When making a game based on a movie, TV show, anime or already existing franchise, there is some level of forgiveness that can apply to the quality of that game. Usually games based on franchises are made just for the money, not for the passion of gaming. However, Kill la Kill: IF does not meet that level of forgiveness because of the poor choices in all aspects of the game.
The story follows many beats and ideas of the anime. Some scenes are direct recreations of the anime. The story feels thrown together after the rest of the game was made though. With surprisingly low quality backgrounds and character animations at times, most cutscenes go from passable to unwatchable during their long duration. Fans of the anime might enjoy key moments of the anime in-game, but I think they would ultimately be disappointed in the lack of care and love to make the anime come to life.
Arena fighting games have a very difficult balance between speed, damage and abilities. Kill la Kill: IF’s actually moment to moment gameplay can be a total blast, but far too often does the game seem unresponsive, unfair or lack polished mechanics. The overarching gameplay consists of simple combos and specials. This allows new players to hop in and make some super cool looking moves and attacks while the more advanced players can focus on balancing close, ranged, guard breaking and special attacks.
I am a fairly versed fight game player. I play more fighting games than most of my friends, however, I found the blocking, dodging and attacking to either be too obvious or totally unplayable because there is no time to read enemy attacks and or fight back accordingly. I may not be as good as I may think, but far too often I was either smashing opponents into the wall endlessly or they would be juggling me in the air with none of my inputs doing anything to stop them from taking more than half my health. It just felt poorly designed.
The campaign allows for a variety of fights, boss battles, waves of fodder and other things. The local multiplayer works just fine. The online battling is also fairly smooth, but finding a match can be difficult because of the very low player base at the moment. There are also endless and survival modes which lets the player just pick a character and go to town with all the over the top action and attacks on bunches of enemies until you die.
The gameplay is fun at first, don’t get me wrong, it is cool to fight in a variety of ways, each character is fairly different. But the game seems to lack a lot of depth with a small roster and the small pool of attacks and combos each player has.
When special moves hit, when people are flying across the map in the heat of the battle, the game looks really good. On the other hand, when a player stops to look at the backgrounds, the cutscenes and any details, the game looks pretty bad. The choppy animations, super simple backgrounds and horribly generic effects turn this game into a low quality mess. So sometimes, it can look really good and entertaining, but with all the cutscenes and some battles looking like mid-quality fan Youtube videos, the game is far more disappointing than it should have been in the visual department.
The sound quality of the music is alright, the sounds of the character’s fighting is accurate to the anime and sounds effects all are good. But overall, the sound design just sits on the fence as the rest of the game happens. The voice acting in Japanese and English is passable, it has a standard amount of overacting that is common for these types of animes and games, so again, the quality is just “okay”.
Unless a player is a massive Kill la Kill fan to begin with or falls in love with the battle system, there isn’t much reason to play this game often or even play it for more than a few hours. The story has no replay value, the local and online multiplayer systems lack depth of challenge and the other modes are just empty reasons to log in more hours.
What It Could Have Done Better
This game could have used another six months of development. There is a good start in the fight system, some of the visuals look great and the unique character fighting styles leaves a lot of room for match variety. However, these things mentioned and all the other aspects of the game could have used a lot more time in playtesting, development and honest love and care to make something good and worth a player’s time and money
If you are a major fan of Kill la Kill the anime, really love fighting games and have a bunch of extra cash, this game may be worth your time, maybe. Kill la Kill: IF has a lot of potential to be an okay game, but fall flat because of the overall low standard of quality.