Review: Kill la Kill -IF-

About this Game

Kill la Kill -IF-

Publisher

Arc System Works

Developer

A+ Games

Release Date

July 25, 2019

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

15h+

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

Yes

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Don’t Lose Your Way!

Kill la Kill is a fantastic one-season anime which serves as a parody of Shonen Anime as well as the crass-ness and fan-service found littered within most of these. Kill la Kill served as a successful toe-dip for Shonen parody and opened the doors for things like One Punch Man.

That said, due to how heavily they go in on the semi-nudity aspects of their parody, this review is probably not something you want to be reading at work!

The game is (at the time of writing) on sale at 71% off in Sony’s “Big in Japan” sale, so go ahead and pick it up if this Review piques your interest in it.

Kill la Kill -IF- Review

Excellent Anime Stylisation

The first immediately stand-out thing about Kill la Kill’s one and only game is the effort which has gone into the stylisation and animation.

At multiple points in the game, you’ll need a double-take to convince yourself that what you’re seeing is not in-fact 2D. It’s fantastic how close they’ve managed to get their cell-shading shaders to the original anime art-style. 

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Admittedly, it looks better in motion!

Okay, so it isn’t perfect all the time and there are certain scenes which will make you wonder how you ever found yourself convinced it was 2D but it’s damn near close enough.

By also reducing the frame-rate, they successfully made many of the sharp and snappy animations look like they were indeed 2D animations ripped straight from the series. They even manage to capture a lot of the dramatic camera angles and energetic animation style used within the series, though just a slightly numbed version since there’s only so far you can go in 3D to capture the anatomy-defying depth seen in anime without breaking a few bones along the way.

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Still, they do pretty well with what they’ve got!

All in all, it is certainly the best thing about the game. Looking at it is waaaay better than playing it, but let’s get onto that…

The Strongest Foe is RNG!

One thing I do love about the gameplay in Kill la Kill is that it is simple. Too many fighting games these days are built with the hopes it will go on to become the next big eSports fighter, which means extremely complicated button combos, to-the-frame timing and some stupid trophy requirements.

However, the developers knew well enough that they weren’t going to be seeing any Kill la Kill tournaments taking up headlines any time soon so the control scheme was made very approachable.

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Filled with those familiar anime sword-flashes and smoke effects, the game’s combat feels hectic and beefy.

Attacks change depending on which face-button you press and whether you’re holding a direction with blank. blank is a close-range attack, blank is a long-range attack, blank lets you block and blank allows you to break the opponent’s block. 

Using blank in unison with blank will make you dash towards the enemy and using it with blank will allow you to dodge incoming attacks. Similarly, blank can be paired with any of the attack face-buttons to trigger a more powerful version of each attack type, provided there’s enough SP in the SP bar.

Though it takes a bit of time to figure out and can be difficult at first, using those simple controls to string together combos based on how the opponent is playing makes for interesting rock-paper-scissors style gameplay. Which I think the developers noticed, and this may be why they added in the very worst mechanic in the game.

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A trophy hunter’s worst enemy: RNG.

Once you have 50% of your SP bar filled, you can trigger “Blood Valor” by pressing blank and blank together. Blood Valour is literal rock-paper-scissors and whoever wins gets a bonus. Yep, even if you trigger it, the opponent can benefit. 

Being successful 3 times will allow you to use Sen-i-Soshitsu with a full SP bar, but due to the fact that you’re likely to give the opponent a bonus, it’s often not even worth using Blood Valor at all.

You can use Blood Valor to recover health, gain SP or get a damage boost, which during the campaign can be vitally important for getting an S-Rank in some fights, but if you lose that rock-paper-scissors event then you end up in a worse situation than before. 

I can see how this could be considered a fun mechanic for when you’re playing with friends, but for the actual story campaign, throwing RNG into a fighting game is just criminal! What kind of monster would do this?

