The King of Fighters XII – The PS3 Attitude Review
We’ve had a long love affair with The King of Fighters here at PS3 Attitude. Some of the team remember the original title, and many of the subsequent sequels, with great affection.
But that love affair offers a double-edged sword, since the latest in the franchise – and the first to hit the current generation of super-consoles – needs to impress us more than the average punter.
Does The King of Fighters XII do enough to punch and kick its way back into our affections?
Before we get into the meat and bones of what playing KOF XII offers, we’ll take a look at what is new in this edition.
KOF XII uses the usual 3-on-3 team system with each fight consisting of up to five rounds. The game introduces a new ‘Critical Counter’ system, which means that when a player lands a close strong punch as a counter, the character enters into a critical counter mode where the player has a short amount of time wherein their character can link multiple attacks together. Once the critical counter’s time period has expired the player can finish with a special move.
There is a new ‘Guard Attack’ feature that allows a fighter to intercept and hit an incoming opponent’s strike without receiving any damage. In addition to these new moves, a ‘clash’ mechanic has been put in place; if the two opposing characters land blows on one another with equal timing, the game will push the characters away from one another into a neutral position.
However, not everything is an addition in KOF XII – the Tactical Shift System from The King of Fighters 2003 has been removed.
Also removed is any thread of the story of KOF. There is no official storyline at all this time around, and the 3-on-3 battles can be made up of any characters, regardless of association or whether they really ought to be fighting with each other based on previous plots and scripts. This is a shame for long-standing players of the KOF franchise, since there is no effort made to continue the plotlines from previous outings.
And that isn’t the only place this latest KOF outing disappoints. Whilst the character graphics have been improved greatly over any other version, the backgrounds are limited in comparison to other similar games, such as any of the Tekken series, Soul Calibur or the recently revitalised Street Fighter franchise.
The controls and the timing of the various attacks are, however, smooth as silk and faultless. For an out-and-out old-school 2D fighter, KOF XII has a lot going for it in the gameplay stakes. The Critical Counter isn’t quite as good a system as it ought to be, falling behind similar features elsewhere such as SFIV’s Focus Attack mechanic, but the fighting in KOF is a lot of fun and extremely easy to pick up, especially for novice players – a criticism often levelled at SFIV.
Where we find the biggest fault in KOF XII though is in the number of game modes. You can play ‘arcade’. You can play on-line. And that is all. No story mode. No campaigns. What seems obvious to us is that if you were buying KOF XII from the PlayStation Store for 15-20 GBP/EUR/USD, you would end up pleased with your purchase and happy to have one of the best 2D fighters on your hard drive.
But as a full release Blu-ray title, with a price tag to match, we find it hard to justify the purchase unless you’re an out-and-out fan of the series. And even then you may be a little disappointed with the lack of storyline, although it is good to see some of our favourite characters return for another bout, looking better than they ever have done before.