- Platform: PS4
- Price: $59.99 (Burn to Fight Limited Edition is $79.99)
- Release Date: Aug. 23 (Americas) Aug. 24 (PAL territories), Aug. 25 (Japan/Asia)
- ESRB Rating: T
- Players: 1-2 local, 2-12 network
The King of Fighters returns for its PS4 debut. The classic 3 on 3 team battles return and the characters have moved from 2D sprites to 3D models. The King of Fighters takes characters from some of SNK’s most popular franchises (Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown etc.) and pits them against each of the in 3 on 3 combat.Teams can still be made created from existing partnerships or you can mix and match characters from an impressive roster of 50.
Right off the bat I noticed that the game’s main menu has everything available from the start with no Street Fighter V style later date unlocks. The game features:
- Story Mode
The Story Mode functions more like a traditional arcade mode where you pick your characters and the battle other fighters to reach the final boss. You earn a different ending depending on which team you decide to roll with and the overall story along with the different endings are actually pretty entertaining. The cutscenes along with music, art and more can be unlocked and replayed.
Mission Mode offers Trial, Time Attack and Survival Modes. Trial challenges you to perform a combo sequence or action that appears at the top of the screen while Time Attack and Survival are exactly as advertised. Online mode functioned well during my launch day test of it. The new Party feature quickly became a personal favorite. Party allows each team member to be controlled by a real person which means one shared meter to launch those super moves with. Trying to win with a team of others instead of simply controlling three characters yourself helped to keep things fresh as I personally tend to get bored easily during traditional online fights (in any fighting game).
The core of the fighting feels familiar with many characters retaining many of their signature moves (I played team Fatal Fury the same way I played the original Fatal Fury in the arcades many moons ago). Beginners can hold their own with a sort of auto combo system that allows you to string together small combos by pressing the Square button. As I have not played a KOF title in quite some time, this system helped me as I began to learn the intricacies of each character. The Climax Super Special moves function similarly to the Ultras in newer Street Fighter entries and can be an awesome sight to behold.
The jump to full 3D character models is my only real grip with the game. Im not opposed to the new graphical direction per se. The stages look great but some of the character models (mainly their faces) of both the main characters and characters in the background look as if they were lifted from the PS2 era.
I have not played a KOF game in years as my love for fighting games from the 90s has since shifted to RPGs. That being said The King of Fighters XIV reminded me of just why I loved dumping quarters in arcade machines in my youth. It’s more of the same with a lot of great new features added but that is not a bad thing. Some graphical setbacks are the only thing holding this new entry back but the solid fighting mechanics and great online play make it a fight worth getting in to and yes your PS3 arcade sticks are welcome here.
Final Score: 7.5/10