Our Score: 9/10
King of Fighters XV is here! Right off the bat, I have to say that this game lives up to all the hype and so much more. If you can’t already tell, I had an absolute blast with this game. So let’s talk about King of Fighters and let me tell you why you absolutely need to be playing this game.
With its enticing characters and innovative gameplay structure, the KOF fighting game series has taken the world to new heights of excitement since its introduction in 1994. After six years since the last game in the series, KOF XV now outperforms all of its predecessors in terms of graphics, systems, and online play!
Shatter All Expectations
Right off the bat, I have to give props to SNK for doing something that not a lot of developers seem to do these days. And this is listening to their fans. It can be a double-edged sword when listening to fans, especially one of a franchise that is so beloved but SNK has managed to strike the perfect balance here. The game features 39 playable characters at launch which include tons of fan favourites from previous games. Not only that but character design seems to harken back to the older days of King of Fighters which is something fans absolutely love. And I must admit, they do look really freaking good. But more on the visual flair later.
King of Fighters 15 also has new mechanics and systems that are meant to improve your experience and give you more freedom. After playing loads of Guilty Gear Strive and seeing how much freedom it has with its combat, I was a little scared I might not enjoy the KoF system. But I was so wrong. Combat is excellent and you will not be disappointed one bit.
Additionally, there’s quite a lot of content for the single-player mode. You have your Story mode which is essentially Arcade mode with different endings depending on your team. You have a versus mode as well as a training mode. And if you’re new to the series or just a classic veteran returning, the game features a short tutorial mode as well as “mission” mode which are combat trials for each character. These are absolutely essential to have in fighting games and I’m glad this is here. It is extremely helpful for newcomers and I’m glad to see more companies making their games more friendly to newcomers.
Live to Fight Another Day
Alright let’s talk details now and we first start with the story. The story mode is exactly what you expect from a King of Fighters game. There are some cool revelations and twists as well as twists for fans of the franchise. Furthermore, there are fun interactions as well between characters who have a history with each other. And like most King of Fighter games, there are also Secret Edit teams so after you’re done with the main teams, you can look forward to finding out these teams.
New to King of Fighters XV
Now let’s talk about. Firstly, the game has a “Rush” combo. Tap the light punch attack multiple times to pull of a solid basic combo that ends with a special move. This is great for casual players and if you’re new and don’t know what you’re doing. However, I do recommend doing the Missions and learning proper combos because that’s way more rewarding and exciting to pull off. Especially if you want to play Online. Additionally, there’s new gameplay mechanics like Shatter Strike which Armoured Counter moves. Max Mode which is essentially a burst mode that increases Attack and Guard Crush strength. And Max Mode (Quick) for when you want to cancel a move to keep your combo going.
Furthermore, there are tons of special moves like the EX Special Move, the Super Special Moves, the Max Super Special Moves and finally the Climax Super Special Moves. Each is stronger than the other and consume more and more of your meter. And, the higher the special move’s power the more incredible the visual spectacle. Speaking of visual spectacle, this game looks and sounds fantastic. The character designs and 3D models look superb on this engine and lighting. The visual effects are outstanding. The levels and stages are absolutely gorgeous. And the music is phenomenal. And to top it off, the game also has a DJ Station in case you want to listen to tracks from other KoF games which is something I love in Fighting Games.
We live in an age right now where online play is the king. And I’m happy to see that King of Fighters XV features rollback netcode unlike some of the more popular fighting games out there. The netcode here is absolutely solid and in the matches that I did find while testing it out before the game’s launch were all smooth.
I didn’t face any network issues or hiccups and had a very good online experience. For Online gameplay you have a Casual Mode and a Ranked mode. Furthermore, you can also make lobbies in Room mode and even train in Online Training. Finally, the game has a mode called Draft VS where you must pick your characters before the opponent otherwise you won’t get to use them. So no more mirror matches. It’s interesting to say the least and I’d like to see how this mode and the overall Online mode evolves from here.
The King of Fighters
King of Fighters XV is an absolute banger. If you’re looking for a solid 2D fighting game with great online, a very robust roster, easy entry for newcomers, and a lot of quality of life features then this is for you. King of Fighters XV is a must-play for fans of the franchise and I’d even say for casual fighting game players looking to dip their toes into the world of Online fighting.