Thursday, December 8, 2011

The King of Fighters XIII Review

Gameplay (9/10): KOFXIII's gameplay is superb, as it is a natural evolution of past KOF games. The game still has the same foundation as the past KOFs with its focus on aggressive fighting and diverse fighting styles, but it evolves the formula by being faster, allowing for higher combo possibilities, and implementing EX moves and Cancel abilities. All of these factors come together to form an aggressive fighting engine that runs smoothly and allows for a lot of player freedom and possibility. Also, surprisingly, the game is quite balanced despite having all of these new gameplay systems; no character is vastly over-powered, nor are there any game-breaking bugs to exploit. It's all just good old-fashioned fighting; something the genre has needed for a long time with the advent of revenge techniques and infinite combos. The only thing holding back KOFXIII's gameplay from being perfect is its roster, which, while truly excellent and not nearly the worst the series has had, isn't as diverse in playing styles as past KOF games were.

The character roster itself is a great amount, but the fact that the DLC characters are already on the disc is rather disappointing.

Graphics (8.5/10): This is sprite-based graphics at their best, save for one factor: the sprite filter. KOFXIII puts a filter over the character sprites to make them look less "pixel-y" and stick out of the backgrounds better; unfortunately, this also makes them look pretty blurry, which really takes away from their beauty. It's a shame SNK didn't include a sprite filter option like in KOFXII to remove it completely and see the sprites in all their glory. Regardless, the sprites still animate superbly and are extremely detailed. The backgrounds are also just as impressive with a ton of movement and detail in them; making them just as impressive as the characters themselves. To note, the backgrounds in KOFXIII are some of the best in the series history, and there are well over a dozen of them. Other than the sprite filter, the only thing holding back the graphics is that the detail isn't as high as past KOF games; little things like Joe smiling occassionaly in his idle pose are not present, nor are there any intro animations, and characters, save for a few, only have one winning animation. It's nothing too major, but the personality that SNK put so much into their past games isn't as strong in KOFXIII.

Music (7.5/10): Alongside the original soundtrack for KOFXIII, the console version of KOFXIII has remixes of old themes for each team, which is a nice bonus. The original soundtrack for KOFXIII is quite good, but not nearly as impressive as past KOF soundtracks, especially those found in the games of the Orochi Saga. Still, the OST isn't as bad as the soundtracks found during the games of the NESTS saga. Also, the story mode for the game doesn't have voice-acting. While this is kind-of understandable considering SNK is a small group, it does make the execution of the story mode feel dated.

Story (6/10): KOF games have an impressive trait they have had pretty good stories to tell, even if it was never too detailed. With that said, the story of KOFXIII itself is pretty overly-complicated, and even by the end, it's still rather confusing what truly happened. Regardless, the game puts a nice end to the Ash Crimson saga (with a rather nice ending sequence too). What KOFXIII adds to the arcade and story modes, is the addition of character conversations in between matches. These are really nice, as they add lots of character to the roster, and its always interesting to hear what one character will say to another, even if they aren't completely related in terms of story. The character conversations and story play out without giving the player any prior knowledge to the story; so beginners beware.

Replay Value/Online (8/10): The core mechanics of KOFXIII can get pretty deep, so there's a lot to dig into with KOFXIII. There are trial, time attack, and survival modes alongside the the classic arcade, story, and versus modes. The online portion of KOFXIII runs very well with a connection of 3 bars or more, 2 bars is manageable, but 1 bar is practically unplayable. A patch is coming soon, so it may improve. The computer AI in versus mode is decent, but nothing too difficult to beat when you have all of the basic down; however, time attack and survival mode provide a great challenge. Overall, there's a lot to enjoy in KOFXIII; even so, let's hope it doesn't take too long to for KOFXIV to be developed.

Satisfaction (7.5/10): KOFXIII is the best 2D fighter around; although, due to a few problems I have with it, I wouldn't put it too high above Arcana Heart 3. Regardless, despite the graphics being better in XII, KOFXIII is a step above its predeccessor. It may not have the bursting personality of KOF '98, but it's gameplay is so thrilling and the roster so expansive that its hard to really dislike the game in any way when actually playing it. There's still a lot more room to grow from a graphic perspective, but KOFXIII is still the best you'll get from a good old-fashioned 2D fighter.


The score I should and want to give it - (8.5/10): KOFXIII may not have the production values of the Blazblue series, but its still a quality fighting game in all the places that matter. The gameplay is the best of any 2D fighter out there, as it is both accessible and deep while always remaining fun and exciting. While the pixel art is truly amazing for both the characters and backgrounds, there is still room for the series to grow to match the quality of the past titles, and the soundtrack has been better; but from a gameplay perspective, KOF has never been better.

No comments:

Post a Comment