SNKHEROINES Community Review

Disclosure: Review copy code provided by SNK… and then I bought the Diamond Edition.
Note: don’t forget there is the first SNK tournament & stream this Sunday the 9th September at 2pm JST / 7am CET / 9pm Saturday PDT

SNKHEROINES: a fun and deceptively deep fighting game with a hilarious story mode and sweet customisation options. Whereas SNK has ticked the boxes for all the requests that fans had for The King of Fighters XIV, the only gripe is the obvious empty slots for DLC characters. Hardcore KOF fight fans may not be satisfied but there are a lot of things to do for the casual player!

On the agenda: Presentation, Story, Rewards, Gameplay & Netcode, Negatives, KOF viewpoint, DLC and Conclusion.

Presentation

Top notch, lots of details, references, glittering coins and shining icons. It’s very polished!

The 3d models are quite pleasing, smoother and a definite upgrade from KOFXIV. A lot of viewers haven’t noticed that the game has dynamic zoom as in Art of Fighting – as the characters get closer together, they get BIGGER. It’s great and the fact that players haven’t noticed is credit to the smooth transition by devs.

I personally don’t like Yuri’s squarish face, but that’s just a personal taste, there should be a heroine to please everyone!

Everything is very colorful and the backgrounds are full of details, the special moves have attraction in mind, with “party time” animated creatures and items exploding forth with every move!

Some of the scenes portray themes of fetish and creepy voyeurism, and even with the explanatory story line, it can be quite disturbing to see a favorite character in distress.  On the other hand, if the plot didn’t provoke any emotions, it would have been a failure.  In a way, the storyline turns out to be very typical but still funny nonetheless, and the endings are excellent.

The sound is a nice blend of orchestral and jrpg style tunes, plus of course the sweet vocal tracks by Satsy, plus Yuri and Sylvie’s voice actors (Ai Kakuma & Mio respectively).  There are some guest vocals from Chiaki Takahashi for Terry Bogard, who may be recognised for her role as Litchi in BB and Azuza in The Idolm@ster.

Note, that it is highly recommended to play this on pad at least once, for that Kukri scene on the tanoi microphone; make sure your controller has all its functions ON.

The Story Mode

For those who don’t have a friend to fight, or are interesting in playing an arcade game rather than hunting opponents online, you’ll be happy to know that the story mode is the focus of the game.  It starts just after KOFXIV, with your two players waking up in a strange mansion and they have to fight to get out!  The  characters interact specifically with each other, in and out of versus mode with full knowledge of the character histories and lore.  So each character has unique dialogues with thirteen other characters!  Note that this is a new team of old devs that left before KOF96! They did their research and it shows!

The story revolves around classic SNK humour, making plenty of jokes at character profiles that don’t match their outfits, plus a more modern anime antagonist with fast talking, posing and cringing silences… Kukri is great and very entertaining!!!

Notice the close attention to trends in anime and culture

If you don’t know, don’t ask, but this shows SNK has been keeping their finger on the pulse, on what has been trending.

Rewards

For playing the game, just simply for participating in a match, you are awarded KK (Kukri Koins) which allow you to purchase accessories for your character like angel wings, glasses etc, unlock gallery items, sounds (you can even change the voice of your character!!), and pictures, which then you can use to set up your character on a background and pose them, and of course share on social networks.

This is charming fun, which the hardcore fighting game fan will probably ignore, sadly!   Still, to be fair, that kind of play is not for everyone, but it really should be tried.  Cosmetics are a huge part of online gaming these days.

In Game Currency
Just playing the game once and beating the boss after two tries, I racked up 7,200KK, enough to buy a costume (which unlocks two accessories) for my favourite character, plus my preferred accessories. Which begs the question, is the currency too cheap?

This can cause an issue in that the player runs out of reasons to keep grinding, on the other hand, it’s actually good value because you don’t have to play over and over to get the items you want for you characters. They’ve kept the focus on fun and simplicity. If you’re only into one character, then you might find yourself a little wanting for more, but there is a possibility that items and costumes could be expanding soon, so you might want to put those coins into a piggy bank for the future!

In fact, SNK needs to put an unreachable item in the game, like the golden Kiryu statue in Yakuza Zero – so those that gain lots of cash always have something to aim for, especially now that money matching is now in the system.

Gameplay

NOTE: The game offers 2 players versus CPU and even 2v2 (four players!!) That’s AMAZING!

The gameplay is simple and at the same time deep. There are two attack buttons, a special, a super, a block and a throw. There is no crouching! Combos can be done by mashing the light attack button but need to be completed by a special or super.

In this era of simplifying games, it’s a wonder however why they didn’t give beginners a complete auto combo with one button. Players can still have fun with mashing the buttons, but SNK has decided to force players to learn how to use the finishing super, as without it, winning a match is technically impossible. Why? Because in this game, the only way to defeat the opponent is to use the finishing super.

On normal difficulty, beating the boss without a super combo was just not happening, I had to go back and learn. A good thing, but will it upset the average player?

It’s a risk I hope that will pay off, because this age of ever easier controls is just leading to the loss of manual dexterity. It’s not exactly difficult, one finisher combo is simply: square, square, R1. And some special moves can cancel into the finisher. Would that be difficult for a masher? ….. only time will tell.

Check out this footage of an actual match and how the items are used as reversals to bring tension and hype!

After you learn some combos for yourself, the second level is finding tag combos and cancel combos. Some players have already found death combos. And it’s still not so easy as it looks!

The match at the end can become a prolonged end, there is very different sense of tactics to consider, as you need 50% spirit to do your finisher, and yet your specials will keep the opponent away.  It really becomes a battle of insanity as the stun meter shrinks to nothing!!  It’s actually REALLY crazy and full of tension.  And really funny.

I just had my first match where my opponent did some nice combos, but in the end they couldn’t finish me because they had used their spirit bar!  So then it was back and forth until I saved enough meter and got a stun from ONE hit.  Shermie wins.  Of course :3

Using the air dodge is hilarious against traditional opponents who try to anti air …. I suspect Neo G is cackling to himself.

NETCODE

Only had one match so far but it was smooth, 3 bars connection, everything worked, didn’t feel any lag but I was panicking through most of it anyway trying to win… but it works so far!!! Very happy (especially as I won).  It has lobbies, region select (still should be ALL rather than same) and a win ratio rating. You can also set it to automatically refuse players with a high disconnect ratio ^^.  There is the highly requested “wait in training” mode, plus recent fighting list to find player IDs for good connections that you had.

You can also GAMBLE your Kukri Coins!  OMG.  This is going to be serious. This is online money matching!!! The hype is going to be OUT OF THIS PLANET!

The Negatives?

People complain for various reasons, some are legitimate, some are just whining because they paid for a product that they expect to please them, and this is why the industry is now dumbing down their once intricate and skill demanding games.

The fact is that some people don’t have the time to get good at a game but want the entertainment that they paid for. This is fair, and at the same time, it is not. Getting hit by a 50+ hit combo is distressing, but the game won’t allow this to knock you out, and the mechanics give you the advantage to come back (when you hit red life, you will automatically get SP item to break the opponents attack, but it’s still a random effect).

However, if the player gets hold of the right item such as “SP”, this combo could become 90+ combo and K.O….. Not a fun experience at all, but this is purely down to luck!   On the other side, if you can master these very simple “touch-of-death” combos, it’s going to be very very satisfying!!

Some people complained that there are only 14 characters for a “full price game”. SFV offered between 16 characters at launch and no arcade or story mode. SNKHEROINES has a FULL story mode, customisations and galleries at launch. Seems fair. The argument that the game re-uses models is a silly one, every game series does this, and these models have been markedly improved.

A KOF fan’s review

KOF fans will have a hard time adapting to start with, instincts will tell them to hold back to block and press A+B to roll when hitting the ground. You can’t hop. You can’t crouch. You can’t roll without pressing L1 first, and then pressing forward or back with the stick, it’s aggravating at first, but keep at it!

With the death combos that are appearing, the game may well be broken and need to be patched, or as usual, left as is and become one of those famous broken games that people love to watch but just cannot play. Another thing that players haven’t realised is the use of items, these can make or break a match, and due to their randomness can turn the tables – these may be banned but in my opinion make for a very ridiculously fun time.  update: with the items, the game is well balanced, and death combos don’t actually work.  While some characters seem a bit stronger, it’s too early to say whether they are over powered. Only time will tell.

