Tuesday, June 30, 2009

King Of Fighters XII: Exclusive Arcade Review

One of the most loved fighting game franchises has been in the arcades for quite a while already, but if the rumors are correct, it has graced in Malaysia at Penang. KL however, are left out. However again, I had my exclusive chance to completely play the whole arcade game and experience what has been a wait for just too long since XI came out. Being apart of my Australian review, this is going to be a purely unbiased review (As I am a VERY HUGE fan of KOF ever since 95) that I hope would benefit the people who have also been waiting for this game in anticipation of the console version. Here goes!

As I've detailed many times in my previous posts, the system has been given a revamp. It's back to 4 buttons instead of 5, and the power gauge has shrunk back to just one. The character count has also gone very low compared to the usual roster, and there is no story mode this time, except that Iori is now seen flameless, Kensou sporting new gear, and Raiden being the new addition to the KOF Universe.

The flow of the game is now in time attack mode, similar to Tekken 5 and 6 and probably so on. And the game lasts only for 5 rounds. The way to win is still in 3 on 3 mode and its up to both players to beat the heck out of each other. To get a ranking, you need to be able to clear the round as soon as possible. And that's it. Don't worry, there's a whole lot of rankings to obtain (100 and below), just that you need to be speedy to beat your foe. Yes, no need to be flashy too.

So, is it good? In a way, yes. The Critical Counter system is a breath of fresh air and really gives some great creativity to show what you can do, its similar to Custom Combo scene in Street Fighter Alpha, Capcom Vs SNK 2 and even Snk Vs Capcom. The Deadlock system is also great, not just because its flashy, but its also a great way to strategize what happens after the Deadlock occurs. It's a little similar to the Parry system in Street Fighter 3, but there probably would be some damage occurs at a minimal. The one Max bar makes it good to simplify power usage and Max use among players.

The problem? There is no story anymore and it does no continue anything. Nor will it be the case in the console versions. This is a major problem considering the fact that every KOF ever released, had a story. This would mean, we would probably get a story at XIII instead of XII. And to be honest, many are waiting for the departure of Ash and the return of K' instead. The Guard Cancel system however is now cheap and a major problem. When the timing hits, then only you can get it done, but, it won't be like last time, as it consumes the Max gauge no more. This, is, very, cheap.

The speed of the game has also reverted to a more sluggish pace. Its not the true speedy style seen in normal KOF games, but, the speed is similar to Garou: Mark of the Wolves. The combo link timing is also, messed up. You can still link combos, but veterans would need to really get learning the new speed system being dished out here. Veterans, you have been warned.

Being baeten by a Leona. Where's my character btw?

Another concern is the low character count. At 18, there's very little to choose. Fans are upset that Mai is not in, and there's way too little women in the game too. In a way, its hard to be able to choose our variety of play when there's quite little to choose. This is after all a 3 on 3 game.

Overall, this game is a passing grade for me. The problem however, is the fact that with the change that was decided on, it feels like a demo instead of a full game. SNK should understand, that this is in no way, SF or Blazblue. Its not a one on one fight. 3 on 3 is the namestay. So, for the veterans, this may be very difficult to get the timing right for this game. Newbies however would love the 2D graphics and backgrounds in display. Here's also to hoping that the console versions get a little more extra, and not just 2 new characters. Until then, SNK has XIII to prove with to make sure, that they really get things right this time.

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