Perhaps it is no longer a star genre when it comes to selling consoles, but the fight continues to drag legions of followers, who analyze in detail each new fold in its playable dynamics. The King of Fighters franchise seemed to have fallen behind the competition, but that’s about to change.
The King of Fighters XV is at last looking for the piece of cake that right now have monsters like Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11 or Street Fighter V Champion Edition. It does so nearly 6 years after The King of Fighters XIV made a creditable leap into 3D graphics, only to be overshadowed by the competition.
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With innovations such as haptic vibration or triggers with variable resistance, the gamepad D PS5 ualSense offers new gaming sensations that increase immersion. The console only comes with one controller, so you need another controller to play local multiplayer.
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Now, things look better in several aspects, although we also have our drawbacks. Let’s go with the numbers first. Basically, the game includes the not inconsiderable figure of 39 fighters and another 12 downloadable ones will arrive in the future. Not bad at all, although you have to remember that the previous game featured 50 from the beginning.
Of them, only 3 are new, with Krohnen, who uses his extendable bionic arm , Dolores, who takes advantage of the sand to attack and our favorite, Isla, who has fun attacks based on graffiti and is very comfortable for beginners who want to start.
Other interesting characters from the previous installment, such as Tung Fu Rue, have been left out, but it has been confirmed that in the DLCs we will see mega-classics such as Geese Howard or Billy Kane.
We also have a fortnight of scenarios, including environments as memorable as the Pao Pao Cafe from Fatal Fury or even the desert from Metal Slug, with its hostages goofing around in the background.
The offer of game modes is quite correct, but there are some elements that we miss, as we will see later. In solo, we have Tutorial, Training and Missions, which consists of executing very specific combos. Of course, also the Story mode, which is a kind of Arcade mode with its cut scenes and endings.
We can form the team we want in this mode, but if we make an atypical one, we will reach an end quite general. If we use the predefined teams, we will see special endings for them, with a series of static images, but very attractive. It is here that we fight against an underboss and final boss, which we will not reveal here in case of spoilers.
Yes we will say that, while the rest of the Story mode has a well-tuned difficulty , even slightly easy, the final boss usually fulfills the cliché of the cheating Japanese final boss, chaining blows of disproportionate size and damage. But hey, we’re here to play.
Moreover, The King of Fighters XV wants any type of player to feel comfortable, so if we get beaten, we can continue to pick help, such as having a full power bar or that the rivals have less health.
Playing alone, we can also access a local Versus against the CPU (with individual fighters or in teams of three), although Ideally, you should fight locally against another player. In that case, we can also enter a Tournament mode with up to 100 rounds.
Beyond the fight, we have the DJ Station mode to listen to the music of the game and of all previews and customize our soundtrack with more than 300 different themes. It’s cool for fans of the franchise that you have to unlock by beating the Story mode with the different teams.
In the Gallery section, we can hear the voices of the characters or view the story mode cutscenes that we’ve unlocked. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be able to see the super cool di conceptual signs of characters, who were in KOF XIV, nor the handy 3D models.
If we enter the territory of online, we can opt for rank games, to level up, friendly games or room games, where we configure the fight to our liking and we can invite friends. Here we can create the new game Recruitment Versus. In it, we can steal the fighters from the rival team to put them in our group. A very fun idea.
We also have the new Group Versus. Up to 6 players can participate, in teams of 3 against 3. Each player fights with their respective team character and the team that manages to defeat all the rivals wins.
On the other hand, we can train online with other players or do the same with the CPU while we wait for a match.
Lastly, we have the repeat option to view, frame by frame if we want, replays of our fights or those of other players, to master the technique and style of each one to the thousand meter… Or for the mere pleasure of the viewer.
As you can see, the online doesn’t look bad and, in fact, it shows that they want it to shine more than previous deliveries, with rollback technology to ensure a smooth experience.
