Review by WingedRegent
"The rebirth has begun!"
Ever since 1994, the King of Fighters was regarded as a niche type of fighting game, being constantly eclipsed by other fighting games in popularity such as Street Fighter, Tekken, and Soul Blade/Soul Calibur as they each came out and KoF was, therefore, never able to spread into the mainstream of fighting games. However, with its appearance at this year's E3, SNK Playmore made people pay attention to their long running series as people finally began to notice the King of Fighters series for themselves. even earning it a "Best Fighting Game of E3" award. Now, it's time that the King of Fighters has finally hit the next gen.
The gameplay is a mix of old and new mechanics from the KoF Series. The brand new features such as Critical Counter and the new Deflect Counter are nice additions and make for more fast paced action as compared to other KoF games. The gameplay remains in 2D, which in this case, helps the game maintain a great sense of speed and constant movement. The characters in the game are mostly well done and good additions. While some characters that should've been in the game aren't in the game, hopefully DLC will fix that in the future. The fighting system is fast paced and action packed. The only real downside is the Online Play. While there ARE some lagfree matches, for the most part, the online play is laggy and slow, making it sometimes unplayable against anyone with a connection less than Yellow. SNK and Ignition have promised patches to fix this, so we will see what is to come in the future.
The graphics in KoF XII are, simply put, amazing! This is the redesign that the KoF series has been begging for for YEARS and now that it's finally here, it doesn't disappoint. Each character is beautifully rendered with this new hand drawn style and each character feels more alive than ever before in the KoF series. The energy attacks are wonderfully done, the animation running amazingly smoothly and making almost each move a work of art (Mature's Heaven's Gate is a great example). Overall, graphically, this game is a powerhouse.
The sound effects in the game are well done. The blasts and hits all sound painful once they hit, especially the effects of Kyo's Orochinagi and Terry's Power Geyser. The music is decent in the game, although with the game throwing a little tease in the sound test (Esaka '08- A remake of Kyo's Theme), you really wish that they included several other character themes and even played them when you go against that character. A minor gripe and nothing too bad.
The controls in this game are really intuitive. Each control is very responsive and you can even customize each shoulder button to be a different combination of buttons that allowing different techniques to be performed. There is nothing bad to really say about the controls.
This is the game's downside. Aside from trophies and artwork, there are no other unlockables to speak of within the game. This might not be a problem for some gamers, but for gamers who were spoiled with previous KoF Games having unlockable characters, bonus animations, Endless Mode, and Challenges, this WILL present a downside.
This game is a great start to a new generation of KoF. This game is very fun to play and especially fun if you're playing with someone else. The one major thing holding this game back is the current online lag and once that is fixed (hopefully), this game can stand tall as one of the best KoF games ever made.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/03/09
Game Release: The King of Fighters XII (US, 07/24/09)
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