SNK Playmore (known by most simply as SNK) has been around for over three decades now. With series such as Ikari Warriors, Metal Slug and Puzzle Bobble, SNK has many games of just about every possible genre and gained notoriety and acclaim for doing so. Their catalogue is huge. Most of you have played games they have made and not even realized it. If you don’t know about SNK, you are not a gamer. It is that simple. SNK is mainly linked with fighting games. Fatal Fury, Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Art of Fighting, and Last Blade are just a couple of series that have influenced other SNK fighting games and the fighting game genre as a whole. My personal favourites are Waku Waku 7, Samurai Showdown, and the legendary series The King of Fighters. The King of Fighters has been around for ages now. It has quite the following too. Old school and true gamers alike are familiar with the franchise. Its impact on fighting games cannot be ignored.
Capcom and SNK have had a sort of brotherly rivalry with each other. Street Fighter character Dan Hibiki is proof of this. Still, they respect each and came together to make the brilliant Capcom vs. SNK series (I own the both Capcom vs. SNK 1 and 2 on numerous systems). I still pray for Capcom vs. SNK 3 to be released. In that game, player got a chance to play with characters from the many fighting games that both Capcom and SNK had made while picking engines (called “grooves” in game) that they liked from each company. Street Fighter had the most representatives on Capcom’s side while King of Fighters did for SNK’s. Since that game, there have been a fair amount of KoF games that have come out. The King of Fighter 2002 and 2003 were released together on the original Xbox (I still own that as well) and it was great. The King of Fighter XI was solid. Then, The King of Fighter XII was released. While I was eager to play the game, the final product was disappointing to fighting game fans and King of Fighters fans alike. The game looked great, but it made two big mistakes. First, it was missing features that were added in King of Fighters XI. Secondly, and the most crucial, the online play was subpar. No, let me rephrase that. Online play in KoF XII was unplayable. It was far beyond lag caused by feeble internet connections that most of American gamers ignorantly profess as good. The net code was just awful. This was a real shame, because the gameplay itself was entertaining. KoF XII featured some interesting changes in character design for both looks and execution.
Enter The King of Fighters XIII. I have been keeping my eye on this game for over a year now (it has been out in Arcades in Japan since summer of last year). The focus on this entry has been online play. Atlus spokesman Aram Jabbari has been very vocal of this point. Actually, he was on a live stream a few days ago showing off the features of KoF XIII, explaining what in it has been improved, and giving details on the first DLC character. You can watch that yourself below (Kudos to fighting game legend Alex Valle and Level|Up for having this stream and many others for the fighting game community):
Personally, I expect great things of KoF XIII based on what I have seen of it. If you want some in-depth information on new features and changes, click the spoiler button to go over what I have garnered from Atlus on the game:
[spoiler]The King of Fighters XIII New Features and Changes:
The game removes the following gameplay systems used in the previous game:
* Guard Attack system
* Critical Counter system
* Clash System
* Dynamic zooming camera
In their place, however, there are new systems that have added:
* EX Mode
– The new EX mode converts each character’s super moves into more powerful versions that allow one bar from the player’s power gauge for EX Special Moves and two bars from the player’s power gauge for EX Desperation Moves.
* Hyper Drive mode
– This gives the player unlimited use of Drive Cancels for a while once the Hyper Drive Gauge has been maxed.
* Drive Cancel system
– The Drive Cancel System opens up new combo possibilities.
The game also marks the return of the multi-bar power gauge that King of Fighters veteran will remember was first introduced in The King of Fighters ’97.
In addition to standard and EX Desperation Moves, a new class of Desperation Move entitled “NEO MAX” is included in the game and requires three stocks of gauge be exchanged in order to perform one, making it similar to Hidden Desperation Moves from KoF 2002 and Leader Desperation Moves from KoF 2003. These can also be cancelled from standard Desperation Moves, making them similar to the “Dream Cancels” from KoF XI.
I have provided tons of screenshots (including four pictures of what I got today in the mail from Atlus) and a few videos compliments of Atlus. Be sure to give them a gander. The King of Fighter XIII shall be available the on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles with a release date of November 22nd in North America and November 25th in Europe. Be sure to Pre-order it while you can. Doing so will get you the KoF soundtrack spanning the entire series on four CDs (pictured below as well). TheBitbag will have a review of the game up very shortly since I shall be playing it all weekend. Speaking of which, it is time for me to head to the lab and work on my Ryo, Kyo, and Iori triumvirate.
For more videos, pictures, updates on everything The King of Fighters XIII related and more, check out these locations: