I received my copy of King of Fighters XII in the mail the other day from the creator to play and review for HGG.
King of Fighters XII
by SNK Playmore
Played on XBox360
Released on XBox360 and PS July 2009
Do you remember the days of heading to the video game arcade to play "the" game? When playing games were only $0.25 for each play? Do you remember the "old school" fighting games that came out in the early and mid-90s like Streetfighter? Like Anime?
If you can answer "yes" to any of those questions, then I invite you to check out King of Fighters XII, a new release (and 15th anniversary of the original) by SNK Playmore. The characters are hand-drawn and reminiscent of the old school arcade fighting games, and the detailed backgrounds are, well...."interesting" whether it be a stadium filled with people and a giant blimp circling around advertising hot dogs or a ritualistic platform in which the fighters are surrounded by a horde of chanting worshippers.
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty of the game.....
First of all, the single player game is based on the standard King of Fighters 3 versus 3 concept. Before each match starts, each player (or player and computer) chooses three fighters to go up against the other opponent. You then organize in which order you want your fighters to fight. You start off with Fighter A versus Fighter B. If you get a K.O. on the other fighter, your fighter continues. It's basically a who can knock out the other player's three fighters first set up. There are a variety of fighters from a very obvious Anime girl to a large Rambo-looking guy. Because this game reminds me of 90s fighting games, expect some of the fighters to be rather "unique" in their fighting style (as in picking you up and bodyslamming you like a wet rag or Disco-dancing over you, etc.), the character line has been decreased, and if you're someone who expects a "story mode," you'll be disappointed.
A downside of the single player game is that the Game AI starts off high. This is not a "button-mashers" game (think 90s fighting games in which you could hit every button, make up your own combinations, and not have to worry about the actual combinations for each character). This is more of a must know moves type of game mainly in the single player mode. Randomly pushing buttons on your controller will not get you any K.O.s
On the Live version of the game, you have ranked matches in which the game pairs you up with someone of similar experience. This works out much better than the single player mode. In my first ranked match, I won. I chose my three fighters, and the other gamer chose theirs. There are standard "tells" just like the earlier fighting games: fighter is about to make a large move, they'll back up a few steps and such. I thought that the Live version of the game was much better (as far as playability) than the single player version of the game.
The game is marketed to persons that are fans of fighting games, Anime, and MMA; however, I really don't see any MMA fans actually enjoying this game. This is definitely a "I want an old school type fighting game on a newer platform" type of fighting game.
So if you want to kick it back to your childhood, then try King of Fighters XII, but be prepared for some tough AI right out of the gate.