Continual and demanding for new players of the genre, The King of Fighters XV stays in its comfort zone with a competent title, but one that doesn’t fight for the crown.
If one makes a revision during the history of the king of Fighterswe can observe an insertion in the world of Ffighting games at the same time when other giants like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat began to make a name for themselves in the industry. With a marked style of both characters and fighting, KOF managed to make a name for itself within its first years and by the end of the century it already had a consolidated niche of players.
His position began to blur during the beginning of the last decade, but it was also a symptom of the times, where fighting games were adapting to the new rules of the game.
Keeping this same tune, I do not discover anything when affirming that the genre is going through a great present thanks to the impact of these long-lived franchises that knew how to reinvent themselves, maintaining part of their spirit but scaling their proposals.
With The King of Fighters XV the feeling is, to say the least, ambiguous. It is a correct fight title, with everything that that includes: dynamic combats, a large roster that brings to the fore the dizzying 3vs3 combats and a more than competent audiovisual section. But, if we look a little at its past, there is no clear intention on the part of SNK to break the mold and look for a more disruptive proposal, losing in the comparison against other exponents.}
Even for the fans themselves there can be a certain disappointment in King of Fighters XVafter the bittersweet taste of its previous delivery, this return after 6 years of absence spices up a little the same food that we have been eating for years.
Where there are plenty of characters, there is a lack of variety of content
Modern fighting games seek to remedy a recurring problem within the genre: expanding its different modes to offer freshness in a proposal that always ends up being resolved in the ring. Far from meeting the desired expectations, The King of Fighters XV makes no effort to cover up this absence of variants and makes its story mode an experience that does not give us any additional sensation other than choosing a team of 3 characters and chaining a succession of fights until the final boss, naturally upgraded and more deadly than the rest.
In addition to this aspect, KOF XV has a “missions” mode in which we will individually test the techniques of the fighters to string together combos; a traditional versus against the AI or a second player, and not much else. The rest of its variants are dedicated to its online facet, both ranked and casual, and this is where there is a great point for and another against.
The point in favor is linked to the integral connection of the game. The King of Fighters XV has rollback netcode, something essential for the correct functioning of the games and that allows us to put aside the frustration linked to instabilities in the connection.
The downside of its online mode is not directly linked to its operation but to the little education that the title provides for inexperienced players. The tutorials are far from other proposals such as Guilty Gear or Mortal Kombat 11, where there is not only training of the commands and advanced techniques, but there is an exhaustive detail in understanding how we have to practice and develop skills within the game and not suffer the raw online reality. KOF XV is not an exclusively complex title to play, but there is a layer of depth linked to its combos and the special techniques of each fighter that require an educational bonus that the game does not pretend to provide.
As I explained at the beginning of the analysis, the KOF XV roster is completely wide. 39 fighters that will later become 53 with the arrival of the different DLCs. Here we have a collection of old and new faces: Terry Bogard, Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Heidernpart of the original legacy of the franchise, coexist with new faces like Isla and Dolores.
The versatility of each of the fighting schools in this game is a generational revival due to the different stages of the saga, and this is where one of its main points of conflict is born: SNK instead of looking forward and seeking new horizons, Bet on your comfort zone, which can end up playing a negative pass with the passing of the post-launch months. The letter of the DLC is also clear and there is a bet to maintain a useful life of the game for a long term, which will be sustained by the impact of the attendance in its online mode and official competitions.
Shortcomings and unforeseen events are easily revealed, but the king of Fighters circumvents these rough edges when we get into the ring and put aside the different ones for minors: its gameplay keeps the seal of the franchise intact, with blows and movements that, although it takes us a while to understand them if we spend time parading through the roster without choosing a fixed template, they allow chaining spectacular combos.
Not everything is recycled or modernized. The King of Fighters XV add a new element to your battles that allows you to tip the balance and rethink fighting styles. Shatter-Strike Allows you to counter enemy attacks by consuming part of your power bar.
It seems like a coincidence, but the audiovisual aspect also has mixed feelings. SNK put a lot of thought into character design and staging in combat, with moves and special attacks that maintain that level of showmanship without disrupting gameplay. However, there is a notorious poverty in the quality of the cinematics that we see, mainly in its story mode, with a fairly loose voice acting of roles.
As a color fact, that imperative need of Japanese developers, still in 2022, to show all the female characters with the least amount of clothing and completely exuberant, as if they were fighting during the day and at night they were vedettes from Corrientes street.
If the fans, or followers of the fighting games, were looking for the absolute disruption of the franchise or a solid evolution, The King of Fighters XV you can taste a little. The lack of innovation or depth in its different game modes is supported by its proven gameplay and a roster full of characters and variants.
It’s hard to miss how little emphasis he puts SNK It is to offer more exhaustive tools and tutorials to embrace a new litter, since although the learning curve is simple, the step of the online mode is very high for casual players or those who do not have the expertise in fighting games.
When we’re in the ring fighting, KOF XV knows how to defend himself thanks to such versatile and fast-paced combat, sustained with precise response to controls, but that’s not enough to fight for the crown.