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Review: King Of Fighters 12

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King Of Fighters has always been the ‘other’ definitive 2D fighter. SNK gained much acclaim from this series and it proved that they were taking the genre seriously. SNK promised that the 12 entry into the series would take the game into the next generation. Have they delivered what was promised?

I remember seeing KOF12 for the first time at GDC08. At the time it was only a video clip showing off the HD sprites. It wasn’t even a console game back then, but SNK was in the planning stages to port it to both the 360 and PS3. From what I had seen, I was hoping for SF3 HD quality graphics and classic KOF gameplay. A year and a half later and the game is here in all it’s beautiful glory.

Graphically, KOF12 is a site for sore eyes. The characters animate beautifully and at points of the match fill more than 3/4ths of the screen. I was surprised to see that they still used large pixels to draw the characters. This falls in line with how they were always made but I thought this time around they would make even higher resolution sprites like SSF2HD. This isn’t a bad thing though as it’s standard KOF fare. The backgrounds are as insane as they can get. There’s tons of stuff going on in the background of each level. There’s an arena level where you can see ALL of the spectators moving.

KOF has always had great gameplay. With KOF12 it seems they may have simplified the move set some what. The super moves are still really difficult to pull of but it just feels like it flows smoother and faster than previous games. Chain combos are really easy to pull of and with the right amount of time and patience, you can become a beast with them.

The game has standard Arcade and Versus modes with Xbox Live having Arcade, Ranked and Player modes. Arcade and Ranked allow battle point and True Skill ranking. The few games that I have played online were very laggy. They were so laggy I couldn’t pull of any moves and it seemed as if the other player took total advantage of me. Make sure when you play online you match up with someone that has low latency.

As with all the new fighters, KOF12 comes with a replay feature so you can record and watch your favorite online and versus matches at a later date. This has definitely become a new standard as BlazeBlue also included this feature.

As beautiful as this game is, a couple of things really disappointed me. The biggest is the gimping of Iori Yagami. They have decided to take his flame away so he has no range attacks. I’m all for growth and change, but this is ridiculous. Imagine if Capcom took Ryu’s fireball away. It would be a travesty. So I’ve had to learn how to play Iori all over again. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be but Iori fans the world over will be dissapointed that he lost his range attack. Of course Kyo still has his flame and is now probably the most powerful character in the game. Lastly, what happen to MAI?!?! I was so looking forward to high definition “Me bouncy!”. Why did they choose to remove such a classic character.

KOF12 is a solid game. SNK has proved that they still have it. I was glad that they stuck with the classic 2D look. The online needs some serious work and it would be nice if they added more characters via DLC. I would also like to see Iori get his flame back at some point. KOF fans will not be disappointed with KOF12. It’s a welcome addition to the family and should be added to your collection of games asap!

Final Score:[Rating:4/5]

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