The King of Fighters series has been around as long as many of its competitors. The game shares the same space as long time fighters, such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
While the other games have highly stepped into the ‘new age’ as far as the genre goes, the KoF continues to sculpt itself as the premier digital 2D fighter. This year’s release of The King of Fighters XIII and the recently launched ‘Steam Edition’ is no different.
DEVELOPER: SNK Playmore
PUBLISHER: SNK Playmore (Atlus on console)
PLATFORM: PC via Steam
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2013
Review Notes: A code for the game was received for review purposes.
If you are into fighting games, then you’ll truly understand the variety available in today’s market. There are the traditional Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat’s still haunting store shelves, many even bringing back HD versions of decade old releases. However, there are still others like BlazBlue and Skullgirls that add a certain stylized twist on the fighting genre. A class in which can become very stale if there isn’t some other form of substance holding it together.
The King of Fighters XIII Steam Edition brings with it a lot good old fashioned bang-for-your-buck. There are a slew of features that any fan on console or PC can appreciate, and the title sports one of the biggest rosters to date.
The first thing you’ll notice about the game is its menu. Um, menu? Yes, menu. There are the traditional options, such as the ‘Arcade’ and ‘Versus’ modes, but there are exclusives to the PC version. Such things as graphic tweaks and the ‘Online’ realm are further supported outside what its console counterpart could handle. Other features upgraded from KoF XII are the Time Attack and Survival modes. The Arcade mode becomes a separate entity, allowing players to still unlock new characters during a playthrough.
There is simply more to do other than take on the main story of the game, and in this case, there is more of a story arc giving the experience an overall feeling of structure.
Players will also notice that the camera for the game has also changed. The “zoom” ins-and-outs noticeable in KoF XII are no longer present. There is a fixed camera which stands out much further away for a more impressive, fluid fighting experience. After going back and playing both games, it should have at least been an option to turn this feature on/off.
Speaking in terms of the console version of KoF XII and this version, it was a surprise to see that there were no voice options. The previous console installment had a decent voice cast that performed well with the English voiceovers. The PC version of KoF XIII exists with the original Japanese voice actors. Many traditional Japanese fighting fans might appreciate this, but it did stray from the prior installment on console.
When it comes to fighting games, there is no other utter importance than the playable characters within. The roster for the game is huge. There are 31 characters that start out the game and 36 overall. This is far vaster than the 22 initially available in its predecessor.
Much like any other fighter the game progresses with new characters to be unlocked through the course of the game. This can be done through the ‘Story Mode’ which gives more insight into the tournament and character antics through a graphic novel style depiction. Players will be introduced to the “Ash Saga,” which spans the events of Ash Crimson and the tournament itself. There are also other things, such as gallery art and tracks, which can be achieved through your progression.
Fans will also be glad to know that the game has full controller support. Many, like me, have found that the DualShock 3 and the use of the DS3 Tool are highly accommodating in such cases. This PC application will map your PlayStation 3 controller like that of an Xbox 360. This becomes useful as many prefer the PS3’s D-Pad. This also means that if you are looking to use your favorite fight stick–it is possible.
One thing about KoF XIII is that it lays the vast majority of its experience right on a platter for you. Such things as character color customization are on a color palette for the pickin’. This is one feature that delivers more substance to the game besides just jumping in and punching or shooting fireballs at someone’s face. When it boils down to it, there is simply more to do. These even spans to the realm of the core of the game: the combat.
This time around players will notice a slightly different scheme of things in terms of combat. The prior installment brought on the use of a power bar indicating a players’ special. Filling the bar meant a higher powered attack. Once this was used, it was now up to you to fill the gauge by either intensive blocking or attacking. Now, the gauge changes from a “shoot your wad” extinguishing your bar, to a more efficient “step” system. Players will be notified of each step on the bar itself with the use of numbers to indicate the next tier, thus the attacks becoming more powerful.
The use of the bar doesn’t necessarily hinder the overall balance of fighters. In fact, many Special Moves are the same for both games. There is also a ‘Tutorial’ now available to get acquainted with the newly introduced bars and even opens up for people new to the game itself.
The online realm of the game consists of the typical ‘Ranked’ and ‘Unranked’ matches. It was difficult in connecting to matches, most likely due to the absence of players in the overall. Friend matches are probably best used here, which is something that Steam benefits from due to its business structure.
All Boxed Up:
The trailer hits the nail right on the head. This version of the King of Fighters is the ultimate edition. It’s everything that was missing from KoF XII and what would have made it as impactful as other fighters around.
There are a ton of options, modes and an adequate storyline to keep players entertained. It’s a bit disappointing to find that the online realm just about doesn’t exist. Finding a match will leave you staring at your screen, or listening for a connection to happen. Alas, during the entirety of owning the game, I was unable to connect to a single one.
FUN FACTOR: 8.5/10
REPLAY VALUE: 6/10