Burn To Fight !!!
King of Fighters returns with a roster of 50 characters, intricate combos and so so graphics.
I declare the 'King of Fighters' open!
King of Fighters has always been a franchise close to my heart, my early years of gaming was spent around a lot of fighter games, Killer Instinct, mortal combat and KoF, to name a few. Unfortunately KoF past is a checkered blemished one with outstanding releases such as The King of Fighters ’94 and abominations such as KoF XI and every last on of those nightmare educing 3D titles, However it seems the 14th time is the charm in SNK’s case as it blends the original great arcade-ey feeling with an up to date intricate fighting system, but at some points, too intricate and the graphics leave quite a bit to be desired.
First things first, the USP (unique selling point) for King of Fighters and what seperates it greatly from it’s rivals is it’s three vs three game, although, unfortunately, unlike Marvel vs Capcom you cannot tag in and out during rounds, which for me, makes it lose some of it’s magic. defeat one of the opponent’s characters and their next selected character will come in to avenge their fallen brother, or sister and when they do the previous victor gains some health back, the amount of which is dependent on how much time was left on the clock when the previous round ended. In the event of a draw, both characters are deemed to have lost, and each player must move on to the next character in line. The aim, as ever, is to be the last fighter standing.
Mechanically and technically, gameplay wise KoF XIV has the capacity to compete with todays main stay of fighting games such as, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct. Intuitively KoF has realised that only satisfying the hardcorest of fighting fans isn’t necessarily the best way to go, thus, enter in, the ‘Rush’ system. It essentially allows players to ‘tap combo’ by pressing Light Punch repeatedly. Each character has a different sequence mapped to these button presses and starting a combo is painfully easy, and on top of that you can add more power by ensuring you have a few levels stocked up on your power gauge so that the final move will be a Super Special.
‘True fighters’ will, (and i’m one of them) be against the removal of skill, and the decrease in the gap of knowledge needed in order to win, however, my blind rage was quelled when I realised that ‘Rush’ combos do significantly less damage than ‘organic’ ones, and therefore any player who soley relies on them will always fight an uphill battle and come out the loser as apposed to someone who has taken the time and effort to learn more elaborate ‘high punish’ sequences.
King of Fighters XIV is very much a new and much needed resurgence to the KOF franchise. It retains all of the hallmarks of the series, from the beautiful backgrounds and giant roster to the challenging combos and large amount to learn, with a few unfortunate downside such as the inability to switch characters, the lack of a real story line and dated graphics. If you’re into the genre and are looking for something that will reward you for putting in time, then SNK’s KoF XIV is for you.