[PS4] THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION Review
Prepare to suit up for the King of the Fighters tournament. Select your team of three and go to town as you challenge the competition. Check our THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION review!
The world-famous “KOF” VS Fighting Game series marks its return in a new chapter on PlayStation®4 with ‘THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV’. A total of 50 characters are ready to duke it out in KOF’s traditional 3-on-3 team versus the battle system. ‘THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV’ offers a large variety of user-friendly game modes, refined online features, as well as an epic storyline for the best ‘KOF’ experience ever on PlayStation®4!
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION
This special edition is an excellent value as it contains all 8 DLC characters and all 10 DLC costumes for THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV. It also includes 10 different PS4 themes.
BASE GAME (1):
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV
DLC CHARACTERS (8):
ROCK HOWARD, VANESSA, RYUJI YAMAZAKI, WHIP, HEIDERN, BLUE MARY, OSWALD, NAJD
DLC COSTUMES (10):
CLASSIC KYO, NIGHTMARE GEESE, CLASSIC IORI, ATHENA ASAMIYA KOF ’98, SHUN’EI KUNG-FU SUIT, NAKORURU KAMUIKOTAN GIRLS’ SCHOOL UNIFORM, KULA SUNDRESS, ANGEL DIABLA, MEITENKUN PAJAMAS, SYLVIE LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD,
PS4™ ORIGINAL THEMES (10)
Let’s start by getting something out of the way: I love The King of Fighters games from SNK. I used to go to the arcades way back in the day, spending a ton playing the awesome Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series. The day my friend and I walked into the arcade, and they had a new machine called The King of Fighters ’94, I quickly noticed that it incorporates the characters from the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series, along with many characters I had never seen before, as well as others brought into this new fighting game universe from old-school arcade games, such as Athena from Psycho Soldier or Ralf and Clark from Ikari Warriors. And then I realized that this particular fighting game featured teams of fighters battling against each other, and I was hooked.
Every year, until arcades stopped being a thing, I would go in and check out the new The King of Fighters cabinets, enjoying all the new characters, teams, and changes made to the gameplay, all while trying to follow along to the stories for each new entry. The classic games are classics for a reason, but I was definitely up for going all-in on THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION. What you’re getting is the base game, all eight DLC characters, and a ton of extra themes and costumes.
The biggest addition for me is Rock Howard, the main protagonist for the excellent Garou: Mark of the Wolves, which was the last game in the long-running Fatal Fury Franchise. Rock is the son of Geese Howard, Terry Bogard’s bitter enemy, who – SPOILERS! – dies in Fatal Fury. Terry adopts him, raises him, and trains him to be a fighter. Rock Howard hasn’t been in a game in a while, so I was definitely ready to take on THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION with Rock Howard by my side since he’s one of the included DLC characters! The other character I was excited to see added in the second season pass was Blue Mary. She was one of the fighters I favored back in the day, and having her in this definitive edition is certainly a highlight.
In terms of being a KOF game, The King of Fighters XIV holds up to the formula. Your main gameplay mode is going to be the typical 3 vs. 3 Arcade Mode. Here you will select three characters, and although they’re already sorted in threes by the game’s official teams, you can mix and match as you please, but playing with the corresponding teams will allow you to get their endings! There were quite a few changes to the lineups overall. A new character named Alice was added to the women’s team, and Yuri was moved to the Art of Fighting team. The full lineup in the Ultimate Edition includes 58 characters, so there is not a shortage of combinations you can put together!
Battles in Arcade Mode are very familiar if you know the series. Pick your battle order before starting the fight, then start with your first fighter vs. their first fighter. If one of you is defeated, it then moves on to the second and third fighters. Each round the character still standing will have the health they had when the last round ended… with a small increase to it. And no, there is no tagging in/out the other fighters in your team, which is what gives the KOF series its identity.
You also have your super meter bar in the bottom corner. If you have your first fighter max out at three full meters when the second fighter comes out, you get four, and when your final fighter comes out, you will have a maximum of five meters to store up for super special moves, which require one meter, or climax super special moves doing almost half a life bar of damage, but requiring three meters. You can combo these too, performing Super Cancels, stoping a regular special move with the inputs from the Super Special Move combining them into a bigger combo.
Now, if you are a fighting game fan, none of that sounds out of the ordinary, and it’s not. THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION is not adding anything crazy. Along with the Arcade mode, you will have access to your standard matches, including Trial, Time Attack, and Survival. We lack a straight-up Exhibition Mode, which I thought was odd. There is a Tutorial Mode to onboard newcomers. The biggest omission for me was in the Training Mode, where you could just practice moves. I’m always a big fan of checking out the Super Special moves for characters and like to use the training for that, but, for whatever reason, there is no option to have your super bar maxed at all the time. To try the supers, especially the Climax Special Supers, which require three bars, I had to manually build it up by attacking the dummy character on the other side.
In terms of story, it’s kind of a mess! Each arcade run starts off with the same cut scene, the same cut scene before round 5, the same cut scene before the penultimate battle, then finally maybe a different one before the start of the final boss fight. Once you beat the final boss, you are treated to a team ending if you are using a proper team. All of these can be viewed by going to the gallery in the game. I would have liked to see more about a special story for the different teams, especially for the newer ones. There is a team from South America, and beyond them being from South America, I literally knew nothing about their story until the end credits, and having some of that information upfront would have helped. The good news is there are also some interactions between certain fighters before rounds, usually relying on the history between them, which were always fun to see. Some of the more off the wall ones caught me off guard, and they were a really fun addition to the battles, with had some nice Easter Eggs built-in for long time fans of the SNK fighting series.
I will be honest: I don’t love the art style for THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION. The 3D models definitely clash in my brain since I’ve always been a big fan of the excellent pixel art style of other The King of Fighter entries in the franchise. The game did run smoothly at 60 FPS, which was awesome. Everything felt so smooth while playing, and while not all stages will be to your liking, there are some standout locations for the battles, such as the opera house and The King of Fighters Arena, while others are average at best.
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION is a strong entry in the long-running franchise, with a ton of characters, costumes, and PS4 themes in a single go. I love the characters in the series, and the formula for The King of the Fighters franchise, and THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION definitely delivers. While the art style is going to be a love it or hate it scenario. THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION is an easy recommendation for fighting game fans and a must-play for fans of the series.
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by SNK.