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I previously reviewed DOOM when it came out last year. You can read that review here. Today I want to look at some of the ways DOOM has changed and improved.

I had said that the biggest strength of the game was the single player mode and while I still believe that is true, I do feel a lot of work has gone into the multiplayer to make it work a lot better. It still isn’t perfect, but the DLC and the patches have gone a long way to take a game whose online was mediocre at best, and greatly improve it. It feels smoother, more fluid and the a.i. bots just work well. They saw what wasn’t working, took fan feedback and went to work on making it better. I can actually enjoy it a lot more now and would recommend trying it out.

The various additional modes and changes added to the game for single player also stand out. It is simple stuff like Arcade Mode that just gives the game a ton of replayability and increases the fun. Bethesda and id Software realized what the fans were really there for and gave it to them in great detail. They also added options to make the game feel even more like classic Doom while still keeping everything modern. It was classy, and it was well done.

Speaking of giving the fans what they want, SnapMap has had the biggest improvements. While it always had good content, there was no doubt that it was mainly there to help multiplayer.  id Software did a great job revamping it and allowing fans to use it in a manner much more like classic Doom mods. There is so much more variety now and the replay value is now bottomless. This was the best thing that could have been done, and I give major props to Bethesda and id Software for taking the time to overhaul SnapMap and allowing it to reach its true potential. Stuff like that makes gaming fun,

Overall, the changes made to DOOM since its release have been for the better. The game was amazing then and is even more amazing now. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should do so!

 

By John Kinsella On 17 Apr, 2017 At 10:17 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The world of games certainly is changing and indie games are becoming better and better. It is no surprise then that the fantastic folks at Tequila Works have put out another great indie game. The Sexy Brutale which follows the Groundhog Day-Esque story of Lafacadio a priest out to help those in need is truly a great one. This game is unlike other games I have played recently, but it fit it with my time as I have also been playing other games.

The idea that this game also takes place in a casino resort where everyone wears masks is pretty cool. The characters all have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, and you really don’t know who you should root for. In a bare bones sense, this game is a murder mystery, with the main character hoping to uncover the culprit. Now as the characters all wear masks, there is already a sense of distrust. Could one of these weirdos actually be the killer, or is something out there in the darkness really doing it all?

Playing through a decent chunk of the game, I’m still unsure, but it is certainly something I am enjoying. The characters are completely their own person, and it will certainly take some more discovery to figure out this mystery. The thing that really does make this game stand out is the fact that, you do relive the same day, in hopes of discovering the truth. Now, the puzzles aren’t to be taken lightly but, as I have no intention of spoiling them for you, just know it is a challenging game.

Lafcadio certainly does need help, and if you play this game, I’m sure you will help this poor man. All he wants to do is to help find out who is killing all of these people. Just don’t let yourself overstep your bounds, or you will certainly wake up at the start of the day once more.

Hopefully, you think of this game as highly as I have. It doesn’t come out until tomorrow, but if this has piqued your interest at all, it is certainly worth buying. The Sexy Brutale comes out on April 11th on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. For the purposes of this review, I did play on the PS4 and it was a great gaming experience.

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First person shooters often fall into the usual traps that leave them feeling stuck in a rut. Bulletstorm was a game that tried to offer something different but went unnoticed. It was over the top and it was insane, but just didn’t catch on.

Now a remake has come in the form of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. Its prettier, runs better and has the preorder bonus of being able to play the game as Duke Nukem.  I will not lie, that is what attracted me to the game, and I played it as the Duke. But is this a good game? And does Duke fit in well?

Bulletstorm knows what it wants to be. It is all out action, insane destruction and full of hype. The weapons were great, the visuals stand out far better and best of all, the game runs well on most PC, and is optimized well. The story had some stupid moments, but that was part of the charm. But most people want to know the important part. How was the game when you played as Duke Nukem. Well, if you couldn’t guess from the title of the review, this plays as a much better Duke Nukem game than Duke Nukem Forecer did.

