The King of Fighters XIV Review
- PlayStation 4
- NA: August 23, 2016
- JP: August 25, 2016
- EU: August 26, 2016
PROS: Mission mode isn’t as trial heavy as past King of Fighters games. New story mode with different endings giving lots of replay potential. Tutorial mode helps bring new players into the game and learn about different attributes into The King of Fighters games.
CONS: Newer players may have to seek other resources to learn combos for their favorite characters. Story mode becomes repetitive in trying to unlock special endings for each team. Execution heavy, so some players may be deterred.
SNK has returned with the next chapter in The King of Fighters series with The King of Fighters XIV. With a cast of 50 characters, which is 16 teams and two boss characters, The King of Fighters XIV has quite the diverse set of characters, each boasting their own unique fighting style and set of skills.
Not only do familiar fighters like Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami, both of who are the centerpieces of the story, appear in The King of Fighters XIV, but we also see the return of characters from older King of Fighters games like Angel, whose last appearance was in KOF2002 and Chang Koehan, who we last saw in KOF2003. The King of Fighters XIV also introduces brand new characters to the scene like Banderas Hattori, who uses a fighting style classified as Brazilian ninjutsu, and Love Heart, who utilizes an energy sword and is part of the sky pirates.
The core gameplay in The King of Fighters XIV has not changed, still maintaining the 3-on-3 team style gameplay, however changes were made in regards to how certain types of moves work. In the previous King of Fighters game, using EX moves, moves performed with both punches, or kicks, required a stock of super meter. In The King of Fighters XIV, in order to do EX moves, you must go in to MAX MODE, which is activated by using Heavy Punch and Light Kick, where you will then have a limited amount of time and stock in which you can do EX moves. MAX MODE also enables characters to cancel a normal attack animation into an automatic dash to continue a combo, but you will only have half of a MAX MODE stock, versus a full one when activated raw. As with most fighting games, the goal is to fight until you incapacitate your opponent, or in the case of KOFXIV, defeating all three of your opponents characters.
The King of Fighters XIV boasts a lengthy story mode, however, there are only special interactions if you use a full team of fighters, like Japan Team consisting of Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikado and Goro Daimon. If you choose to use members from different teams, there won’t be any special interactions later in the game. Some teams also do not have any story mode cutscene interactions. During the game, some matchups will have interactions like Kyo Kusanagi of Japan Team and Shun’Ei of China Team. Outside of that, story mode will take a bit of time to complete for every character, but throughout it, you learn about the man hosting the tournament, Antonov, as well as what brought each character to the tournament.
Outside of story mode and versus, KOFXIV includes a robust tutorial move allowing newer players to learn the nuances of KOFXIV from small jumps and guarding to more in depth tactics such as MAX MODE cancelling and utilizing blowback and guard crushes.
KOFXIV boasts an additional single player mode letting players go through time attack and survival, but also includes a mission mode that helps showcase what each character can do, but doesn’t put you through a gauntlet of missions like KOFXIII. Every character has 5 trials which teach you how to special cancel out of a normal, cancel into MAX MODE or even cancel into Climax Supers. Outside of those trials, players will have to continue their trials and testing in training mode to learn the ins and outs of their favorite characters.
Graphically, KOFXIV has joined the 2.5D train and done away with the drawn sprites from KOFXIII which have caused many to criticize the look and style of KOFXIV, however, as time went on from the initial announcement, SNK has improved the look of the models and adjusted the lighting aspects to give a polished final display.
Overall, KOFXIV is a great return by SNK after the release of KOFXIII in 2010 (Arcade) and can be accessed by players of all skills from new to expert. The training and mission modes allow players to explore deeper into the characters they like, while players who just want to play, can jump right in to story mode.
Overall Rating: 8.8/10
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