Some of us here at Push Square are looking forward to King of Fighters XIV. Honest. Which is lucky, given that a playable demo landed on the PlayStation Store yesterday, giving us a chance to try out this somewhat divisive entry in the series – and we're happy to report that the title shows great promise.
But first, let's address the massive elephant in the room.
Much has been made of the game's aesthetics, not all of it terribly kind, and for sure, King Of Fighters XIV sorely lacks the visual polish of its peers. The game looks a little better first-hand, mainly down to small touches and detailed textures that aren't always apparent on YouTube, but the stark reality is that it looks bad – just not quite as bad as we feared.
Worse, the SNK flavour and character lost in the transition to 3D is criminal: Kyo's face is all but unrecognisable, and the obnoxious Sylvie Paula Paula is a nightmarish example of terrifying over-design.
With that out of the way, things do get better. The breadth of King of Fighter's fighting systems are soon made apparent through a succinct tutorial teaching the basics, and this is where the potential of the game first starts to shine. A familiar four button setup is retained, alongside meter-inhibited super moves and cancel systems from King of Fighters XIII, together with evasive rolls, back-dashes, and the like.
Indeed, the scope of combat is such that in the first 12 hours after the demo's release, industrious players have already uncovered touch-of-death combos, in which opposing players can do nothing but watch as their character is beaten to a pulp - and sometimes knocked out - in a single, unstoppable combo chain. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen, and is largely subjective anyhow. Crucially, the combat feels damned good. The combo system's neatly designed, team battles – of course – return, and the newly presented characters bring exciting possibilities to the table.
For us, the highlights are Nelson and Shun'ei. Nelson has insane strings of normal attacks and only two special moves, an incredibly fast dash, and a command grab; facing a skilled Nelson player seems a terrifying prospect. Meanwhile, the range and mobility of Shun'ei – both in the air and on the ground - opens up some exciting possibilities, and we're definitely looking forward to testing him out against others online.
That's the only other problem with the demo, though: it has no online functionality at all. Our experiences with the previous game's netplay were mixed, with lag often an inhibiting factor - so we're left hanging, hoping that the situation is much improved for XIV. Of course, there's single player content to come, something billionaire baddie Antonov knowingly – and mockingly – promises in the tutorial. The scoundrel.
All said and done, however, those itching to get to grips with XIV are well served here – there are a smattering of stages, new characters, and old faces to try out, and a decent versus and training mode will certainly provide a thorough head start for those waiting for the release of the finished product.
While some will undoubtedly write off King of Fighters XIV for its shocking design, playing the demo certainly made us look forward to release much, much more. We all knew that visually, it looked poor, but now at least we can be confident that the gameplay will stand up to scrutiny.
Have you tried the King of Fighters XIV demo on PS4? What do you think of it? Catch us in an unbreakable combo in the comments section below.
I'm enjoying the demo and looking forward to the final product. It's definitely better visually than I'd been anticipating, but obviously my standards were low; it's still an ugly game.
Plays nicely though, and there's lots to see and do in the final game it seems.
I reckon the character models have made a pretty good transition from 2D to 3D IMO, they look as they should in terms of art direction....it's the lack of detail that's pretty blunt. That being said the gameplay is pretty much classic KOF, which is what I wanted.
I'm not really that concerned about the netcode to be honest, KOF13: Steam Edition was released after the console ports and SNK seemed to have learned their lessons with that iteration (it had pretty solid online), so I'm not really that skeptical.
@sub12 The transition to 3D is by far the worst thing about this project, I reckon. I can't possibly say that this:
Looks better than this:
Kyo used to be cool!
I quickly tried the demo but I just couldn't get a feel to it, nothing seemed to combo into anything, whereas with KoF 13 I atleast managed to pull of basic Weak to strong to special move combos. Maybe its just my lack of experience with fighting games or maybe Nelson is just a different kind of character (since he is the only one I had the time to try). I guess it might just be harsher on the timing compared to KoFXIII as well, I hear they are trying to increase the level of depth with this one.
But I really only played for like half an hour, so the above text really doesn't mean much at all. KoF XIII was my favorite fighting game on the PS3 and I'm willing to believe this will end just the same.
Nah, I think the Push Square staff is just a bit salty after giving this game little to no chance (which is a shame since it seems to be going against the grain of anti-consumer practices).
