KOF XV is the return of SNK fighting video games, but does it have enough to make it big?

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KOF returns in February with its fifteenth installment and there are reasons to celebrate the return of the great SNK classic… but the reality is that not everything is worthy of celebration and happiness. His slogan reads “shatter all expectations”, “breaks all expectations” in Spanish. Does The King of Fighters XV break ours?

The King of Fighters is much more than a mere fighting game franchise: it is the King of Fighters, one of the leading brands of the genre in its most famous era and a celebration of the history of fighting in SNK. But the brand has not always been lucky throughout its long history: the economic comings and goings of its developers have had a direct impact on a saga that has accustomed its followers to dealing with the purest excellence and the greatest of mediocrities since the time of the Osaka firm’s bankruptcy. What do we have in 2021 with The King of Fighters XV? A priori, a KOF that should last for many years for fans of team battles, but also some hard-to-avoid shadows.

Go ahead a personal confession: from the mere presentation of the title I have been skeptical of everything that has surrounded KOF XV. The technical section has seemed unworthy from the first sample of content, the obvious recycled KOF XIV (a game that, by the way, and its technical invoice cost him some headache in the face of critics and users) and a combat system that , although functional, it is not very imaginative for the times They did not help me to get rid of the air of pessimism that I breathed with each sample by the firm. Would it have been too much to ask to bet on a refocusing like that of Samurai Shodown? On paper it is what I would have liked, but in reality what is asked of it is much more demanding seeing the unquestionable work behind the new title. The good news is that a lot of the bad vibes are gone by putting me at your controls in the recent beta, but I admit that I’m still a little defensive.

Maybe the fifteenth installment is going to be a more than enjoyable project, but it is inevitable for me to think that we are, in general, too conformist with a saga that was never beggar in the genre: was monarch. Then,what to expect from KOF XV? I’ll tell you about it in our preview.

The King of fighters?

To start with the positive, its extensive roster of fighters is extremely welcome news worth celebrating and I would venture to say that we still do not know the magnitude of the good news that it is for KOF believers to have so much variety. But it is not the only remarkable thing that KOF XV has raised in its last two tests: the greatest joy for fans of the saga since the days of KOF 2002 and the inheritance of XIII and XIV is in the return of MAX Mode to execute some of the deadliest combos in the series for a limited time. It is early to know the synergies and capabilities of the system in the new chapter, but it is expected to offer news with respect to what was seen in past installments.

The King of Fighters XV: KOF XV is the return of SNK fighting video games, but does it have enough to make it big?

As it happened in previous works, in the dominance of the MAX Mode will reside much of the success and the difference between being or not a great KOF player. Something new and that we will also have to wait to know its impact on the metagame starting next February is the Shatter Strike, which will allow players to punish their opponent’s moves in exchange for half a bar of energy, leaving them at their mercy. A huge punishment for very little price which, in reality, will force players to play safer so as not to suffer such penalties. The return of EX moves, common in the series since the days of KOF XII and The King of Fighters XIII, will also offer interesting combinations to exploit when the game arrives in expert hands.

The animations of the Climax Super Special touch to a high level and they are a real show. You already want to see the movements of all the characters who have not walked through the two betas released to date. Yes indeed, Am I satisfied with the KOF XV tested? What I like the most is having the feeling of leaving happier after trying the game. Yes, it is difficult to compare Guilty Gear Strive with KOF XV visually, but the truth is that the game wins on screen, similar to what happened to Street Fighter IV in its day, which looked much more in movement than in its tasteless images. In terms of sound, the obvious has been done: betting on legacy, with new revisions of the classics that will delight nostalgic people.

Does it break all expectations?

The King of Fighters XV PS4

In any case, maybe the developers overreacted with the game’s catchphrase. Expecting the unexpected is perhaps too much for what appears to end up being The King of Fighters XV. Not even the structure of the teams is too surprising, and although there are some interesting new characters and some celebrated decisions in the design of the heroes and villains, it is true that the biggest general surprise of the software is in the returns of some protagonists who, due to circumstances of the story itself, they could not return to the main cast because they were dead. We are talking about Team Orochi / CYS, but I must admit as a K’9999 fan since the days of KOF 2001 that his reappearance under the new name Kronen has been a personal joy.

As mentioned above, there are reasons to celebrate the vast roster of fighters, but also we must be frank with what we have before us. KOF XV will be a very respectable and playable game, but there is no doubt that we all would have liked a more visually appealing game capable of conquering new audiences who have never faced a KOF before. I doubt, frankly, that with the current result it will be able to attract people who were not already conquered by the unquestionable values ​​of an established and beloved brand. A saga, by the way, that he has not always been able to reciprocate the love given by his fans with the love that we undoubtedly deserve. He is not brave in the mechanics either: there is not a great evolution with respect to the two previous chapters.

At SNK they really want to do something truly ambitiousBut there is still that spark of magic still in some form. That little detail when I press the Start button on my arcade stick and listen the MVS credit sound It confirms what I already imagined about KOF XV and the new SNK: they really want to do something truly ambitious, but the commitment to quantity prevents them from doing something visual and playable more in line with the times. It may not be see as well as we would like, it is evident, but if SNK wants the new title of the saga to last for many years, undoubtedly, the bet is correct. Time will tell if fans receive the new proposal with the impetus that has characterized the saga for so many years.

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