King of Fighters XIV Review

Developer: SNK – Publishers: SNK(JP), Atlus USA(NA), Deep Silver(EU)
Console: PlayStation 4
Release Date: August 23rd

*Disclaimer* Reviewer was granted a review code from Atlus

For more on Samer’s works, be sure to visit his site and Twitter: Eightbitsamurai & Atelier Samer

My reviews are generally different in comparison to others’ because my values are aligned differently from others and King of Fighters XIV is no different. For example: I despise games that waste my time. After playing Street Fighter V for an extended period of time, my appreciation for games that don’t waste my time has increased drastically. King of Fighters XIV is a breath of fresh air in comparison, so much so that I can’t help but compare the two games.Let me clear: objectively, Street Fighter V is more than likely the better game mechanically. But King of Fighters XIV beats it in so many ways, I can say with some certainty that in this case, I’ll trade mechanic perfection for UX/UI polish.

You start King of Fighters XIV with every character unlocked, with color options for each. So no, you won’t be forced to spend hours in a challenge mode unlocking pallet swaps. Every stage is also available from the outset. When you fight in KOFXIV, intros are swift, and match ends are even quicker. There are no 15 second “YOU LOSE” screens to taunt you after a battle. Couple that with net-code that, quite frankly, spits on Street Fighter‘s, and I can recommend KOFXIV over the latter for those facts alone.

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Luckily, those aren’t the only reasons one should purchase KOFXIV. Even if Street Fighter V has more polished fighting mechanics, we have a competent game on our hands nonetheless. The standard match in KOFXIV is 3 on 3, letting you counter-pick the order your fighters come out at the last second before a battle starts. There are 48(!!!) characters to choose from right off the bat, and they’re each fun to use in their own unique ways. It will be interesting to see which characters shine at the top. All that being said, Hibiki Takane is not playable, and this is an absolute travesty.

Combat is four-button based in comparison to the usual six , with light and heavy punches and kicks at your disposal. The battles themselves are quick and merciless – fight someone better than you, and you may find yourself defeated before you even have a chance to blink.

Of course, this is true of a lot of fighters, but where King of Fighters differs is in its cancel-heavy executions. By letting a combo go on for as long as possible, then activating a special at the last second, you can chain your moves together to do some high levels of damage.

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If you’re a beginner (or don’t want to put too much effort into more dazzling combos), you can essentially mash the light punch button to chain a combo together, including a special move if you have enough energy to pull it off. It can be useful in a pinch, but you’ll want to expand your repertoire if you want to get better online. Unfortunately, KOFXIV, like many other fighting games of its ilk, does not have a great tutorial – at all. It teaches you the absolute basics, and does little to describe when and why certain moves are used. Disappointing, but expected – the search for the “perfect beginner’s fighting game” goes on.

King of Fighters XIV has a story, but you couldn’t pay me to care about it. It’s a tournament, there’s some bad guys, and a ridiculously difficult final boss at the end. I’m not exaggerating that last part, by the
way – my roommate was privy to anger he had never seen in me since we moved in together. As hammy as Street Fighter V‘s story is, or as obtuse as Guilty Gear‘s lore is, both look like East of Eden in comparison. Of course, one usually doesn’t expect an in-depth story from a fighting game, this was a particularly dismal outing.

3on3

Pros:

+ UI/UX Polish

+ Quick Gameplay

+ Huge Roster and Stage Variety

Cons:

–  Graphically inferior

–  Not as mechanically polished

–  No Hibiki

–  Where the hell is Capcom vs. SNK 3

Will King of Fighters XIV topple some of the fighting game kings? Probably not. But it still exists as a perfectly competent, entertaining fighting game, with characters that are fun and battles that are quick. More important than that, this feels like a game that took its time to be developed, and it shows in the gigantic roster, huge variety of stages, and sensible options that are non-existent in other current fighting games. I’ll be slotting this one in with my usual Guilty Gear and Street Fighter V rotations.

Recommend?

A decent fighter

Iori

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