Yet Another Anime Fighter

It does strike me as strange that this game came out just last year in 2019 but the actual Kill la Kill anime aired way back in 2013 and nothing new has come out with it since. Still, it really is a fantastic anime and I’d prefer a game 6 years late to no game at all.

Sadly, if you’re hoping for a faithful recreation of the Anime’s story, you won’t find it here. Although, I can’t see why you would be looking for that. It’s not like any anime game ever has fully recreated a story before and it seems strange to want that kind of thing from a game.

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The story begins at the Naturals Election.

No, the real reason you play an anime fighter is to get the chance to pit your favourite characters against each other and get up close and personal with the action and various special moves they usually show off in their respective series.

Kill la Kill does that well, aside from the RNG-based rock paper scissors nonsense (which is, for the most part, totally optional), it really is a solid fighter. It would be nice to have a bigger roster as there are only 8 characters – 10 if you include Mako and Nudist Beach who were added as free update DLC.

Saying that, Kill la Kill is only one season long and doesn’t have a whole lot of characters to choose from. There are a few enemies who show up for an episode or two but usually don’t stick around very long and wouldn’t be worth adding to the game.

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You have to commend their efforts for making a character as silly as Gamagouri a playable fighter… But he’s not really fun to play as…

Getting back to the story, though, the game makes the odd choice of having you play as Satsuki first, but it eventually makes sense when you start Ryuko’s storyline and realise that Satsuki’s was a lot easier. I have to wonder if the developers originally intended for Ryuko’s storyline to come first but swapped them out after realising the difficulty gap, or if it was always their intention to start with Satsuki.

Vast sections of the plot are skipped, the first 8-ish episodes of the 24-episode series are ignored entirely and whole story arcs are brushed aside with a single sentence. They, for example, rewrote a pretty big part of the story around the Tri-City School Raid arc in a way which made very little sense and annoyed me a bit, but I cottoned-on pretty early into the game that their main focus was not on the story mode so I put it out of my mind the same way they did.

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Everything about how this portion of the story plays out in the game is just wrong.

The original Japanese voice actors reprise their roles which is a nice touch, and it’s all specially-recorded dialogue to fit the different enemy match-ups which makes it quite interesting. Seeing what Ragyo would have to say to Mako in a one-on-one fight, results in some quite funny dialogue exchanges.

The voice actors even recorded Bonus audio which can be unlocked, in which they talk about their role as the character and congratulate the player on beating the game… But it’s not subtitled so I don’t have a clue what they’re saying.

For you masochists out there who enjoy cringing at English anime dubs, you can change the audio to English, but I never tried it so I can’t say if it’s any good. I watched the original anime in Japanese so it would just be strange to switch to English.

I have to wonder though… With English voices on, do the English voice actors talk about their experience voicing the character in the bonus audio? Or do they simply translate what the Japanese voice actors said in theirs? Get in touch if you know the answer to that, I am genuinely interested.

My Kill la Kill -IF- Trophy Experience

There are 4 main phases to the Platinum Trophy Journey in Kill la Kill -IF-, many taking longer than others and some being incredibly boring grind-fests.

Story Campaign

Getting through the story is pretty simple. There are a few fights which you’ll really struggle with, but once you have a good combo down then nothing can stop you really. 

Here’s my winning combo:

  • At the start of the match immediately start hitting blank to get some ranged attacks in. This will counter your enemy’s ranged attacks and knock them back.
  • Once you see them get knocked back, hold blank + blank (don’t touch blank or you’ll dodge and interrupt the action) which will take you quickly over to the enemy before they hit the ground and become invincible for a short while.
  • Now begin wailing on them with blank until your combo ends, usually leaving them quite far from you. 
  • Now, either use blank+blank again to get close, or start hitting them with blank until you see a good opportunity to get in there.
  • Repeat the above, using special attacks whenever they are available, until you win the fight.

The hardest part of this phase of the platinum journey, though, is getting an S-rank on all of the fights. To get an S-Rank you need an A-Rank on all three categories in each fight.

