The King of Fighters XIII (Console-version) Review
Platform(s): Playstation 3, X-Box 360
Developer(s): SNK Playmore
Rating: T for Teen
So who remembers a little game released about 2 years ago titled The King of Fighters XII? If you do (or want to), then you can agree with me that the game was a complete disappointment to KOF fans worldwide. Why, you ask? Because, in comparison to all the previous games under that title, KOF XII was nothing more than an incomplete title that should have stayed in the development labs. But now, with the release of The King of Fighters XIII, will SNK Playmore’s legendary fighting game title get the revival that fans have been longing for or will it be the sad end of an otherwise illustrious legacy?
The King of Fighters XIII takes place after KOF XI, and is the last game of the third story arc that started in The King of Fighters 2003. The fighter Ash Crimson has absorbed the powers from two of the descendants of the clans who sealed the Orochi away 1,800 years ago, Chizuru Kagura and Iori Yagami, while Kyo Kusanagi is to be his last victim. As his former comrade, Elisabeth Blanctorche, prepares to stop him, fighters receive an invitation to another King of Fighters tournament hosted by a person labeled as "R". The tournament is sponsored by Rose who is being controlled by "Those From The Past", the organization behind the two previous tournaments that has been trying to break Orochi's seal.
Okay. So the first major pro that I have to add on here is that this game is a major improvement from its previous version, KOF XII. There’s no more Critical Counter system (tapping Heavy Punch at the right time to make your own custom combo), Guard Attacks or anything of the sort. It’s all taken out, and replaced with better moves that are reminiscent of the older titles of the games.
My next pro is the roster. KOF XII had myself (and many other players) ticked when certain people weren’t included in the short roster. Once again, XIII has fixed that problem by bringing back the characters we wanted to see in the game. Yuri Sakazaki, Mai Shiranui, and K’ are just a few of the returning faces making it on the roster for the newest installment.
Next, the combat has to be a favored pro of mine. As I said earlier, they’ve taken out all the failed moves from KOF XII and added newer moves to keep the combat fresh. EX moves is one of the newer things added to the game, allowing the characters to not only perform an EX version of their special, but of their Desperation moves. Also, the Hyper Drive gauge is a new addition, where players can sacrifice half of this gauge meter to perform Drive cancels, or activate the once it’s full to have a short but unlimited use of Drive cancels.
That means that if you catch the opponent in a combo and activate the Hyper Drive gauge, you can create your own devastating combo. It’s not an easy task, seeing that combos in this game require near surgical precision to execute a lot of moves, but once you get it down, it’ll be a problem for opponents.
Finally, the extra modes that are included in this game are a personal pro. For the beginners and newcomers to the game, they have a solid tutorial mode that really teaches you the mechanics of the game. A Mission Mode is added for players to get the character-specific combos down (which goes from simple to ridiculous sometimes). However, the Time Attack and Survival modes are the two that’ll keep the fighting game fans who aren’t big on playing online busy for a while. And personally, the last 2 modes should be a staple for any fighting game.
What can I say that’s bad about this game? I can mention a few things, to be honest. First of all, I’ll mention the one thing that every fighting game fan knows about a SNK game. Yes, the SNK Boss Syndrome is heavy in this installment, folks. For those who don’t know what that is, the SNK Boss Syndrome is the term associated to the bosses in a SNK fighting game, who are nowhere near easy to beat due to their cheapness, sheer strength, and ridiculous difficulty. So if you thought that Seth (Street Fighter IV), v-13 (BlazBlue), and Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat 9) was bad, fight against Saiki and Shadow Ash. It’s guaranteed that you’ll hate every moment of that fight.
My second con falls in the story mode. Now…the story mode is done well, considering that it tells the story from different teams’ perspective and everything. However, the one thing they could have added in there was some voice-overs. As much as I like the story mode for KOF XIII (which is a first for the series, I believe), they could have added that in as well.
My final con isn’t really a con at all, but I think that it should be noted. Now, I love the fact that there are new moves added to here to improve the game. But on the other hand, it seems that they are taking a few pages away from their rival’s books. What do I mean? EX moves and NEO MAX moves…you can easily see the resemblance to Capcom’s famed EX Moves and Level 3 Supers. Overall, it’s not a bad thing, considering that the NEO MAX moves look and are more devastating than the Level 3’s, however it seems a bit monotonous in a way.
It’s safe to say that The King Of Fighters XIII is an exceptional improvement over its predecessor. However, I can say that the 13th installment of KOF is possibly one of the best fighting games this year. From the roster to the solid, technical game play and even the extra modes, this is probably the one game that most hardcore fighting game fans will keep with them for a while.