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King of Fighters XIV Review

This month sees the return of The King of Fighters, now in its 14th iteration this is a fighter that’s as hardcore as they come. It may not be quite as well known as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat in the west, but make no mistake, this is a very good fighting game and one that any fan of the genre will likely already take pretty seriously.

As with most games in this genre, King of Fighters is packed with all the options you’d expect. First up theres the Story mode, which sees you fight 10 rounds of 3 on 3 team battles against CPU opponents. Clear the game and you’ll see the team's unique ending. The story is told with some fantastically rendered cutscenes and is so colourful that you can’t help be impressed. 

That not all that's packed into this game though as also included is Versus Mode, in which you fight in a 3 on 3 team battle or a 1 on 1 single battle. This is obviously a lot of fun when playing co-op with a friend, something that seems to have been lost in a lot of games as the focus switches to more and more to online only.

Elsewhere in the game you can also try your hand at Mission mode, which basically gives you three different styles of gameplay to choose from. First up is Trial, which sees you try your hand at clearing a set of challenges for each character. Time Attack meanwhile has you compete in CPU battles with set regulations and lastly is Survival, where you battle against the CPU, seeing how many opponents you can defeat.

Of course there is also a Tutorial and Training mode and finally, the ability to go online and either play in a ranked match, free match or even some online training, where you just head into a room and battle your friend as much as you like. There’s even a new Party Battle Mode which allows three players to form a single team and fight against another three player team. Online also gives you the ability to download your friends' replay data and of course there are leaderboards too. In fact there is even a KOF XIV live section, where you can view broadcasts, video clips, and screenshots shared by others.

While the game features brand new and rather stunning looking 3D graphics, it still sticks to the traditional 2D gameplay and 3 vs 3 battle system that you have come to know and love. In fact it even manages to throw 50 fighters into the mix too, giving you plenty of choice when it comes to finding a favourite. There is also changes to the combination system, allowing you to strike up to three Super Special Moves, while also being able to activating the MAX Mode to give access to EX Special Moves. In fact, for us newbies there is even a newly introduced Rush feature, which allows you to perform combos using only the square button.

I’ve never been a huge fan of fighting games, but I’m pretty sure I know when I see a good one and with the amount of polish and effort put in here, I’ve no doubt that King of Fighters XIV is going to make an impact amongst fans of the genre. For instance, some of the characters included are just fantastic and have very impressive visual styles and fighting moves, these include the likes of Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami and the striking King of Dinosaurs, the latter of which seemed to make a big impact in this household.

The fighting in King of Fighters speaks for itself, of that there is no doubt and the same can be said of the various arenas that you’ll find yourself fighting in. Arenas range from the patio-like Maple Gardens, to industrial areas, a derelict church, an old castle, a station and even the Dream World amusement area. Each arena has its own quirky style and despite what’s going on in the background, it never takes away from how smoothly the action runs during a fight.

Like I say, I’m probably not an expert when it comes to this genre, but I know a good game when I see one and King of Fighters XIV has quality written all over it. It’s not just me that’s been enjoying it though, everyone in the house has been bashing away at the buttons, taking down opponents and been having a good time doing it too. If you love fighting games, then chances are you’ll likely be joining in the fun soon too.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ A huge list of characters
+ Brilliant 3D Graphics
+ Smooth gameplay
+ Plenty of improvements to gameplay


- Steep learning curve

Edited On 22 Aug, 2016

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