The matches can be very quick when a pro players gets going! And when both are highly skilled, it’s still down to luck with items.

The patch for sticks will be released soon – it works on stick but there is no control for the items (which may not matter if they are banned in tournaments).  At the same time, it’s important to say this game is supposed to be a quick bit of fun, I prefer to chill with my pad and it’s getting easier to play every time.

… to be honest, this just isn’t as satisfying as KOF, it’s fun, sure, but it doesn’t have the system that makes me LOVE the King of Fighters.  I’ll play it while waiting for KOFXIV.

,Oh I nearly forgot, remember when your friends complained that KOF was too hard.  SHOW THEM THIS GAME.  Play with them, this is the gateway!  Once they fall in love with a character, there’s no turning back!

DLC: The vicious circle of complaints

Some players complain about the practice of DLC, in that it an extra cost for content that should be in the game in the first place.   SNK supported the fans and KOFXIV was praised for having no DLC, but then players begged for it, and started complaining.  In fact, many more than those who didn’t want DLC.

DOA, SFV, Tekken DLC is selling well, otherwise they would have dropped the practice. SNKHEROINES has announced two dlc characters so far, and looking at the select screen, a potential 13 more, and what’s interesting is that these may well be guest characters from other franchises, Thief Arthur from Million Arthur: Arcana Blood and possibly someone from Arika’s Fighting EX Layer.

However, I will say I didn’t like the rather obvious empty slots on the character select screen. It would have nicer to have a game that looks complete rather than a game that had already planned a DLC strategy.  Still, until players actually make a combined stand against these business models, there is no reason why SNK should be proud and go broke while others profit and in the end make customers happy with extra content they want.

In fact, I feel like the costumes are limited, only three for my bae?  Am I being greedy?  Sure, lol, bring out the dlc and I’ll buy it. Need more sunglasses, hairstyles and coats, football jerseys and helmets lol.

And I demand Miss X.  I don’t care about storyline or whatever constraints.  Miss X must return, this is her, ahem, his game!!!  Oda has said if there’s enough demand, they’ll put her in, so let’s go!

Conclusion

I remember a time when I was happy just with an arcade game port. With SNKHEROINES you get galleries, co-op mode, online mode, voice samples, dlc, and I don’t believe there’s anything else to add.  It’s a fighting game, not an RPG.  Yet, I feel like there could have been more.  I have been spoilt by other games, it’s sad but it is what it is.  The game could use more accessories and costumes, and this is seriously entitled to say so- I should be happy with one alternative costume! But no, I’m a greedy consumer, but that shows I am interested in the product, so I hope SNK will churn out some DLC, that I will complain about, and then grudgingly buy it, and then complain and ask for more stuff. That’s how it is today.

Update: as suspected, the gameplay is seriously exciting to watch, as demonstrated in the SNK tournament. There is a back and forth with hilarious random outcomes. This game has a potential to be a great spectator sport, because it’s actually not so easy to play at a high level!

The art book that comes with the diamond edition is great, of course, glad I have it.

https://twitter.com/Yzhmoore/status/1038328414912966658?s=19

In the meantime, the average player should have plenty of fun unlocking all the endings and galleries, cutscenes, and dialogues, that’s how it used to be, that’s how it should be!

Congratulations are due to Oda, Adam, Laurence, Naoki, Eisuke, Neo G, Sha-V, Jim and the team.  They have released another full featured arcade fighting game in a saturated market when fans are more demanding than ever…

FINAL SCORE: 8/10 – VERY VERY GOOD ARCADE GAME!  Still, not as good as KOF and final anniversary full dlc edition may get a better score!

Still some stock of the physical edition left! Here’s a quick unboxing video!  Honestly, the items (the wristband omg omg) may become more valuable than the game…. SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED!

Note: don’t forget there is the first SNK tournament & stream this Sunday the 9th September at 2pm JST / 7am CET / 9pm Saturday PDT

Community Rating

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