Duke Nukem just fits right into the game. The dialogue doesn’t change really aside from Duke remarking about how he is n a new situation, and reacting to people calling him by the name of the game’s actual protagonist. It is actually funny how they handled it. Duke still does feel like a bit of a relic from the past, and his dialogue is cringe worthy at times. This is annoying given that games like Shadow Warrior show that this type of character can be done well in the modern day. It feels like the writers refuse to make Duke more up to date. He doesn’t need to lose his personality, but as stated, Shadow Warrior took a similar character and made him hilarious in modern games but focusing his character in a certain way.

Bulletstorm is fun. There is no debate about that. There is the occasional framerate drop and screen tear, but it isn’t too much of an issue. No, for me the main issue was something else altogether, I played with both mouse and keyboard and an Xbox One controller, and noticed some issues. Some FPS games I play on PC feel great with the controller, and even manage to keep the same feeling as the mouse and keyboard. Bulletstorm doesn’t have that feeling on PC. At least not yet. The controls didn’t feel mapped out well at times, and trying to do certain actions just got frustrating. As a result I had to use the mouse and keyboard. I like to use both normally and switch things up, so this was disappointing.

Overall, I did like Bulletstorm. Its a fast paced game, with great combat, and the addition of Duke Nukem was inspired. I think this is worth looking into, even without the Duke Nukem mode, which will probably be available to all as DLC later.

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I have always loved pinball. Ever since I was a child, I have loved pinball machines and pinball videogames. Maybe it was playing NES pinball, or Alien Crush, I just found a love of both the machines and the video games. As such, I was a big fan of Zen Studios work. I hadn’t played some of their new boards in years, but one set that stood out above all others was their Bethesda pack.

Imagine taking Fallout 4, DOOM and Skyrim and turning them into pinball games, and at the same time retaining almost everything about the games. These are not just Bethesda themed pinball boards, they are the games fully adapted into pinball games, complete with game mechanics and identity.

Skyrim Pinball is nothing short of amazing. It retells the story of Skyrim through pinball and stays true to the game. It has the iconic music, it has leveling up and boss battles, and you have to watch your health and stamina at all times. You will go through dungeons, you will pick up loot and sort through and inventory and even craft items. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of detail put into the game. Yes its a stripped down version, but the essence is all still there. I had to be pulled away from the game just to be reminded that I had other obligations, that is how into it I got. The Skyrim board alone makes this worth getting. But it isn’t the only board.

DOOM Pinball was like getting hit with sensory overload in the best way possible. Great music, great visuals, good enemies and fights, I would never have thought it possible but it works. This follows the basic storyline of the new game and incorporates several elements from it, all done in the best way possible to keep the feeling despite the different format. I will even go so far as to say, that this particular board felt like more of a sequel to Alien Crush Pinball than the actual sequel for the Wii did .

Fallout Pinball is where things fell a bit short. I admit this may be because I am not extremely familiar with the Fallout games as much as others, but it felt like adapting many elements just got in the way. With Skyrim and Doom inventory and battles felt fluid and easy even if it took a while to get used to. With fallout, it felt way too clunky at times, but I can still appreciate the work done on this. The visuals are amazing and the music was good, but to me this just felt like the weak entry.

Overall, I would definitely give this a look at. My issues with the Fallout board likely have to do with my unfamiliarity with Bethesda’s entries, and fans might will like it. The other two boards however, were nothing but awesome. DOOM and Skyrim individually would make the purchase worth it, as they are some of the best pinball boards ever made. Fun, exhilarating and with an amazing amount of detail, these will suck you in fast.

I fully recommend checking this out.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 Mar, 2017 At 09:57 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Chaos Code was a fighting game that was too big and yet too small for its own good. That may sound strange but its true. The game had so much too offer, but not enough modes to make it viable for a strong competitive scene.

Chaos Code : New Sign of Catastrophe for the PS4 is an enhanced port of the game that serves to fix the problems that held the original release back. It somewhat succeeds at this, while maintaining what made the original release fun. The fighting is intense and fast paced, yet isn’t as hard to learn as it might seem. Playing this with my Hori Fightpad was a great experience and I took to the controls right away. Playing locally and the arcade mode was a fun time and gave me a high opinion of the game.

