- + Fancy special moves
- + Glorious graphics
- - Special moves can get a little out of hand
- - No long combos
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Use a special move!”
King of Fighters XIV is, as you probably guessed, a fighting game. The usual properties feature here: heavy and light kicks, punches, a large roster of crazy looking characters and some pretty cool looking special moves. The story revolves around you trying to become the King of Fighters, but that’s not why we’re here. We all know that the stories in fighting games are less than riveting and are only there to make you seem like you’re fighting for a purpose.
The game starts off with only two selections on the main menu, Training and Tutorial. Now I really like this. Being forced to do the tutorial/training before you hop straight in is such a simple way to get new and returning players comfortable with the fighting mechanics. As a newbie to this game series I was all too eager to start the tutorial. It started incredibly basic, “Move forward by pressing the forward arrow”, y’know, the real simple stuff. But it quickly progressed to much more challenging techniques, so challenging in fact, that I wasn’t able to complete all of them.
As a die-hard Tekken fan I always seem to compare other fighting games to that series, which isn’t the best of ideas when writing a review but, much to my surprise, King of Fighters XIV compared pretty darn well to my old favourite. There were small, easily remembered combos and larger, way trickier combos. Added on top of that were Special Moves. Take Street Fighter for example, Ryu has his iconic Hadouken move. These special moves were pretty much the same but could be upgraded to make more powerful versions. It was at this point that I started to get a little confused. Special Moves go to Ex Special Moves which leads on to Super Special then Max Special Super Moves and then, finally, Climax Super Special Moves.
I’m still not entirely sure about the difference between each one apart from the animation, which got more and more elaborate the further down the chain I went – bloody awesome! Making a guy fling flaming punches in the air then slamming the opponent into the far wall with a giant fiery twister, in crystal clear graphics, is immense! The downside to these moves is that remembering them becomes a trial in itself; I lost track of which move I was trying to do and ended up, shamefully, button mashing.
Aside from the story and training side of this title, it features an online network, allowing you to battle opponents all over the world and the standard versus mode. Missions is also featured in the main menu line up and consists of Trial, Time Attack and Survival. Time Attack and Survival are pretty self-explanatory, whilst in Trial you attempt a set challenge for any given character. There are multiple levels of these challenges ranging from 1 to 5 and the game simply gives you a set of moves you have to perform during the fight.
If you’re a fan of most fighting games, and particular enjoy flashing special moves, then I recommend you pick this up. I found King of Fighters XIV a healthy blend of Tekken and Mortal Kombat. Whilst environmental attacks/interaction wasn’t present, the mix of combos and special moves was pleasing. I still felt annoyed that there weren’t any massive combos that took skill and patience to learn; sure, landing a Climax Super Special Move is cool but landing a 10-hit combo that you’ve been practising for hours on end? Now that is cool.