An S-Rank completion.

The three categories are Health, Time and Offence. Health is always an A as long as you have over 50% of your HP left (some levels lower this threshold to 30%) and Time is pretty easy to A-Rank as they’re very lenient.

Offence is very tricky to A-rank though, and for some stages, I was stuck on it for hours. Usually you just need to get out as many special attacks as possible and more often than not, you need to do more special attacks than the enemy has health for, so I would usually just stand around blocking and dodging for a while to charge up enough SP to get out another Special Attack without having to damage them to charge SP. 

But then, of course, that takes too long and the Time rating goes down or I take too many hits and the Health rating goes down. It’s a nightmare struggle and there are really no tips I could give you. There are a few lists and guides online which claim to have all the answers, but the solutions they provided never worked for me.

Here’s what I’ll say though, try just doing as many special attacks as possible, if that doesn’t work, use a Blood Valor attack as well as multiple special attacks. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to try to charge up a Sen-iSoshitsu attack and execute it. Failing that, just keep trying and trying. Do different things, use blank Break attacks more, use blank range attacks less… It’s just trial and error, really.

Eventually, I did manage it, as well as executing a Sen-i-Soshitsu in the final level for both Satsuki and Ryuko, which contributes to the “Here’s My Sunday Best” trophy.

Survival Challenge

Survival Challenge was the most stressful part of the trophy journey because there’s a trophy for surviving 50 rounds, and there’s a guide to the strategy I used at the bottom of this review, in the tips section. It includes a video too if you enjoy that kind of thing.

However, before I attempted that, I got a few other trophies out of the way.

I played Survival Mode with every character (except Nudist Beach and Mako) to unlock a trophy for playing it with 5 different characters, and to charge up and execute a Sen-i-Soshitsu attack with every single character.

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SEN-I-SOSHITSU

I also wanted to play as far as I could with each character so that I’d earn more GP, making the trophy for 100,000 GP a lot easier. But I very quickly got bored of doing that because some of the characters were horrible to play as. I got to around 25 with both Nui and Inumuta and then gave up before putting myself through trying to do it with Gamagouri, who actually reduces his own health making him useless.

At that point, I just started playing the run until I’d done a Sen-i-Soshitsu and then quit.

Lastly, I made my attempt at surviving 50 rounds, using Mako and the strategy you can find in the tips section below. I thankfully pulled it off first try, and was surprised to see I also earned the 100,000 GP I needed, so I’m glad I didn’t needlessly go through a full Survival run with every character.

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It got pretty sketchy there at the end I gotta say.

COVERS Challenges

The COVERS section of the game is a semi-decent and somewhat fun wave mode which sees you fighting 20 COVERS at a time in various different game modes.

The first game mode I tackled was 1-minute Brawl as there was a trophy for beating it with 5 different characters, and beating 150 enemies in one minute…

Beating 150 in under a minute is impossible, but thankfully there are time-increasing power-up drops. It took me about 20-30 attempts before I managed to pull this off out of sheer luck, but I included a video and something of a guide for doing this down in the tips section below.

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Fibers of Fury Trophy.

Next was 100-Man Brawl as there was a trophy for beating 100 COVERS in less than 100 seconds (1 minute 30s). I expected this to be a challenge but it was actually one of the easiest trophies in this phase so I’m glad that was the case.

Moving on, there is an endless brawl mode… For this one, I had to defeat 1000 COVERS in a single brawl. I did this using the same Nonon method mentioned for the 1-minute brawl trophy. It wasn’t difficult or stressful but it took about 30 minutes of essentially repeatedly pressing blank. When I was done with that, I let myself die so that I could move on, before remembering there’s a trophy for killing 5000 COVERS in total.

Honestly, what a crap trophy to add in. As if I didn’t waste my time being bored enough to get 1000 I had to get 5000 in total?