I love the art style and visuals. They are flashy but not too intense and give the game a great look that fits it well. The music and sound effects are great, with audio that fits the gameplay for the most part, although some of the voiceovers are…awkward to say the least. As stated above, the controls are fluid and easy to learn. I was pulling off intense moves in a very short time, and that made the experience much more satisfying for me.

But it isn’t all sunshine however, as there was one major issue that ruined much of my experience. That problem was the fact that I was unable to connect online for any matches whatsoever. This was not an issue on my end, as I hoped into online matches in some other fighting games. I only had a problem here, and as such, I cannot review the online. I really wanted to see how it played but it simply did not work at all for me.

Chaos Code : New Sign of Catastrophe is a great game with what it has available, but the issues with the online features really hurt it in my opinion. I really hope to see this get patched soon, as I don’t feel right leaving this as a full review considering I cannot play online for whatever reason. As such, I will re-review the game once the online works well. For what is playable though, it is a great experience. Just be aware that the multiplayer has issues. If you play locally primarily, then you wont have a problem, and there is single player content as well, so there is still something for most players. The problems with the online is just a major flaw I cant look past however. I know some people were able to play online with no issues, but every time I tried to play over the last few days, I had this issue. As such, I cannot recommend this just yet.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 17 Feb, 2017 At 01:13 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Nioh has had a long road to get to where it is now. Originating as a film project by the late Akira Kurosawa it eventually became a game by Koei ( later Koei Tecmo) but it was filled with development problems from the start. Finally, the game was given to Team Ninja who not only completed it, but crafted a fine experience. Nioh tells the story of William Adams, based on the real life sailor of the same name who went to Japan and was appointed a samurai by the Shogun. Adams was a fascinating man in real life, and his visit to japan had longstanding ramifications for the country, but that is not what we are here to talk about.

Nioh, the game, is a beautiful piece of work. This was evident from the first taste of the game people received, but Team Ninja just kept making it better. While some call this a Dark Souls clone, that is not fully accurate. It does take some influence from those games, but it also borrows elements from other series like Onimusha and Team Ninja’s own Ninja Gaiden. This is a very story driven game and that is apparent from the start. Before I played, I wondered why the developers made William an Irishman in the game, considering the historical Adams was English and there was cultural tension between the groups. But upon playing the game, I realized that the game takes not only from Japanese lore and mythology but also from elements of Celtic lore and myth. The similarities between the two cultures are played up and that was a nice touch.

But enough about that, let’s get to the gameplay. This is indeed a difficult game much like everyone says, but it is also extremely rewarding. You have to plan your every move and factor in your ki, but there are times where the game brings in some action elements unlike other similar games. It helps give Nioh a unique identity and feeling and that is appreciated.  The different weapons and armor systems as well as the spirits must be balanced properly and this can be a struggle at first. But if you keep at it and realize what the game has to offer, this becomes one of the most enjoyable games ever played.

Visually the game is stunning and you can choose to have better visuals and a locked at 30 framerate or try for 60 fps but lose some visual quality at the expense of other visual enhancements. I do not have the PS4 Pro so I cannot comment on the boost the game gets from that hardware. I can comment that Nioh has some haunting music and excellent battle themes.

All in all, Nioh is amazing. With numerous historical domain characters including Yasuke, the historical black Samurai, who encounters William, to Hattori Hanzo and even more, the game weaves an excellent tale. It even takes the time to throw you for a loop more than once and shows that the developers did their research into history and mythology.

In conclusion, I give this my highest recommendations. This game is just absolutely excellent!

No GravatarThe following is an opinion piece and only reflects the author’s views and not neccesarily that of the rest the Real Otaku Gamer staff.

 

2016 was a big year for gaming. Some new franchises came into being, and some series received amazing sequels. Join me as I list my top ten games of 2016. Just a note, I will only include games that I have actually played, so no Overwatch or Uncharted 4. This list will also include indie games.

