All Hail The King: The King of Fighters XIV Review (PS4)
By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Aug, 2016 At 07:20 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The King of Fighters XIV has arrived at last. After I wrote my impressions of the demo, I was excited to see how the full retail game would hold up and I was not disappointed. Fighting games are a genre I love and this game might just be one of the best I have played in a very long time.

First let me just say that the music in this game is nothing short of incredible. The themes are varied, but almost all are amazing and songs that you can just listen to repeatedly. My personal favorites are Antonov’s theme and Team Art of Fighting but again, almost all ( with one or two exceptions) are great. SNK did such a great job with the audio in this game and I must commend them on making some of the best music I have ever heard in a fighting game.

Now onto a low point. The visuals really are not the best for a PlayStation 4 game. They do not look up to snuff, this is undeniable. That said, when seen in motion live on a TV screen as you play, they look much better than when seen on YouTube videos or Twitch streams. They are not perfect but are very serviceable and the cinematics are actually very well done I must say.

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Now let us discuss the gameplay. The 50 characters you can play as ( 48 at first, but you can unlock the sub boss and final boss) are extremely diverse characters. While you can play as the given teams, you will likely pick characters to make the team that fits you best. The characters almost all have distinct abilities and attack patterns and experimenting with the different characters is a fun experience. Personally my favorite team is Team Art of Fighting, as I just enjoyed their fighting style and playing as them.  Other standouts to me were Alice, Kukri, Nelson and Meitenkun from the new characters, and Geese and Billy Kane and Ralf Jones from returning characters. These were the characters that were the most fun to play as and the ones I found the most interesting. There are definitely some balance issues, with certain characters being much better than others  (I am not talking in terms of tiers here) but there is a day one patch that will change some things when the game launches so maybe the characters will end up more balanced after launch.

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The game brings in mechanics like Just Defend and a new version of Max Mode. This new version of Max Mode also brings a new combo system that can only be done while in Max Mode, Climax Super Special Moves. The game also introduces the Rush system, where hitting light punch repeatedly can trigger automatic combos. If you have meter, you will perform more powerful combos and if you are in max mode, you will unleash an extremely powerful attack. This is a great way to open the game to newcomers and casual fans, and in fact the game seems to actively try to be welcoming to more players. It has an excellent tutorial, good single player content with missions and an arcade mode, with online training offering more ways for a new player to learn how to do well at this game.

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Speaking of online, the netcode in this game is improved from previous King of Fighters games. It isn’t as perfect as some other fighting games out there, but is a vast improvement over what existed in the series beforehand. The day one patch for the game might cause some changes to the online, but as of now I think it is okay. It could stand to be improved and maybe that day one patch will fix some of the issues people have been having and SNK has shown they are listening, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the online.

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Story mode is essentially the arcade mode, since the story is told via interactions between characters before fights. The fights are arranged in an arcade ladder and not all characters have interactions. You will need to play a few times to get all the interactions, and some characters you might think would interact with each other, do not interact at all and vice versa. There are some cinematics that take place at certain intervals between fights. Normally they all play the same way but a few will play differently depending on the team you are using. The game’s endings really help to establish what is going on in this new saga of The King of Fighters and some will truly surprise you in many ways. The interactions can affect the way you play and also encourages replayability so I commend SNK again on this,

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The game is not absolutely perfect, given that there are a few hiccups with the online (which I believe are being worked on) and the visuals are somewhat lacking, but the game has a true charm that others do not. This is a game I can see myself coming back to play over and over, especially if I just want to play a fighting game for a little while, or if I want to play a fighting game competitively. Would I recommend this? Oh I most certainly would. This is a fighting game that stands proud and is worthy of your time. I give this a high recommendations to play!

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