It’s time to return to the arena! SNK Playmore’s King of Fighters series is making a comeback with a new release in the franchise, and for fans of the series and fighting games in general, this is a huge deal. The King of Fighters 13 was the first release for the franchise in over a decade, and the game was a solid effort that wowed many gamers with its classic fighting gameplay and gorgeous graphics. Unfortunately, it was a bit rough around the edges and was plagued with performance issues from the get go. King of Fighters 14 is a reboot of the franchise designed to return the franchise to its former glory (while fixing the issues from the last game), and it does just that.
The King of Fighters series has been a mainstay of the fighting game genre for decades. While we’ve traditionally seen the series released on consoles, it’s not a stranger to the PC. King of Fighters 14 Ultimate Edition is the newest entry in the series, a port of the 2015 PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 game.
SNK Playmore wasn’t kidding when it said it wanted to bring the King of Fighters franchise back to its former glory, and the updated King of Fighters 14 certainly accomplishes that goal. Though the game is a little rough around the edges, the core gameplay is a ton of fun, and the graphics are gorgeous. The online play is also surprisingly robust and it also supports cross-platform multiplayer between the PS4 and Steam versions.
SNK’s King of Fighters series has a long and glorious history and a place in the hearts of many fighting game fans. The game was released in 1994 on the Neo Geo console and has lost none of its relevance since. In 2016, however, the KoF 14game went 3D for the first time, and the results were impressive. The game still proves impressive nearly four and a half years later. No doubt to whet the appetite for KoF 15, which will be released later this year, the full 14package with all DLC will be re-released as an Ultimate Edition. From a purely statistical standpoint, he’s a tremendous fighter. Fifty-eight characters, including eight fighters from DLC expansions, offer a wide range of fighting styles, and the number of arenas is equally remarkable. Also included are 10 DLC costumes and 10 KoF PS4 themes.
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King of Fighters 14 Ultimate Edition : A modern fight classic returns to the ring
There’s a lot to do here, too. The Story Arcade mode is dedicated to King of Fighters’ latest tournament saga, where everyone fights to become the best and defeat the champion. It wouldn’t be a huge spoiler to say that defeating this normal-sized fighter reveals a real final boss who turns out to be a demonic-looking alien roaming the universe in search of kicks (and punches). There are a few cinematic scenes and dialogue between the fighters at various points, and while nothing threatens to be pompous (or well-written), it’s fun. Tutorials, training and survival modes help players hone their skills, but the heart of KoF 14is of course the online game. Two players can compete against each other locally, but up to 12 players can participate in real tournaments, which is a remarkable feature for most hardcore fighters. King of Fighters has always offered a team approach to three-person combat. You don’t have to use the predefined commands, you can choose three of them. Like most SNK fighting games, KoF uses a simple fighting style with four buttons, light and heavy punches and kicks. Although some fighters focus entirely (or almost entirely) on punches or kicks, depending on their martial arts. On the first try, the game seems to work like Street Fighter or other popular action games, but there are enough differences to make KoF seem more unique. Elements like rush, jerk, crush kick and super meter, as well as different types of jumps, can be combined differently with each character’s skills. The result is a system that takes practice to master, but one that seems relatively familiar and intuitive to beginners. The extensive tutorial mode is a great help in mastering the game and a necessity if you plan to spend a lot of time in online battles. The once so two-dimensional drawing style seamlessly passes into a three-dimensional style. The characters have a nice cartoonish look, they are clearly drawn, brightly colored and very well animated. Also, the game has a lively action rock, the announcers are loud, and the voices of the characters are all Japanese. If you grew up with the original Final Fight and Street Fighter 2 action movies, then King of Fighters has some other notable, albeit unfortunately expected, elements worth mentioning. Mai, the classic ninja from Final Fight , who is so round she can barely stand, has always been the expected element of this austere, twisted design, but many of the female fighters here are just as offensively over-generalized. Of course, SNK is far from the only fighting game maker stuck in an era of designing ridiculous characters that seem to be aimed exclusively at sad teenagers. The problem is that for more mature players who enjoy the gameplay, it detracts from what is otherwise an excellent action movie.
King of Fighters 14 Ultimate Edition –Results
- An incredible list of 58 characters
- A deep combat system that rewards skill, but is not hostile to newcomers.
- Excellent online tournament modes and generally reliable multiplayer.
- Of course, the game is still five years old, and KF 15 is coming up.
- Too many female characters are unnecessarily over-generalized and look scary.
King of Fighters 14 Ultimate Editionis the original game with automatically added DLC. There are no other changes to the base game. If you missed it the first time around, it’s still a good way to get familiar with the series. The online tournaments are of a high standard, and the combat system has many subtleties and nuances. The sheer number of characters offers incredible room for experimentation, although we would have liked the developers to have portrayed the female characters in a more mature way. [Note: SNK provided a copy of King of Fighters 14 Ultimate Edition, which was used for this review].SNK PLAYMORE has announced the company will be releasing a digital-only PlayStation4 and Xbox One version of The King of Fighters ‘14: Ultimate Match on August 23, 2016 in North America. If the title sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a re-release of the improved “Ultimate Match” edition of the company’s latest 3D fighter. This version will feature the updated graphics and game balance tweaks made in the most recent update, as well as the console-specific DLC characters from the 2nd season of DLC characters.. Read more about kof 14 dlc characters and let us know what you think.
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