10) AVGN II ASSimilation

Angry Video Game Nerd adventures was a brilliant indie game and spoof of bad retro games. AVGN 2 picks up where the first game left off and builds on it to make a game that is bigger and better in everyway. A full worldmap, a lot more levels, new powerups and ecouraging of replays, and tons of crass humor that just makes you laugh. The game referenced more games, the AVGN movie and even Board James, and is a treat for fans of James Rolfe. I cannot say enough good about this game, it is a brilliant parody of bad games while being awesome in its own right.

 

9) Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

The sole Nintendo game on the list, TMS #FE was a great RPG for a sytem starving for more of that genre. What was thought to be a fusion of Shint Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem’s play styles and elements, it actually turned out to play much more like Persona for the Wii U with the Fire Emblem as the personas and enemies. While some were put off by what the product was, it ended up being one of the best Nintendo games of the last decade. This was a brilliant game with a fun combat system and detailed plot that a player could lose themselves in for hours. This in many ways is a new IP with guest appearances from the FE characters, and hopefully this gets a sequel. Nintendo got themselves a brilliant RPG and this is one to be remembered.

8) King of Fighters XIV

While Street Fighter V got all the attention this year, it was actually SNK’s fighter that was the superior game. A complete experience and not barebones at launch, KOF XIV had something for everyone. It had good signle players modes as well as multiplayer modes, and there as inceintive to play the arcade mode with different teams to unlock secrets. The new characters were mostly fun and engaging and even some of the ones receivess less warmly turned out to be well thought out. SNK has been quick to fix any issues with the game, including fixing the online, and an upcoming patch to upgrade the visuals. As well, they have been evaluating fan interest in DLC characters for the game, so expect to see this title be supported for a while at least. This is perhaps the second best fighting game of 2016.

7)  Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

A late entry into this list, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was a major surprise to me in terms of how much of an upgrade it was over the previous entries. The visuals were bright and beautiful and the game was nothing like I expected. I don’t know why, but I believed this would just be a game on the scale of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, just with better visuals. It turned out to be a dramatic leap for the series and showed that Shantae can be a heavy hitter in gaming. Excellent power-ups, tons of replay value ( with even more coming) and a fun, engaging narrative, made this one of the best indie games of the year.

 

6) Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

The greatest fighting game released in 2016, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator did something so few fighting games do these days, and did as much as it could to make itself accessible. The tutorial was unlike anything else and truly taught you how to play the game. The fighting was top notch and perfected from previous iterations, and the online was much better than ever. In fact the lobby system in the game was extremely innovative and helped make the experience much more worthwhile. While the story mode lacked the English dub of the previous title, it still was a welcome experience and did its job in answering details about the Guilty Gear story. This was just the most refined fighting experience in a long time and needs to be played by all.

5) Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

This game can be best summed up as bigger and better. Bandai Namco took all the positives of the first game while taking a look at what didn’t work, then went about fixing those issues.  The fighting feels more epic, the visuals are far better, and the story mode feels a lot more engaging this time.  With a large amount of characters, including some from Dragon Ball Super, Xenoverse 2 has something for everyone. Even the online is overhauled and this time it feels far more worthwhile to do co-op. It does reuse much of the original game but that isn’t a bad thing. This just feels like a better version of the first game.

4) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

This one caught me by surprise. A game that combined the world of Digimon, with the design and feel of the Persona series, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a bold departure for the series. This game is one that I would recommend not only for Digimon fans, but also non-fans, as it is extremely accessible to all. The game feels like nothing else Bandai Namco has done with the Digimon series yet and I want more of this.  A detailed story, deep combat system and likeable characters, Cyber Sleuth has a lot to offer players of the RPG genre, especially those who are still waiting for Persona 5. This game was a hidden gem this year and I recommend it for all.

3) Shadow Warrior 2

This one is good. The previous Shadow Warrior was a game that helped get first person shooters out of the rut they were stuck in. It successfully revived the series while not compromising on what the original was, and made it a great experience. Shadow Warrior 2 makes the first game seem like a tech demo in comparison. Everything is on a grander scale, with vastly improved graphics and combat. The game uses a procedural generated level system to ensure no two replays are the same and it is better for it. This time around, there is a co-op mode that allows you to team up with 3 others and coordinate your playthrough differently. The best part about that is that the gameplay is scaled for co-op so it is never too easy or too hard. Also important is that the game does not act condescendingly towards people who play on easier settings. That is something that is sadly not common anymore.