Well, I knew that I’d killed at least 1000 in endless mode, the trophy for killing 1000 in total popped while I was doing my 1-minute brawl attempts, and I’d played a few rounds with other characters, I estimated I was at around 3000 COVERS, but I was actually at 4000, as the trophy popped after I killed 1015 more in a single Endless run.

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Developers need to find better ways to extend their gameplay than with rubbish trophies like this one.

Versus Mode

By this point, the game had made me do a ton of grinding for the trophies and I was getting insanely bored and just fed up with it, but I still had 100 rounds of versus mode to go. I mean, wow, this game has a really crappy trophy list.

So, first, I had to beat a three-star opponent with 10 different characters. Easy enough, I thought.

I set the opponent to the lowest handicap, gave myself the highest and then kicked Mako’s ass 10 times in a row with 10 different characters… No trophy.

It was at this point that I actually looked at the trophy description properly and saw that I couldn’t abuse the handicap setting, they had to be equal to me or stronger. I don’t know why I didn’t check this beforehand, you’d expect that I might, but I didn’t.

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These are the correct settings to use.

So, 10 more rounds with us both at max handicap (just made the fights quicker). It actually wasn’t that hard at all which I am grateful for.

By this point, I was so done with this game, and I could not be bothered playing another 80 rounds. So, I have myself minimum handicap, gave the opponent max handicap, set them to three-star difficulty and then put the controller down.

I’d hit blank a few times to skip cutscenes and press “retry” every time they beat me but other than that I was playing Animal Crossing on my Switch.

An hour and a half later and the AI had only just managed to beat me about 40 times. Meaning there were still 40 more matches to go. So I picked up the controller, deciding I’d had enough of a break and I was just going to expedite the whole thing. 

Each match took about a minute and a half with all the loading and menus included, but it was a lot quicker than the 3-5 minutes the AI was taking to beat me while I was idle so it’s better than that at least.

About an hour later, I was finally done and the platinum popped. If you’re planning to plat this game, be prepared. Bring a podcast or something, it gets so boring.

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The trophy name is a reference to the series’ catchy main theme.

Time Breakdown

Story Campaign and S-Ranks

COVERS challenges

Versus Mode

Survival Mode

Kill la Kill -IF- Trophy Tips

There are only two trophies which prove to be really difficult in Kill la Kill -IF-, but with the right approach, they can be made pretty simple. 

I’ve included video guides below (with text guides for people like me who hate using video guides) which should help you with these two trophies, as well as a few others just because the strategies are multi-purpose.

Fibers of Fury Trophy Strategy

Fibers of Fury is particularly difficult because there’s no way you could ever get 150 kills in just 60 seconds. The only way to do it is by collecting item pick-ups which have a chance of being dropped whenever you kill a COVER. 

However, there are a few different possible drops so there’s a small chance of you ever getting the items which increase your time (they look like a small boxing bell on a cushion). When I actually finally succeeded in earning the trophy, it was due to insane luck, which is something you’re going to have to pray for too.

If you do, indeed, check out the video below, you’ll notice that I had a steady stream of time-increase item drops. So many, in fact, that I managed to get over 200 kills before my time ran out. 

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I rolled trips.

As well as this, though, you’re still going to want a good strategy which will allow you to kill a lot of enemies in a short amount of time and the best way to do that is by using Nonon Jakuzure.

Simply keep spamming her blank attack to kill many enemies in a straight line ahead of you. It can be very frustrating because the camera seems to fix on whichever COVER is closest to you, so you’ll need to move around a bit to try and force the game to lock onto the right enemy for maximum impact, as there’s no way to manually change who you’re targeting!

After about 5 decent blank attacks you should have 50% SP charged up, so move close to an enemy on the left side of the group and then press blank+blank to trigger a big sweeping move, which will arc clockwise (hence needing to target an enemy on the left). 

There are a maximum of 20 enemies on-screen at a time so if you do it correctly you can take out all 20 at once. Meaning you’d need to do this about 6-8 times before time runs out.

You will also want to be picking up ALL collectibles. The knuckle dusters make you kill enemies much faster and the syringes make the SP bar charge faster. 

You may also see a Croquette on the rare occasion that one spawns, you will definitely want to grab that as there is a trophy for finding 15 in total.

Check out the video for a look at how the strategy is pulled off:

This strategy can – and should – also be used to help you with the trophies for killing 1000 Covers in a single run, killing 5000 Covers in total, earning 100,000 GP and finding 15 Mystery Croquettes. But, do those in Endless Brawl mode.

Not a Stitch Out of Place Trophy Strategy

Not a Stitch out of place is perhaps the most stressful trophy in the game, as you need to complete 50 fights in a row in survival mode without losing once. Your health bar only refills by a tiny amount after each fight so you need to avoid getting hit too much, and enemies grow stronger over time. 

You will start against no-star enemies, who will become one-star enemies at around wave 20. By wave 40 you’ll be fighting 2-star enemies but you won’t need to worry about 3-star enemies as they don’t come in until long after the 50th round.

However, if you use Mako, enemies will stay at no-star difficulty until wave 40, when they will become one-star enemies. This makes things a lot easier.

As well as this, there’s a pretty great method for ploughing through these fights when using Mako.

At the start of a match, press blank and then blank again to get in close, then begin mashing blank while pushing blank towards the enemy. This will start a long combo which ends with Mako landing multiple hits and then launching the enemy backwards. 

By this point, you should have enough SP to hit blank + blank to trigger Blood Valour, which you can easily win by using the tips in the section below. Keep this up until you’re Blood Valor level 3 and can use a Sen-i-Soshitsu move to quickly end all future matches.

Use the same combo at the start of every round to fill your SP bar (the combo can easily be repeated if the bar doesn’t get filled right away) and then as soon as that blank + blank combo ends, press blank + blank to trigger Sen-i-Soshitsu and earn your victory!

This can easily be done for every round, though it gets a bit more difficult towards the end.

The video below includes a tutorial on pulling off the combo as well as an example of when things can really start to go wrong, which I tried to make entertaining for you:

How to Win Blood Valor!

As I’ve mentioned before, the Blood Valor rock-paper-scissors events are very difficult to win because it’s completely random. There is, unfortunately, no solid set-in-stone method for winning this absolutely every time, but there are a few things to consider which will help you win:

  • The enemy AI seems to be able to read your input. This is totally unfair, but whatever. Just wait for the enemy to enter their choice and then press blank
  • The enemy usually only chooses blank or blank so you’re very likely to either win or tie with them – both of which will give you a new Blood Valor level – as long as you press blank (you will still lose every now and then, unfortunately).
  • If you’re playing against a human, try to read what they need. If they need health they will probably press blank, if they don’t they will probably press blank. If you initiated the blood valor, then don’t choose anything you clearly need. If you clearly need health, then press blank as this will hurt them when they press blank to try and beat your blank input. Mind-games ensue!

That concludes my Kill la Kill -IF- platinum trophy review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

Feel free to check out some of our other anime fighter reviews for games which might suit you better, such as Seven Deadly Sins or Senran Kagura (Definitely NSFW).

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Play

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Given how great of an anime Kill la Kill is, fans of the series should absolutely check this out, just for the fun of playing as some of these fantastic characters. However, as a plat, it is a boring and quickly-stale grind-fest not worth the time it takes to complete. That said, it is pretty short if you want to give it a go.

Pros

  • Anime art style is well-executed
  • Control scheme is simple and approachable

Cons

  • Too much RNG involved in much of the gameplay
  • Trophy list involves a lot of repetition and grinding which spoils the fun
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Silver Trophy

It’s far from the best Anime fighter I’ve played and could definitely have been done bigger and better, so it just gets a Silver from me. A shame really, as the Anime is an absolute classic.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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