The recent slew of fighting game releases on PC has been a godsend for the master race gamer who has always been forsaken with delayed releases when titles are already out of the competitive scene. Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 are just a handful of titles that have gotten nearly simultaneous releases alongside their console counterparts. King of Fighters XIV now joins the fray, but with so many quality games on the market, it has quite the fight ahead of it.
What I Liked
Lots of Characters, All of Whom Feel Unique: Like other fighting games with a rich pedigree, King of Fighters has developed a substantial roster, no two of whom feel the same as each other. A quick look at the characters’ command list will reveal various unique characters that will prove daunting for even the most seasoned fighters.
Another Difficult Title to Sink Your Time Into: Also unlike other recent fighting games by certain popular companies, King of Fighters retain many of its roots that has given it the following it now has. In terms of execution and mechanic, it preserves the complexity and difficulty that it has had in previous titles. The skill gap will surely show the moment players jump online, if they’re able to get a decent connection.
Decent Tutorial/Trial Mode: Recognizing the difficulty of the title, the developers have included a tutorial and trial mode that can ease players into the title. Unfortunately, the trial mode is rather paltry at only five trials that only scratch the surface of what most characters can do and are hardly practical. However, it’s certainly a step.
3-on-3 Works For Everyone: For casual players, the team format of the KOF series is a great chance to throw all their favorite characters together. For more competitive players, it is an exercise in team composition that will have them scratching their heads in the shower, wondering if their team is best optimized.
What I Didn’t Like
Terrible Port is Terrible Port: Screen tearing and odd controller compatibility. The game simply reeks of a terrible and lazy port. Nonexistent issues in the console versions clearly tell me that the developers did not put time into porting this; rather, they were concerned with PC players jumping on the hype train alongside their wallets.
Still Looks Bad: Despite the graphical improvements, the title still looks a bit lackluster. Other titles have made the transition from hand-drawn sprites without issue but it seems that KOF lags behind the competition in this category.
Netcode is Hit-or-Miss: Players will find that online matches are not the best way to play this game, which is a real tragedy. As a more niche fighting game, KOF can use all the help it can get in creating and maintaining its community. Sloppy netplay is not one of the ways to do that.
$60 for an Incomplete Game: Like big dog Capcom, SNK has taken the route of leaving out several characters at the $60 price tag and, instead, offering them with the deluxe version for $75. God, this practice is terrible.
If players want a quality fighting game that maintains its roots and is filled with a colorful cast, KOF XIV is perfect. If, however, they are playing on PC, then they are in for a frustrating time. Not only is the community smaller with fewer PC players already, but the game’s technical issues prevent it from being a stress-free experience.
Reviewed on: PC, PS4, Xbox One; Publisher: SNK; Developer: SNK / Abstraction Games; Players: Multiplayer; Released: June 15, 2017; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $59.99; Official Site