It’s time to look at a King of Fighters title! I actually haven’t played too many of the games in this series, but enough at this point where I have a good grasp of the series. Aside from the new PS4 one I played the first Maximum Impact and 2 of the GBA titles. This one is probably the most plot heavy game that I’ve played and that’s not saying a whole lot since it’s just a bunch of Arcade modes like most of the old fighters. The plots do get pretty out there though and I hope that they actually got to finish.
The general plot is that the King of Fighters tournament has been revived. However, this time Geese and Duke aren’t the ones pulling the strings. Instead, an alien warrior is the one who has devised this tournament and he wants to take over the body of whoever wins it. Many fighters enter for various reasons. Terry and Rock decide to check it out because they figure a villain is probably running it so they can make sure that nobody gets hurt. K’ and two other operatives check it out because they figure it might give them a lead as to who has been kidnapping famous scientists from around the world. Another alien warrior has entered so she can put a stop to his plans. One android was payed by the alien to eliminate everyone while another has entered for ice cream. Almost every character has a reason to enter while others have absolutely none so the writers stick them in arcade mode without an actual story. That is incredibly lazy if you ask me though so for the future everyone better have a role.
Naturally this can get repetitive if you decide to beat the game with every character though. There are over 30 after all and for the most part they only get 2-3 cutscenes each so you aren’t going to gain a whole lot compared to the 14 battles that you have to win as each character. You get the opening cutscene, an ending cutscene, and then 2-3 mini cutscenes for the final fight. These can definitely be pretty interesting though and I didn’t expect all of this talk about aliens. The game hints at an impending invasion from the rest of the aliens. I somehow get the feeling that this hasn’t happened yet in the games as it probably would have been a big deal, but it did make this game feel a lot more epic. I prefer a general story mode to character stories whenever possible but at least these were pretty interesting. I’d say that over half of the characters have a good reason to continue on with the tournament.
There was once a time where I would try to beat the game as every single character, but now I just beat it with enough characters to unlock everyone. In this case that number was 14 so it was a decently long campaign. There is still a lot of replay value here though like unlocking all of the stages and costume colors. I don’t care too much about the colors, but the stages would be fun to go for. Collecting them all involves completing all of the missions though which would certainly be very difficult to accomplish. That would buy the game a lot of time as well and it’s not as if the price is too high at this point so it’s a good purchase.
The graphics are pretty solid. The character models are on point. I’m not sure what system they use for it, but it seems like a similar style to the old PS2 Naruto games as the actual models are thrown right into the cutscenes which makes them run smoothly. I also imagine that it makes it easier to add a bunch of cutscenes than if they had to animate them all individually. It works pretty well. Then the soundtrack is also good. It’s a little limited since I don’t have too many of the stages, but the ones that we do have sound pretty good to me. On a technical level this game is on point.
Naturally this is the kind of game that is at its peak when you play multiplayer. Going up against a computer is fun enough of course, but fighting another person really lets you see how far you’ve come. Can you land those easy bake combos on someone who knows how to block? That’s the real question. Each character has a good array of normal attacks and special abilities. I believe each character may have around 5 special attacks or maybe even more. There are a lot of control options here so I wouldn’t be surprised if the game has a really high skill ceiling. You can move up and down the map to an extent to dodge attacks and also use a super speed roll. Button mashing doesn’t work as well as in Street Fighter because not every attack is meant to lead into a combo so sometimes you’ll just trap yourself in lag if you use a slow attack. It does make you think about your best course of action though. By the way, since I didn’t really mention the gameplay style earlier, it’s a 2D fighter like Street Fighter. I’m sure you picked that up by now, but just a heads up in case it wasn’t clear.
Overall, This is a pretty fun fighting game. King of Fighters is still a step behind Tekken and Street Fighter for me as far as the actual game series and story goes, but it’s solid in its own right. Perhaps it would move higher if I actually played more of the games. I am pretty interested in the PS3 titles that came to America and I think I’m missing 2-3 PS2 ones as well. I still don’t think it will ever rise to be the top fighting game series or anything, but I am glad that the series was recently revived on the PS4 and hopefully it will continue strong. The more fighting games the better after all. It’s a rather somber thought, but among by 114 video games on the backburner I don’t think I have any fighting games left. That’s actually pretty scary, but shows how that genre is slowing down compared to the others. It’s probably because one game can last a while so there’s no need for sequels. Just look at Street Fighter V or even FighterZ now. I doubt either of those will get a sequel because they will probably last for a long while.