THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV is the latest iteration of SNK’s beloved arcade classic from 1994. The 3v3 team formula fighting king is back, but with a new coat of paint going from 2D sprites to full 3D models while still keeping the 2D gameplay. New refinements to the system and changes that make the game more accessible while still keeping the in-depth skills for the competitive players to find out. Fighting fans will have a blast to play for countless hours with an amazing roster of over 50 characters to choose from that brings back returning characters like Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, K’, Yuri, Terry and more. There are 19 new characters within the roster that includes a mask luchador named the King of Dinosaurs, Alice from Fatal Fury: The Legend of Wild Wolf, Love Heart from SNK’s Pachinko game series Sky Love, and more. All characters are unique and a blast to try them out in order to choose your main team.
Story mode provides a few CG scenes, character interaction scenes with certain characters and the 16 team endings are provided via animated still scenes. All the voice in the game is in Japanese only with subtitles of your choosing language. Character interactions, endings provide a good laugh for some and more into the daily lives of the each official team 3-member chosen. This is basically like Arcade mode with a basic short story and not a full fledge one. Start of by picking the 3 team-members to use in the 10 stage battles. If having a difficult time in a match there is are options to use boost perk that will give an advantage in the retry match if you lose. Playing this will randomly unlock an item in Gallery Mode after winning a fight which is awesome for rematching the movies from Story Mode unlocked, artworks, special artworks, icons and sounds. The last two fights consists of two boss battles that will give a tough challenge and provide a fun fight. Best part is that both bosses are unlockable to use in all modes.
Gameplay is king here thanks to the accessible systems to get in and play right away. The mechanics allows to go in-depth for the competitive players. MAX Mode returns with improvements when activating it via 1 bar of the power gives access to EX SPECIAL MOVES for unlimited combo and damage possibilities that may change the tide of the fight. Using 3 bars of the power gauge allows players to unleash CLIMAX SUPER MOVE. Then the new “RUSH” feature allows novice players to perform combos by pressing the Light Punch repeatedly but does low damage for a setup combo chain. Combing the systems with certain moves creates astonishing finishers and great combos for a heavy damage to take the win.
There is a robust of solo modes to enjoy. Besides the Story Mode there is Mission Mode, Versus Mode, Training Mode and lastly Tutorial Mode for countless hours of play value. In Versus Mode it provides local versus a friend as well versus an AI in 3v3 battles or 1v1 battles. Training Mode provides a character of choosing in order to practice. In Tutorial Mode it provides set of basic moves to learn the game systems to win a fight.
Now lets check out Mission Mode that provides 3 additional Modes to play. First is Trial Mission Mode where you attempt five set challenges for each character to complete. Second is Time Attack Mission Mode that is a 1v1 mode of a 10 set fight to compete for the quickest fight time. Lastly is Survival Mission Mode that is 1v1 as well while you fight until you lose. All these Modes provide a great amount of play value for offline enjoyment.
Online Mode provides a robust set of modes as well that include Ranked Match Mode, Online Training Mode and Free Match Mode. Ranked Match Mode will be fights that changes your ranking depending on the fight results and scores are recorded to be displayed on the leaderboards. If you like to practice online with a friend to learn or help each other the Online Training Mode allows that to happen in a private lobby for 2 players. Free Match Mode provides three more Modes to try out.
First up is Team VS Mode that allows two players to fight a 3v3 fight. Second is Single VS Mode for classic 1v1 fights. Lastly is Party Mode a new online mode that takes the 3v3 format, but with one player per character meaning that 3 players form a single team. It allows each player to pick same characters if you wish as well. Party Mode lobby allows 12 players to join to match up and spectate match live cheering on their favorite fighter. All these options will provide fun hours of play online as well as Solo Mode does. It is amazing the amount of content provided. Online fights allows an item to be earn in Gallery Mode as well. Win 1 random item held by your opponent when you claim your fight bonus under fighting list after an online match.
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV is a fantastic addition to the series with a robust of modes to enjoy offline or online. Thanks to the new improvements to the game systems it is accessible for all to enjoy and unleash sick combos while still keeping the in-depth systems for the competitive players to find out unbelievable moves. The great cast of characters unlocked from the start will provide hours of play to try each unique character out to find your main team to utilize. Online has been improved and will provide more hours of play value in order to proved who is the best in the world.
SNK Playmore has done an outstanding job to improve the series. I just wish they added cosmetics to customize the characters after announcing it was going to 3D because players love to customize their characters to make it their own. There are a variety of beautiful looking stages that outshine the 3D character models but still not terrible for the first time in 3D. Great amount of unlockables to earn while playing. If your a fighting genre fan this is a no-brainer and a fantastic addition to your collection. THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV is the best in the series and I can’t wait to go back to play it right now.
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- Great roster of characters.
- Amazing game system mechanics.
- Accessible to get in and enjoy.
- Robust amount of content online or offline.
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