King of Fighters XIV PS4 Review
King of Fighters has been a mainstay in the fighting scene since it first came out in 1994. Since then it battled Street Fighter, closely, for the title of best fighting game; although it did always seem to come up just a little short of whatever it was that Capcom was doing at the time. It wasn’t that SNK wasn’t trying, the series had yearly releases—with “dream matches” of long dead players every now and then—compared to other games being content to wait stretches of time between iterations. That is, of course, until the last version –which left some fans disappointed—of the game almost six years ago.
Probably the most shocking thing that everyone will notice when starting King of Fighters XIV is that all of the beautiful pixel art is gone. King of Fighters had long been the last bastion of 2D fighters created in the old school manner, and while others have since picked up the torch in the last several years, it is still sad to see a master of the art finally go the way of 3D—even when it is as expertly done as is the case here. The closest example that could be placed on this would be when Street Fighter IV made the transition and found an oddly fitting style in the third dimension; so too does King of Fighters—even if it is sad to see all those lovely pixels go.
The game has as lively backgrounds as is to be expected from previous installments, and feels as fun and immersive as always. One of the great things I have always felt about the King of Fighters game is that it seems that the team making them goes to great lengths to make the game feel like a lived in world, that the entire event is actually a tournament that is taking place, and that it has some kind of weird importance to everyone involved. Other fighting games don’t seem to give off the same sense of place or fun that KoF simply does by just being.
The game plays almost identical to previous installments, three fighters are chosen—although it seems that most people gravitate towards picking the same people off the same team, which they are naturally grouped with. Most game modes are similar to those of previous fighting games, and almost by the numbers. A story mode with a wonderfully fighter game plot—which I have been asked not to comment on for this review —a challenge mode, and training. The real twist comes from the fact that everything is done better than the most recent Street Fighter games, meaning that at long last this series does stand on top.
This game was given to myGamer pre-release, so that means that all of the other online fights were done at arranged times, or were entirely impossible to find—so I sadly will not be able to comment on that for the review. What I can say is that play it against a friend was enjoyable, in a local setting; I did find myself playing the game long after I need to for review purposes simply for the joy of the game. Something that I haven’t been able to say about more recent fighters, be the more main stream or the more technical to come out.
King of Fighters might not have been the game that was on everyone’s radar in the last couple of months, but maybe it should have been. It is probably one of the more enjoyable games that has come out this year, even if that isn’t that lofty of a claim. Maybe one of the only faults that lies with KoF XIV is that it is still just for fans of the genre, and not something that casuals are going to go out of their way to find, which is too bad because they would probably end up enjoying themselves a great deal if they did.