2) Dishonored 2

Dishonored was an amazing game but this one takes it to the next level. Dishonored 2 is an epic experience that offers so much more than the previous entry. You can play as Emily or Corvo, with both having unique playstyles. This allows for a lot more replay value, especially when you are given multiple ways to play with those characters. The visuals are far better and the overall presentation is excellent. Even the music is great and helps bring you deeper into the gameplay. This is the best stealth game released in a very long time, if not ever and the action elements are so expertly woven in, that it just feels completely natural to shift to attacking. The various abilities you get in the game just make you feel like a badass and that is a welcome feeling. The game brings so much to the table that I cannot say enough good things about this

1) DOOM

The absolute best game of the year bar none ( that I’ve played), DOOM shows you how to revive a classic IP. We were all worried about this game based off the beta, which only showed the multiplayer, as well as the fact that the game wasn’t given to critics in advance. The fears were for naught luckily as DOOM is amazing. Fast paced shooting, with gory action, yet a well developed character who doesn’t need to say anything. The game perfectly marries story telling and gameplay into one in a better way than Half Life ever did, and the result is amazing.  This just feels like a proper return to form, not only for the Doom series but for the FPS genre in general. Many have been too dragged down in storytelling or rote gameplay, but DOOM shows the right way to do it. An amazing soundtrack that really gets your heart pumping for battle, and an amazing arsenal that keeps things fresh. The game’s SnapMap function also brings a form of modding to consoles, as well as giving you an endless amount of content to play through. Bethesda and Id software have been consistently updating the game with both free updates and DLC and all of it is welcome. This is an absolute must play for everyone.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Dec, 2016 At 10:10 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Wild Guns is a classic game on the Super NES. One of the most bizarre mashups of genres, it proved to be an enduring gem that is still loved to this day. Natsume has now made a modern redo of the game for the PlayStation 4 as Wild Guns:Reloaded, and after purchasing it and playing for a while, I am conflicted.

The game has gorgeous sprite work and animation, and the music is amazing. Both feel like they are out of the SNES game, but to be more precise, they feel like how we remember the SNES game, versus how it actually looked and sounded. The soundtrack captures the weird west feel of the game, and the new characters and features of the game look great in the animation. Where I have issues with the game is in the controls.

The game just felt awkward to control, and that the setup was counter-intuitive. With characters like Clint, I had a difficult time playing due to the control scheme, whereas Bullet the dog seems made for people like me, who have trouble adjusting to the controls. I did spend more than a few hours playing and did start to get the hang of it, but I feel compelled to warn you that this game does take some effort to learn and you can not just jump into it.

Once you get past the control scheme and get into the game, you will need to do one thing. You must prepare to die over and over again because this is a hard game. And I like that. The difficulty isn’t because of the control scheme ( although that really doesn’t help matters at all) but because Natsume wanted to make this a challenging game. There is a ton of new content to this version and all of it really helps the weird west idea the game has. These range from horror themed levels to more steampunk themed levels. As stated, Bullet the Dog is a great new addition, especially for players who have difficulty adjusting to the control scheme. In fact, I must recommend using Bullet when first starting, since he helps you ease your way into the game and learn how to do things. He uses a drone to attack and can be easier to dodge with as well as attack enemies. Doris, the other new character, also has a great style involving explosives, although she takes some time to learn to use effectively.

You will die a lot, but once you learn how to progress without dying, you will find the game passes by very fast. That said, even though this is a short game, it is one that heavily encourages replay. This can be off-putting for some who want longer games with more content however, and that is understandable. That plus the confusing control scheme that takes a while to learn and intense difficulty, can be off putting to most players.  As well some may not like the fact that the game has SNES style visuals and a preserved soundtrack, although others like myself prefer this in the game. This is not a game for everyone and that needs to be said. I cannot recommend this for everyone but I can recommend this for people who like retro scifi games and are willing to put the effort in to learn and persevere with the gameplay. This is a hard game, and I am conflicted over its positives and negatives, but I do feel that if you can overlook the negatives, or can adjust to the control method and do not mind hard games that encourage replay, then give this a shot.

