The King of Fighters XIV Ultimate Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting game
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK, Deep Silver
Platform: PS4, PC
Tested on: PS4

The King of Fighters XIV Ultimate Edition – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Solid gameplay, Great character design
Bad: Iffy graphics, Extremely bland story
User Score
9.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (4 votes cast)

With its sequel looming around the corner for release in 2021, it’s high time we take a look at The King of Fighters XIV. The fourteenth installment in this franchise by SNK, The King of Fighters has spawned multiple spin-off games and related works such as a manga series. But in its basic nature, it will remain an arcade fighting game through and through. This review concerns the Ultimate Edition, which comes with all the additional characters and costumes.

Story

In terms of narrative King of Fighters is a little bit of a letdown. We can possibly chalk this up to how many games came before this one, but it’s disappointing to see so many cool characters with interesting designs and find out barely anything about them. The plot revolves around the titular King of Fighters tournament, now held by Russian billionaire Antonov. Any team of three fighters can compete and if they win will face Antonov himself in the finale. Some power that is not of this world might be involved in the tournament, however, with sinister intent. Some characters do have unique interactions between fights, but the lore remains very limited.

Graphics

Visually this game looks great, though that’s at least partly because of a later patch that updated the graphics. In contrast to the previous installments, this one uses 3D characters superimposed over 2D backgrounds. The character designs steal the show, they stand out from each other and aren’t just cookie-cutter Japanese martial arts fighters. Lots of different nationalities and cultures are represented, and that comes with unique looks for the various characters. The arenas also show a lot of diversity. While the graphics may look a little outdated by today’s standards it’s really nothing major to complain about.

Sound

When you open the story mode and the theme song of The King of Fighters XIV starts playing, you know you’re in for a good time. Heart-pounding rock music flies around your ears, and it might be pretty typical of what you’d expect in these games, that doesn’t make it any less good. Also enjoyable are the character’s voice-lines and exclamations as the actors do a good job and it all sounds right. The cutscenes, while few and far between, are nicely voice acted.

Gameplay

The King of Fighters XIV is a 3D fighting game that has a lot of different modes to enjoy. Most prominently there’s the story mode, where you pick a team of three fighters and try to get through the tournament and its subsequent bosses. In versus mode, you can play individual matches, also 3v3 or 1v1 if you prefer that. Multiplayer is available both local and online, and if all that doesn’t satisfy you there’s the mission mode too. These contain set challenges to complete, such as using as little time as possible. A practice and tutorial mode complete the picture for beginner players.

Whichever mode you pick the gameplay remains similar: using the buttons on your controller you can string together different kinds of attacks, jump and dodge out of the way. Every character comes with an individual collection of moves and their own fighting style, which means unique combos to learn. To make things a bit easier for beginners there is an automatic feature called Rush Combo. Special moves are also in the game, they require saved up energy in the power bar to perform. They cost less when you have Max Mode activated, this also allows you to make better combos. In ascending order of power, the special moves are called Super Special Moves, Max Super Special Moves, and a new type called Climax Super Special Moves, each one doing more damage than the last. Another feature is Just Defend which allows you to parry your enemy’s attacks. It’s a lot at once, so some skill is needed to learn the game and different characters.

Playing the game unlocks art and cinematics for those interested, and with the DLC characters included, you have over 58 combatants to choose from. This makes the game rather big, all things considered.

Conclusion

Though rather basic in execution, The King of Fighters XIV still manages to be a solid fighting game and a great addition to the franchise. Whether you’re looking for a quick romp with friends, a challenging online experience, or just some solo fun beating up a computer player, this game will fill that void.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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The King of Fighters XIV Ultimate Edition - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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