You truly feel the emotion in every delivery and watch as each character creates their own path through hardships and triumph. The musical score in Kill la Kill IF delivers just as beautifully as the voice acting, though with a few little hiccups here and there. By hiccups, we mean that while the music certainly helped to bring much of the gameplay to life, there were moments where things felt a bit repetitive and eventually you start to pay less attention to it. Be that as it may, it doesn’t destroy the overall flow of the game and still supplements everything happening on screen.
Kill la Kill IF as stated in earlier paragraphs, is an arena fighter and as such, the battle mechanics will differ slightly than that of your traditional fighter. The similarities, of course, come down to the whole rock-paper-scissors formula in which consist of guarding, evading and breaking attacks, along with follow-up combos. All of these can be easily done due to the overall simple mechanics Arc System Works have implemented so that both casual and hardcore players can dive in without feeling too overwhelmed out of the gate. Let’s go more into detail about the aforementioned battle mechanics, the 3 basic actions: Normal Attacks, Guard, and Break Attack. Normal Attacks are just what you’d expect from any fighting game and these are the moves in which you must utilize them correctly to receive the best results. You have close-ranged attacks along with long-ranged attacks and your responsibility is to find ways to open the opponent, and confirm into damage. There’s also a feature in the game that plays on the idea of the RPS formula as well, but we’ll leave that to you to have fun with!
The game does come with an auto-combo system so if you happen to mash buttons you’ll still get a pretty cool looking combo. However, the game does reward you greatly if you sit down and learn the mechanics to ensure that your combos last longer, deal more damage, and put you in an advantageous situation for most of the match. Guarding is the next big thing and perhaps it plays just as big a role, if not bigger, as playing the offensive. In Kill la Kill IF, blocking is just as simple as holding down the R1 button when you see your opponent coming at you with full force. One thing to be mindful of however are Break Attacks which are slow wide-range heavy attacks that can crack open your defense, so it’s very important to not just sit there and block all day. This is where the whole rock-paper-scissors aspects play a major role because, throughout the entire game, you’ll be going back and forth with your opponent using mind games to open them up at any given opportunity.
You can also use Evasion-Based Attacks to respond to players who play too aggressively and go for counterplay setups, which only adds more depth to how you can further optimize gameplay. All of these actions, when combined together, create a great deal of depth and so we leave it up to you to explore the many facets of the game to see what type of cool combos you can pull off!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
So what’s there to take away from Kill la Kill IF? Well, for starters, the story mode does a great job of providing us different perspectives from the main characters Ryuuko and Satsuki. From our perspective, it seemed very clear that the main focus of this game was to get players to wrap up the story very quickly, then jump straight into battle to fight other players. We say this because the story mode is very very simple and if you play well enough, the mode can be cleared in a day. You do collect bonuses as well from completing the story mode such as new characters, in-game currency, gallery mode items, and more.
It also acts as somewhat of a pseudo-training mode because you’re introduced to the battle mechanics straight out of the gate, and fighting against the CPU via story battles can really help you to better grasp how the mechanics work, before taking it online against another human opponent. Other than that, there really isn’t much else outside these two main modes since the gallery is filled with artwork and other trinkets that are typically catered toward the Kill la Kill fanbase. So while there’s plenty of action overall, there really isn’t much else to sell this game. Once you’ve completed the story that’s pretty much it from a casual perspective, especially if you don’t intend on fighting anyone, be it locally or online. Online is decent at best and so don’t expect anything spectacular in terms of the typical fighting game formula. You can create rooms and watch others play, but it’s bare-bones so don’t think you’re getting anything groundbreaking here. The clear intention is that Kill la Kill IF is an arena fighter and as such, players shouldn’t really expect a long story since the main goal is to whoop ass online anyway. With that being said, we recommend this to anyone looking for a new arena fighter to dive into because it has everything you’d expect, plus a little extra for added replay value.
Amazing presentation overall, since the game was designed by the original artists!
Kill la Kill IF retains its authenticity by using the original seiyuu from the anime.
Really fun, simple pick up and play style game, with just enough depth to keep players engaged.
You can play locally with friends or take your skills online and rank high on the leaderboards.
The story mode felt way too short for our liking, in spite of having multiple arcs to play.
Online mode felt pretty bare-bones in terms of what players can do to customize their online playing experience.
While the game is fairly simple to pick up, we’d expect hardcore fighting game players to likely shy away from this title at some point.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Kill la Kill IF comes with its merits but also suffers in other areas which we’ve addressed in the review. These setbacks, however, don’t ruin the game by any means but definitely would’ve helped to supplement the game a bit more. Hardcore fighting game players may jump into it for a while just for the entertainment purpose, but because it lacks the traditional depth that most other fighters have, these players will likely go back to their main title after some time. As stressed before, this is an arena fighter and so take the game as it is and as we said, have fun! It’s a fantastic game to just run amuck in for hours with friends and online, then take a break from. However you choose to play the game is entirely up to you but support anime anyway!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!