Is it a looker? No, does, but Mai look like Mai, Kyo look like Kyo, and Iori look like Iori, yes. KOF 13 was built upon the sprite work of KOF 12 (which was poorly received and had a small roster to boot).........so they had two iterations to make it right. KOF 14 is going for 50 fighters and a good load of stages (rendered for the first time in 3D), so like I said before, give SNK some slack.
Most importantly, it plays well.
@sub12 Suggesting that we want games to be bad is totally delusional. If all games were bad we'd be out of jobs!
It's not that, it's just that sometimes you guys have $h!t opinions.
Anybody familiar with the KOF series could tell that the gameplay was looking on point by the first few trailers of 2016.
@sub12 Are you trying to tell the staff to 4 KOF?
I'm buying this, due to the subliminal messages in the comments sections. No idea who or what's gave me that idea.
KoF always gets hear for its graphics. But imo, I like the "old school" visuals that has been kept. I like the demo so far, and yes Nelson is cool! My competitive characters were always Kim, Terry, King, Ryo, Joe and Yamazaki. I'm going to have a lot of fun in this game and will preorder it. I appreciate the full package that SNK is releasing. That's what's up!
I'll buy it
I love KOF so much and the trio system to was always a blast, and yeah the gameplay is very good, but they need to change at least the skin textures.
The character designs, especially of Kyo was shocking to see at TGS last year. It just doesn't look like him at all. @Shogunrok I agree, the transition is absolutely awful. I'm still looking forward to play this further down though. 13 was quite fun. If it got the spirit, it's a win!
I agree it looks a lot better than the trailers and plays like a dream I'm just guessing at combos and its coming together nicely with a bit of trial and error.
@sub12 Never said the gameplay wasn't on point, but we've always said the characters look bad. And we still think they do. Sorry you don't agree!
Fair enough! If your able to look past an incomplete fighting game, it's not that hard to look past one with sub-par graphics.
I liked what I played so far. Also glad that Mai was playable in the demo, she's my main. Not the best looking game, but I think the gameplay is pretty solid. Didn't like hearing about that touch of death combo though.
I'm a huge fan of the SNK fighters. Was absolutely thrilled to hear
Samurai ShowdownGarou Mark of the Wolves was joining The Last Blade on PS4/Vita.
Snagged a preorder for this special edition at BestBuy for $47.99 (price glitch they decided to honor compounded with GCU 20% off)
You know I love this one but I do agree with @Shogunrok. Characters look like the chinese knock off of their actual selves, which is a bit ironic since the company is Chinese owned now.
I will check if the demo is on the storefront as I dont have the app. Nice to hear it plays well, although I am not a fan of infinite combos.
It's up on PSN now.
I honestly don't think the models are that bad, especially when you see them in game from a 2D perspective.
I think the biggest knock would be some of the stages, the Mexican one looks great, but the abandoned church and Neo City could use some more detail / animations for sure.
I know Garow was announced for PS4, but a Samurai Showdown game is coming too?
Neither had been confirmed, but there has been a number of SNK employees hinting at the possibility that Samurai Shodown is next in line (during the last year or so).
They have stated that they would like to revisit Garou (IE make a sequel)......but it seems to be more on the backburner compared to a new Shodown.
Totally agree with this. Visually, I give it a 4/10.
I just played the game for a while. Characters still look stiff and lifeless specially compared to their charismatic hand drawn predecessors.
But the gameplay is definitely there and that is what counts.
Yeah, I heard about SNK wanting to do a new Samurai Showdown. Hope it doesn't play like the on that's on 360 though.
I'll stick to King of Fighters '98 on the iPad. And street fighter/mortal Kombat on console.
It plays really well.
No no no [hits head with frying pan]
That's what I meant. I got confused for a second.
Though I'm thinking Samurai Showdown II is probably in the running to be next, if there is another one after Garou. Would be nice if KoFXIV came with an exclusive download for KoF '98 or something.
As far as re-releases? They will probably emulate the PS2 version of Samurai Shodown Anthology for the PS4...
But yup, Shodown will probably be next. I don't think they want to release one of the classic, more prestigious KOF's, and potentially eat into KOF14 profits.....give it some breathing room.
You guys forgot to talk about the boobies!
I must be old because this was waaay too complicated. double cancels and all the d pad rocking was not fun. I felt so dumb because i got stuck on the damn training mode near the end. I wanted to love this but sadly its not for me....time to be made fun of. I'll stick to tekken and old school mortal kombat.
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