October 9th, 2009, 11:31 Posted By: RedWarriorKTF
Developer: SNK Playmore
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Release: September 25, 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 (version tested), PS3
Age Rating: ESRB: T (Teen) / PEGI: 12+
The King of Fighters XII is a completely hand drawn 2D fighter. The match ups let you choose 3 fighters, Then you choose the order they play, which means you will be playing head games with your opponent trying to get the advantage before the fight begins. This is definitely one of the strong points of the King of Fighters as it forces you to try a bit of variety in your fighting style and means you won’t get bored with your friend that always uses the same fighter. You all know who you are.
One of the first things that came to my attention about The King of Fighters XII is how much of a gaming marmite experience it is. After a good few hours on it there were some of us that just couldn’t get enough and there were others who kept whinging to put on Street Fighter.
Visually King of Fighters XII is absolutely beautiful. In this day and age it is so refreshing to see a totally 2D hand drawn game, particularly when in high definition. The animation is very fluent however could maybe use an extra few frames on certain character moves. I also loved how explosive and powerful the effects were without cluttering the screen up and making you begin foaming at the mouth.
Despite all the positive points just there I do have one thing I would like to nit pick on, which is how pixely the characters appear when the camera is zoomed in. By no means does this make the game ugly, however I just wish they had put the sprites in at a higher resolution.
King of Fighters XII really has evolved the series. One of the main things you will notice is how much more responsive it feels to pull off moves when compared to older versions of the series which should allow all you combo fiends out there to do some nice juggles.
As standard to the series, all the characters are equipped with their own unique super move. Some have more than one.
The first of two new editions to the series is the ‘guard attack’. This move feels like an extension to the parrying system in ‘Mark of the wolves’ or ‘3rd Strike’, but more so like the focus attack in ‘Street Fighter IV’. Basically upon the moment of impact executing the guard attack will successfully counter the move sending your opponent flat on their face.
The second new edition and my personal favourite is the ‘critical counter’. It’s not always so easy to pull off but when you do… MY GOD! Never have I felt so satisfied in a fighting game. The first thing you will hear is an almighty thud and then you will notice your opponents character stunned, now your basically free to unleash a combo of fury on your opponent. What makes this so satisfying is the fact the move isn’t predetermined. It allows you to do any move you want and constantly combo and if you really want to show off you can follow up with your super move at the end of it.
One thing you may notice about King of Fighters XII is the severe reduction of fighters in the game when compared to others in the series. There are 22 in total and personally I think for a rebirth of the series that’s plenty for now and also lets SNK keep track of balancing issues a bit better.
What I’m not so impressed about is the lack of levels to fight in. I counted only six! I admit they all look great but you can only laugh at fat French women for so long. Its issues like this that made the game feel somewhat like a location test rather than a final release. But giving the benefit of the doubt I do believe in quality over quantity.
While I’m still in my bitching mode I would like to say a big wtf to loading times between "lounds"! Sorry, I mean rounds (engrish announcer). Serious, I really can’t understand the need for this. Could everything not have been loaded before the first round so there’s no break up in the in the flow? I haven’t tried installing to my hard drive yet but I hope this solves the problem.
King of Fighters XII also lets you play online via Xbox Live. Online play allows you to create or join a room with multiple opponents. When playing a person with a reasonable connection the game play is mostly fine, however when playing a person with a poor connection the game doesn't typically lag out like other fighters it literally runs in slow motion. But as most fighting game fans know, playing online is never a good thing, good connection or not, it will never respond just quite as fast as you need it to. Face to face is always the best option and makes the fight much more personal.
To round it up King of Fighters XII is an absolutely fantastic fighting game and SNK deserve a lot of respect for not taking short cuts and putting in time and effort making it entirely 2D. The game plays great. It is fun, hard hitting and addictive. It maybe lacks a bit of substance in certain areas but makes up for it in quality. I hope an update/sequel to the game comes in the future where SNK has had time to iron out any teething problems to the rebirth of the series. So Ill keep my fingers crossed for KoF XII ultimate match.
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