The problem is that at the moment, since the game is not yet for sale, it is almost impossible to find people with whom combat. For this reason, and since this facet is so important, we are going to leave the game without scoring for now. We’ll update the review with a note when we can test how the online performs when push comes to shove.
Okay, the mod catalog isn’t bad at all, but what about the fights themselves? Logically, the default dynamic is based on teams of 3 against 3, and, although before each combat we choose the order of the characters, we cannot change it in the middle of combat or make combined attacks.
When the first one dies, the second and then the third will come out to fight. Once the three members of a team fall, the combat ends. Of course, if our character wins a round, he will recover a bit of health. d in the next.
Even more than in the previous game, SNK has proposed that The King of Fighters XV can be attractive to anyone, not just those who want to to be e-Sports mega champions. Thus, the essence of the fight is based on 2 punch buttons and 2 kick buttons, which combined with quarter-moon or half-moon movements give rise to super attacks.
From the previous installment it remains the possibility of rolling or feinting to get rid of attacks and the so-called attacks also return, which allow you to execute devastating blows by pressing the buttons over and over again, without having to do nothing with the stick. Logically, this helps beginners, but the most pro will be able to counter them.
And it is that you counter it, or the combos based on canceling our attacks to chain others show the flexibility of the combat system , which can give rise to choreographies that will leave you speechless. It is also important to use the impact blow (fist and strong kick at the same time) to knock out the opponent or enter MAX mode.
en the power bar allows us to enter this mode, we have a few seconds in the ones that cause more damage and break the opponent’s guard faster, in exchange for sacrificing two bars of power. There is also the Fast MAX, which allows us to cancel our attacks to chain devastating combos.
Special attacks can also be EX to cause more damage by sacrificing some of the power bar, Super specials when pressing a command twice, MAX Super Specials if we do the same thing but with two buttons at the same time and Climax Super Specials, which use the same command for all characters: quarter moon backward, crescent forward, and the two heavy attack buttons.
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The latter are the ones that get the most out of the game engine, since they show facial movements and very spectacular visual effects. Now we will go for the graphics, but we do not want to leave this section without mentioning that, although it may seem that there are many rules, combat is very comfortable for anyone.
A little you know the minimum basics of fighting games, it is very easy to carry out spectacular and very fluid fights. Yes, taking advantage of cancellations and evasions or knowing how to distinguish the short jump from the long one is something key in the KOF, but it is dominating in the medium term without seeming useless along the way. Its gameplay is less rough than the traditional one of the saga.
And now yes, let’s go to the technical section, which was a one of the most criticized facets of the XIV installment. Now, the characters have not only gained in detail with their models, but also have shading and lighting much more natural and attractive.
This is especially noticeable in the victory poses or in some special dialogues within the Story mode. They may not reach the level of excellence of a Guilty Gear Strive, but they are no longer so far behind.
The scenarios are quite charming and colorful, with interactive elements depending on the when we win, but perhaps a little more variety and fluidity is missing in the background, compared to what Street Fighter V offers right now, for example.
In any case, both the movements and the designs of characters are super attractive, they are surrounded by much more spectacular visual effects and, above all, the action takes place at a rock-solid 60 frames per second. It is, all in all, a true pleasure to see these flashy characters in action.
This change for the better is probably due to SNK having abandoned its own engine and has resorted to the always versatile Unreal Engine, just like it did in the past with Samurai Shodown. Wise decision.
The sound rewards us with very strong and appropriate melodies (which alternate from rock to jazz) to which we must add the voices (in Japanese with texts in Spanish) of the traditional actors of these characters, so that we feel at home. Also, let’s remember that we have all the melodies from previous games to tinker with.
Overall,King of Fighters XV pleasantly surprised us, especially for its very polished combat system and for a much more attractive visual section for the player. So complete with downloadable fighters seems like an endemic evil of our time and we miss the Survival and Time Attack modes.
Butwhat’s basic hooks from the start. minute one and help keep one of the most legendary franchises of all time in shape. As soon as we can cast or be cast online (most likely the latter), we’ll come back with a final grade and verdict.