Recently I had the chance to sit down and play the demo for The King of Fighters XIV. I haven’t played a King of Fighters game in years and have been worried about getting back into the series. Judging from what I played in the demo however, it seems I should not be worried at all.
First of all, getting into the game felt extremely natural; I was debating using my fightpad or a PS4 controller, and I decided on the PS4 controller. The controls worked great and I was able to learn the game very fast. There is an excellent tutorial mode in the game and it is one of the best in fighting games for four button games. The game taught me how to do the moves and attacks and made it go smoothly. From there we go to Max Mode and Rush Combos. Max Mode is an interesting addition where you can perform many more EX moves for a limited time, as well as pulling off moves that can only be done in this mode. It took me a while to get used to but once I did, it felt great and I was able to pull off some great EX moves. Rush Combos are single button combo chains and are designed with newcomers and casuals in mind. This is an excellent addition as it helps people who might otherwise be intimidated by fighting games, slowly ease their way into the genre with this game. Visually it isn’t the most amazing game, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for in technique. From a technical standpoint, this game is solid and built great and is one of the better designed fighting games in recent years.
Now for character impressions. A good character for newcomers to try when starting out would be Mai as she has moves that can be learned quickly and adjusted to fast. Mai is one of the better characters in the demo and I was able to have some great matches with her. She can be a very fun character and is clearly designed to be user friendly ( being one of the faces of the series and all), so my suggestion is to start with her.
Side Note: I will only discuss the characters I played as in the demo, ( Mai, Shun’Ei , Nelson, King of Dinosaurs and Sylvie Paula Paula . I did not spend time with Kyo and Iori yet)
From there I went to Nelson. I have always liked Boxer characters in fighting games and so felt right at home with Nelson. His gameplay is not the best for beginners but can be learned with enough time. He is a character worth learning because when played right, he is a lot of fun. To use him well, you need to know the right time when to use his speed and not just attack constantly. At least that’s been my experience, others may differ. I think Nelson will be a character used a lot in tournaments and online once people really learn him. After Nelson, I tried King of Dinosaurs. KoD is very much a Zangief style character albeit more fast paced. I’ve seen some players streaming the demo, pull off amazing moves with him and while I’m still learning the character as of this writing, I can definitely see the hype behind him. After King of Dinosaurs came the character that has had a mixed reaction, Sylvie Paula Paula. Sylvie is one of the characters I had a difficult time learning. She isn’t a bad character by any means but takes a while to get used to. Once I finally figured out the character, I was able to pull off incredible combos. She really does have an excellent move set once you spend time to learn her ( and I’m still learning her). I just wish her character design wasn’t such a divisive one. Finally after Sylvie, I moved on to Shun’Ei. Shun’Ei is the new protagonist of the series for the current story arc beginning in XIV and is a much better protagonist that the previous one, Ash, both in design and play. Shun’Ei takes a bit of time to learn, albeit not as long as Sylvie, and is one of the better characters in the game. Shun’Ei is a character I can see being used a lot online and in tournaments much like Nelson, and he is one of the characters I want to spend more time with to learn everything I can about using.
Over all, I was very impressed with the demo and am very excited and eager to play the full game when it releases. This is what a fighting game from Japan should be and I hope others take notice. if you have not yet checked out the demo, I suggest you do so right away!