Friday, November 11, 2016

[REVIEW] The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)

The King of Fighters XIV
Played on: PS4
Genre: 2D Fighting
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK / Deep Silver / Atlus

Back when I was getting really into video gaming, 2D fighting was all the rage. It all started with Capcom's Street Fighter II, but soon it was another japanese company that established itself as the absolute master of the genre: SNK. With Capcom's recent ill-advised handling of the latest Street Fighter title, it seems fitting that SNK's premier franchise, The King of Fighters, would end up being the best option for those who want to get a brawl going on the PS4.

Unlike Street Fighter V's reinvent-the-wheel crap, KOF XIV goes absolutely old school when it comes to main gameplay modes. Yes, there is an arcade mode here, and cheap tries to go all cinematographic on the storytelling are nowhere to be seen. There's an excellent local versus mode, too, as well as offline challenges and online multiplayer (although I haven't really devoted time to those last two, as they're just not my thing).

Like traditional KOF titles, battles are mainly done three-on-three (as in: you choose a trio of characters, and control each of them at different points), which has always been one of the series' defining traits, but there's also an option to go simply one-on-one. The roster is a big highlight, as it includes a lot of old favorites, a bunch of cool newcomers (and some not so cool, such as sleepy-Chinese-guy), and also a few SNK characters who were never before on a KOF title, such as Samurai Shodown's Nakoruru and Fatal Fury's Tung Fu Rue.

Controls are responsive and intuitive, and the developers went the extra mile to make the game accessible. For example: a simple sequence of quick, connecting weak hits will automatically develop into a very cool looking, if not necessarily efficient, special combo.

Speaking of combos, my main complaint about the game is that they went perhaps a bit overboard with them. You see, I'm a casual player at heart, and I have no intention of memorizing move priorities or hitbox minutiae. As such, I'm all for mastering character strategies and special moves, but I'm just not interested in chaining ridiculously long combo sequences that all require absolute precision. Seeing how those can end up depleting over half of your opponent's life bar, such moves become an absolute must against even the CPU on higher difficulties. A focus on shorter combo sequences, giving opponents more shots at recovering, would do a lot to make the game feel less like a mathematical chore in these situations.

Capcom dropped the ball big time for me with its Street Fighter V, but leave it to SNK to pick it back up and deliver an excellent fighting experience to everyone, and not only the most hardcore tournament players (even if an overreliance on long combos actualy threatens this premise). A great roster and excellent, responsive controls, along with a smattering of different modes, ensure King of FIghters XIV is so far the best new way to relive the early 90's fighting craze this generation.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have the KOF XIV valid download link? If have, please let me know by using the attached link: