While some of the main draws at the PlayStation Experience was the Capcom Cup as well as playable stations for Street Fighter V, one of the more surprising announcements was that The King of Fighters XIV was playable on the show floor, so that was an obvious must-try.
The King of Fighters XIV was announced a few months ago at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show with mixed impressions. Not a lot of people are happy with the move to 3D, but fans of of the series should be relieved to know that the rock solid gameplay that the series is known for has remained intact. Street Fighter IV battle designer Yasuyuki Oda is also on board as director of the game, solidifying the King of Fighters staff.
While I’m admittedly not the fighting game enthusiast I used to be, I have a strong appreciation for everything The King of Fighters represents. Later entries in the series have definitely been intimidating for the new influx of gamers getting into the genre thanks to Street Fighter IV, but I do appreciate the respect the folks at SNK have given their already established fanbase by not tinkering too much with a rock solid system. From what I’ve played of The King of Fighters XIV, it looks like this remains the case.
The demo at PSX featured six characters: Kyo, Iori, Kula, Leona, and Andy. Since the booth was primarily featuring the 3v3 mode, I got to try out my team of Kyo, Leona, and Andy. Before anybody judges, I got my ass handed to me as expected. But here’s a rundown of quick impressions for the characters I used.
Kyo: Kyo played more similarly to how he felt in KoF 2000 as he was a bit slower than he was in the later iterations. While he moves more slowly, his linking moves feel a little bit faster and there’s a combo variation that looks an awful lot like 114 Shiki. I wasn’t able to pull off his Ura 108 Shiki, but it looked a lot faster when it was used on me, ending my domination as Leona. (For the record, I hate Kyo Kusinagi. I only used him because everybody expects his impressions.)
Leona: As she was in KoF XIII, Leona is a pretty easy character to start out with because she’s pretty hard to hit. At that, she appears to have lost some of her range, but her air attacks and low strikes are still annoyingly ideal. I was able to get two kills with her, so I was pretty psyched.
Andy: It’s hard to imagine, but Andy actually got better. He was already pretty solid in KoF XIII, but now he has this jumping kick that literally makes him change direction in the air, and that can come as a nice surprise for opponents who think they know how to dodge. He was the ideal rusher out of the six SNK featured in the demo’s lineup.
After I got some time with it, SNK sent us a press release confirming that they’ll have 50 characters ready to use by the time to the game comes out with a slew of new modes as well as also confirming that the main King of Fighters story continues.
Whether or not the series becomes mainstream, The King of Fighters XIV has still got plenty to offer to its current fans when it comes out next year. In the meantime, you can enjoy these screenshots.