The King of Fighters XIV Review

Here’s the video then if you need, the full transcript.

To Review: Solid gameplay, and while the graphics could be better, it’s a complete package without a DLC strategy which is outstanding value for money!

Graphics
Now we started off with this (1st trailer) pic, and that was the first trailer, and then we got this (last trailer pic of Kyo), which I think you can see with the comparison, has quite a lot of improvement, quite an evolution and if you’ve got the DLC skin, you get this, which is pretty hot, literally, but you know what I’ll actually miss the second trailer Kyo, coz he’s kinda emo, but you know, maybe we can get him as a DLC package, later.

Speaking of hot effects, SNK has not settled with the standard yellow flashes for special moves and supers but used fades and gradients to give some characters a real flair. Whereas Kyo’s face will remain contentious, others are cute and some are indeed beautiful.

The graphics are good considering this is SNK’s first foray into 3D on PS4. There remains classic SNK attention to detail which is why they have such a fanbase. Mian here has a total of 10, count em, masks and there are easter eggs to be found.

Musically the game is sound. Cough. Objectively I prefer some tracks over others, Kim’s belief being a firm favourite and it’s interesting that SNK haven’t gone the young club music route but there should be something for everyone.

Finished counting? That’s the tenth. To go back to graphics, some stages are pretty fantastic including the Great Wall of China, classic smashed up stadiums and an aircraft carrier – there are also higher quality CG cutscenes and anime cut scenes. I look forward to when SNK will feel comfortable using the same 3D models in both game and cut scenes.

As you can see here the models are good enough for the character interactions before matches but perhaps wouldn’t look so great during the special movie cut scenes. No doubt this will be improved for the next edition. In game, they have a nice chunky look and animate smoothly in 60fps. A broken record will tell you that a lot of footage doesn’t do the game justice and it looks much better when you actually have it in front of you.

Let’s move onto CONTENT

You have the standard selection of modes that we expect so no complaints here. In fact there’s only applause, there isn’t a visual novel story mode but considering there’s 50 characters and a gallery of ridiculous proportions, you really cannot complain. Well maybe a little, you see the story mode, well, is it arcade or story mode?

We’ve heard lots of complaints about other games not having any story content or even an arcade mode. Well, KOF14 is a step up from that but won’t please those who like their fighting games full of visual novel storytelling. The story mode is only a modern monicker. It’s an arcade mode. Enter the tournament, kick the boss, get your ending. And if you like to grind, you’re going to love it. Playing through will only give you Antonov’s tournament story. To unlock the background story, to find out why Verse invades; his connection with Shun’Ei and who he really is, you’ll have to play with everyone, and in doing that unlock all the stuff in the galleries. It seems even having a match up will unlock an image. There are images, sounds, videos to unlock and then completion bonuses to win as well!

Fighting game fans will surely be satisfied with the plethora of modes and status ranking charts and all kinds of data things to keep you happy as you log your activity online.
In any fighting game the tutorial is incredibly important and KOF14 supplies in every aspect teaching you all the modes and all the things that help you play in the KOF style. It also has a funny narration from Antonov the boss of the tournament, claiming himself as the KOF champion.

Again, beginners will find themselves welcome here with some easier modes and a slower game pace, with the rush mode helping out by just mashing the square button. Trial mode, time attack and survival are here as standard but it’s a funny thing I want to show you about the trial mode now I find this a little bit disappointing myself because there’s only 5 trials per character. There’s no big difficult crazy combos and stuff but again beginners will find this easier to handle and of course make it easier to grind through to unlock all of those goodies. Note that some combos (in the trials) are a little bit strange in terms of difficulty because they do things like activation and then run forward and press crouch HP before going into an EX special, and then in trial five it’s just a climax cancel.

Let’s move onto the GAMEPLAY

Street Fighter fans will be pleasantly surprised at the similarities between Max Mode and V-trigger mode. Certain properties for moves are only available in Max Mode, which completely changes the style of play, making it a fresh experience for beginners and veterans alike. With 50 characters, there’s going to be a lot of training and a lot of studying for the possible match ups. SNK, under the direction of Yasuyuki Oda, fine tuned the system to be as accessible as possible while retaining that KOF flavour. Moves and inputs are easier with a bigger window for error resulting in a more fluid, enjoyable experience where the pace isn’t too fast and it’s simple to produce explosive results.

ONLINE

For the test, we both have fibre and the distance was 212 km
Los Angeles to San Diego is 179 km to give you an idea.
The connection was smooth as silk. Now I normally play with this guy on KOF13 on steam and the connection there is pretty good. This was infinitely better. Testing out the lobby, all the required functions for good communications and organisation are there. We really want to test the party feature and this will be covered in another review.

All in all, KOF14 is an outstanding package. You could say the graphics need more polish, it would be nice with a visual novel story mode. The gameplay is simplified and more accessible. The netcode is good, and the party mode is ridiculous fun when it works. Last but not least there is exceptional value for money, if you want to count $1 or £1 or €1 per character, unlike other games, you can’t really argue with what you get for your money, it’s 50 characters, it’s nuts! I get flashbacks of KOF97 and KOFXII in some aspects, but really this is a complete package. For the fan, this is amazing!

Drum roll…..
Final score: 8.5