 

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Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was in development for a number of years. Funded via kickstarter and paypal donations, the game was incredibly ambitious in scope, but kept getting delayed. Many were worried that the game would end up being another kickstarter disaster, but after just five minutes of playing, I realized that the game was more than worth the wait.

Shantae HGH is a beautiful game, that must be stated. Forget how the series has looked in the past, this game is gorgeous beyond belief. The videos and screenshots do not do this game justice, the game has to be seen to be believed. The animation is so water-like and with a buttery smooth framerate, it looks unbelievable.  The music is also far above the previous games, with fully voiced tracks right from the very beginning ( and what a start it was), and throughout the game the music stays amazing. Some of the best video game music of 2016 is in this game right here and that is saying something.

Gameplay is similar but also a little different to previous Shantae games. The game is less metroidvania ,and more linear and stage based., but replaying levels multiple times is greatly encouraged, especially since you can only access certain areas of the levels once you have the appropriate power-ups to go where you need. Shantae still attacks with her hair, which can be upgraded repeatedly, and she can use power-ups as well as magic to make things easier for herself. In fact, it is not smart to go into some of the boss battles without some attack magic. Speaking of bosses, they are amazing in this game and range from quirky to epic encounters, all of which are memorable ones.

With an amazing level design, and creative bosses and enemy A.I., Shantae : Half-Genie Hero has a lot going for it, but that is not all. The game still has that quirky sense of humor that the previous games had, but the story just makes it shine so much brighter. No spoilers here, but this entry in the series has the best writing yet by far. WayForward Technologies set out to create the ultimate Shantae game and they did. I honestly cannot find faults with it at this moment. If I did not recommend this, I would be an idiot.  Buy it now!

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 6 Dec, 2016 At 11:19 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatargarouSNK is a legendary company and have produced many amazing games, especially fighting games. One game that is held to be the peak of their greatness is Garou Mark of The Wolves. The last canonical entry in the Fatal Fury series, Garou was often compared to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike from Capcom, perhaps as part of the ongoing rivalry between the two companies. MOTW brought many innovative ideas to the genre and was greatly acclaimed and is now back on PlayStation 4 and Vita. But does it hold up? Or is this another game that was good for its time and better left in the past?

Well I am pleased to say that after spending the day play Garou MOTW, I can safely say the game is actually better than I remember it being. Garou is one of the best designed fighting games ever made and a technical masterpiece. The game is one that anyone could learn but it requires effort to master. It is far more accessible that 3rd strike but just as technical. New ideas such as the Just Defended, the  T.O.P. System, and Breaking brought a lot of variety to the table and made the game stand out more. the technical aspects of the game hold up great and I spent a lot of time playing through the game, re-familiarizing myself with it and enjoying myself the entire time. The fun factor is still there. the game is designed to bring you in and give you the means to get better while having you do the work yourself. it doesn’t hold your hand but it doesn’t just throw you into the pool and leave you to survive on your own.

Garou MOTW has a great art style that still looks great today and  it really shines on an HD TV set. The music is amazing and the game allows you to go into Music Menu to listen to character and stage themes when you want to. You will want to do that because the music is just that amazing.

The game has a great cast of characters, most of whom could really use another appearance, especially protagonist Rock Howard, Terry Boggard’s adopted son. Some have been making appearances but most have been held for a potential Garou 2 which hasn’t happened yet, but SNK does want it to be a reality.

There are some issues. The online has some delay and I did encounter issues getting matches, but I am confident that SNK will fix this considering how much effort they have put into fixing King of Fighters XIV. Aside from that, the port is amazing.

I would definitely recommend this game to SNK fans and fighting game fans in general. This is one of the best ever made.