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The King of Fighters XII Review

The King of Fighters is a long standing series spawning many sequels and remakes, I recently played the ported versions of the games on the PSP and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was interested to see how the series had progressed with the new instalment, The King of Fighters XII.


The King of Fighters XII (will be referred to as KoF XII from here on) does exactly what it says on the box, You pick your characters and fight your way through several rounds to determine who is the King of Fighters. Pretty standard beat-em up stuff really. The game is set at a news studio which is covering all the fights in the KoF tournament, that’s it, there is no other story involved. All you have to do is pick your fighters and provide the entertainment.

kablammo                            online                           Sparkly

There are a few different modes you can choose from in the start menu, Arcade mode – which is the usual stage progression mode that is in all beat-em up games, Multiplayer, Practice and Online, But lets start with the single player game first.

The Arcade mode,  in my opinion,  is a complete let down. Lets be honest, in fighting games the story of the game is usually a bit rubbish, but to not have one at all that’s just silly, I find it very difficult to get immersed in a game where I have no idea what’s going on. But then as I continued through the arcade mode I realised, hang on, what’s the point of being immersed in it when I can beat the arcade mode in minutes anyway?
That’s right, the arcade mode is ridiculously short, my first play through of it I managed to do it in 5.4 minutes. How did I manage this feat I hear you cry, I must be some super legend of beat-em up gaming right?? Wrong. The arcade mode has 5 stages and no end boss at all. So I have to win 5 fights and that’s it all done. All a bit blink and you will miss it to be honest.
So from the beginning, you pick your fighters, the KoF series does this a little different to other games in the same genre, you fight 3 on 3. So you pick your 3 fighters and then choose which order you would like them played. In this instalment there are only 20 characters which isn’t really very many as far as the KoF series goes, I am unaware if there are chances to unlock hidden characters later on in the game but so far I have not unlocked any.
After you have picked your dream team you are then dumped into the KoF tournament to prove to the world you are the greatest fighter. The aim of Arcade mode it seems is to get the quickest completion time as you get timed through each round and added up at the end to give you your final score. So you have to get through the already short arcade mode in the quickest time you can, making it even shorter which seems a bit weird to me.

jap school girl...shocker.

Online mode is much more satisfying however, the system is a lot like Street Fighter IV’s online system where it pits you against players of a similar skill level and then gives you points for beating them, which increases your online ranking.
A good inclusion of the online system is the ability to be a  spectator in online matches.
This can give you an idea of what your favourite character can do in the right hands sometimes, I rather enjoyed watching other people fight and seeing the fighting styles of others. It is a refreshing break from fighting yourself. Spectator mode however has its problems, you cannot exit out of viewing a match without resetting your console. So if the match your watching is a bit underwhelming, you're forced to watch it all.
Also, at times though, I did find the online matches to be incredibly laggy and this can completely ruin the experience. Word on the grapevine is that there is soon to be a patch released to fix this lag, with it gone the online mode will be even more fun.

Game over buddy                          wham                       oh noes the wind

So the play modes have their problems, the arcade mode is far too short and the online mode is laggy at times, but what about the game play itself?
The mechanics of the game are all there, the fighting is very smooth and fluid, just like its predecessors and each fighter comes with a comprehensive move list that is unique to each player.
New to the series is the critical counter system, when you manage to land a strong attack on your opponent you enter critical counter mode which enables you to launch a string of attacks at your opponent which can then be finished off with a combo attack.
Critical counter mode can make or break your match often leading you to victory if used correctly. Another new inclusion is the Guard attack, this allows you to intercept your opponents attack with one of your own without receiving any damage. This can come in very useful when you feel you have been backed into a corner by your opponent who’s hitting you with their best moves, a well timed Guard attack can swing the match in your favour.
The other new inclusion is the clash system, this is something that most Beat-em ups i.e., Street Fighter has had for a while, when you hit your opponent with the same strength blow they are trying to hit you with, you both kind of bounce off each other and return to a neutral standing. Once you have mastered these techniques any match can easily be won. Its all down to practice really, So you best hurry to the practice mode in the game before you get online.

Knockout mofo

One thing that is good with this game though is how it looks. All the character sprites have been remade along with the backgrounds in a HD 2D system. And they look amazing. The level of detail and definition in each character is fantastic and there is no shortage of detail in the backgrounds either. My only niggles with the presentation is that there are only a few stages, five if I remember rightly, which just doesn’t seem like enough variation and the fact that the character models are clearly  pixellated at the edges, this kind of ruins the whole smooth 2D feel. There is however a graphical filter to fix the pixelness in the main menu so all is not lost.
The music in the game, is well, pretty unremarkable. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t sound terrible but it’s just not great either, half the time you barely notice its there. It’s the usual whining guitar stuff and motivational music. The sound effects are all present and correct though with punches and kicks sounding pretty violent and characters voice clips sounding well done.

explosion                        fdfdfd                         wam 

All in all, I have mixed feelings on KoF XII. The single player aspects of the game are…well practically non existent. five stages are in no way enough to keep someone hooked, so this games main focus is at the multiplayer market.
The online system is good fun and the inclusion of spectating other people’s matches is a good one, but this system will never be great until the lag is sorted as it can completely ruin the game. But with such an emphasis on the online aspects these bugs are things I feel should have been ironed out way back in development.
This game to me though isn’t as good as its previous instalments; it seems to have lost a bit of soul. I would much prefer to play the PSP editions than this one again.

6.00/10 6

The King of Fighters XII (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

The King of Fighters is a long standing series spawning many sequels and remakes, I recently played the ported versions of the games on the PSP and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was interested to see how the series had progressed with the new instalment, The King of Fighters XII.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Sarah Nicole Collings

Sarah Nicole Collings


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