Title: The King of Fighters XII
System(s): PS3 (also available for Xbox 360)
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Publisher (Developer): Ignition Entertainment (SNK Playmore)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Violence
Pros: It looks absolutely gorgeous. All new 2D sprites. New critical conter mode, 3 on 3 fights. Attacks can be totally avoided and countered with critical counters and guard attacks. Mature and Elisabeth were included in the PS3 and Xbox 360 version. Online multiplayer modes, where you can have clans to fight together. Presented in HD.
Cons: There are a multiple bugs/glitches. Some lags and issues with online multiplayer modes. Small character roster for a KOF game (only 22). No story, like the sagas present in many of the previous games. Arcade mode is disappointing.
Overall Score: One thumb up, one sideways, 80/100, B-, * * * out of 5
The title King of Fighters is well known among fighting game fans. The series has spawned some fantastic games, like King of Fighters ’98, the original or Ultimate Match version released. The series has delivered some of the best 2D fighters available. Now, SNK Playmore has completely updated and revitalized the series with the latest entry, King of Fighters XII.
Out with the old, in with the new.
King of Fighters XII is a bit of a fresh start for the series, a new approach to the successful fighting formula SNK has been going with since 1994.
The first thing that hits you are the visuals. They’re all completely new. The characters, the backgrounds, absolutely everything has been freshly created for KOF XII and presented in HD. There’s no sprite borrowing from previous games, like has happened in the past. The downside to this is that the character roster has been greatly reduced because there is no borrowing. There are only 22 characters available. Plus, a lot of familiar faces (like Mai) didn’t make it into the game. Hopefully this will be fixed with eventual DLC, but for now, a lot of fans could be disappointed their favorite characters aren’t there.
Another change is there is no story. While this isn’t the first time this has been done for a KOF game, KOF XII doesn’t have the large character roster to compensate for the exclusion. As a result, the single player mode can occasionally be a tad boring, especially since there’s no super-strong boss to defeat.
As such, the existing modes are a tad lackluster. Arcade Mode is a Time Attack series of matches where you try to defeat five opposing teams as quickly as possible. Versus is offline multiplayer, where you against friends or the computer in 3 on 3 or 1 on 1 fights. Practice lets you test out characters to see if you can pull off their moves. Finally there’s the online mode which, at the moment, is totally flawed until an all-inclusive patch is released.
The final changes are also a number of new systems and fighting features added into the game. The Tactical Shift System, Switch-Off Attacks, Quick Shifts are gone. The Critical Counter is present instead, and to be honest I prefer it. If you counter perfectly, you can decimate your opponent by entering critical counter mode where you can chain attacks together and finish with a signature move. You can deal a tremendous amount of damage and turn the entire tide of battle if you execute this properly. The Guard Attack system is also quite nice, and lets you completely deflect an opponent’s attack, taking no damage from it. Again, once you learn how to use it, you can end up on top even if it seemed like you were close to losing. There’s also a Deadlock Counter, where if players attack each other at the same time, they’re both forced backwards.
When King of Fighters XII was first released, there was a major issue. The online multiplayer was atrocious. The lag was horrendous, matches were near unplayable and it was just a frustrating experience. While the Xbox 360 version still faces these very issues, the PS3 version had a patch come out on September 1, 2009 which offers a pretty nice fix. The online multiplayer still isn’t perfect, and you may experience some lag, but it’s much better than it was before the latest patch was released.
If you’re done playing Street Fighter IV, then perhaps look into picking up KOF XII.
The King of Fighters series is legendary, known for the gorgeous visuals and 3 on 3 character matches. King of Fighters XII doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The game looks absolutely stunning, from the newly drawn sprites and extravagant environments. And, thanks to the patches, the multiplayer is a lot of fun as well. The character roster is much, much smaller than we’re used to, but KOF fans could see that as an opportunity to learn how to utilize every character in the game. Besides, Ignition has suggested that additional characters could be released as DLC. And while the online multiplayer isn’t perfect, the patch released September 1, 2009 makes it much easier to play than it was before.
Overall, I’d recommend King of Fighters XII to fighting enthusiast friends, especially if they focus on the multiplayer experience. At the very least, it builds a strong foundation for King of Fighters XIII.
Site [The King of Fighters XII]
Editor’s Note: This review was updated on September 10, 2009, A patch was released September 1, 2009 for the PS3 version of King of Fighters XII that substantially improved the online experience.