Note: This game was just released in Europe, which explains the late review for those who live in North America & Asia.
King of Fighters is a popular fighting series with many dedicated followers; the game has always focused on using stunning 2D visual sprites, until now. Although they have tried a new art style, and for the most part created something good looking, I have to say that the King of Fighters Xii visuals looked a whole lot more beautiful in the screen shots leading up to the games North American release.
For me the stripped down rosters and player modes that everyone has been complaining about in the game are not an issue. Way back when King of Fighters Xii had a jam packed roster and a decent amount of different play modes, not many people bought or embraced the game. There for you cannot fault them for leaving a lot out of this game, especially seeing as it took SNK a long time to build the sprites.
My main gripes with the game are that the art style does not look as good as it did on the screen shots of the game. Along with that the game also runs way slower than expected, and trying to run through the arcade mode could leave you bored very quickly. The arcade mode lets you choose a team of three fighters, and you will face off against other teams of three to pound them in the quickest time you can. If you are not happy with your timing you can re play each fight over again. Players have expressed their dislike for the lack of a story mode in this game, because aside from the arcade mode all there is; is the verses mode, practice and online.
The move set and the variety of attacks in the game are very satisfactory, however when you compare the fighting mechanics in this game to other leading fighting games it just cannot compare. Despite this; the game does actually have some nice additions that make the game interesting to play if you stick with it long enough, such as knock down attacks which can set up a more offensive chain of attacks. There is also the counter system which stuns your opponents if you are quick enough, which then allows you to take advantage with style. However this would probably cause people who take these brawling games seriously to oppose each other with caution, which may bring the pace of a fight down even more.
As far as online goes, I had no problems finding and participating in a game. There were minor lag issues, but apart from that I didn’t see what all the bashing the game got in its online portion was about.
Overall I would say that although King OF Fighters XII is a solid fighter, fans of the series can’t help but be a little disappointed at the lack of content. We cannot fault the SNK team for this however; instead we should just take the game for what it is and enjoy it to the max. It is hard to see why the game would appeal to those who aren’t essentially King Of Fighters fans given the amount of other fighters out there such as; but for SNK fans you will no doubt be able to put in a good amount of hours into this addition into the King Of Fighters series.