At its core, The King of Fighters XIV mostly appeals to those who have stuck with the franchise since its inception. This new King of Fighters installment also caters to those who are new to the series by balancing the competitive field, making combos once generated on an intricate level now possible by spamming a single button. Although the online infrastructure may appear to be convoluted at first, KOF XIV has a surprisingly good online matchmaking system, which happens to perform leaps and bounds over rival fighting game titles.

The Ant V.S the Grasshopper

Being able to competently fight against an opponent on a competitive level usually means the individual took time to learn and study the video game. Much like the Ant in the fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, franchise veterans have spent countless hours perfecting their skills, practicing move after move, combo after combo, until it could be done successfully over 100 times, which in the long run results in being successful and staying alive. Individuals like myself usually identify mostly with the Grasshopper, who’s much known as a procrastinator. But rather than freezing to death in the Winter like my insect counterpart, I can actually survive a match or two in KOF XIV because the title makes it easy for a complete novice like myself to land powerful combos as if I’m a pro.

While that does sound fine-and-dandy in some respect, I could also see how it may disrupt, and quite possibly anger, franchise veterans as they likely took the time to study and learn the craft that is KOF.

Regardless if you’re new or returning to the series, KOF XIV allows individuals to spam the square button, which upon doing successfully will strike your opponent, locking them into a 6-8 hit combo that ends with a special move; assuming you have the meter to accommodate.

On a more positive side, those who have experience with KOF characters in the past will be happy to know that most moves, abilities, and combinations have been transferred to this installment, so you can go ahead and still be a pro with those ancient combos that you’ve dishing out for years.

Natural Selection

In case you weren’t in the know, online matchmaking typically grabs the user and throws them into random matches, which basically allows them to play against opponents online via solo or team competition. But here’s where things get interesting: instead of waiting in line for the online system to match you up with an opponent, the matchmaking platform allows individuals to select their prey. Unlike rival video games from within the genre with online matchmaking, KOF XIV presents the user with a list of available players, displaying their username and preferred character. Once one selects their next victim of choice, he or she may join the match, if applicable, and launch the fight.

This form of matchmaking certainly removed some of the wonder that is generally found in online competition, as you never know the identity of your next opponent. But having more options, whether it be in Ranked Match or Free Play, which are essentially the same mode, is always better than having no options at all.

Although I may not be a professional King of Fighters XIV player, I still find myself having a good time with the video game. While its intricate combo system still exists, mostly for those who know how to use them, it has been slightly watered down for those who are new to the series or new to fighting games in general. Once you’ve decided to take the fight online, KOF XIV’s online matchmaking system will allow you to search and select your desired opponent, which was certainly a plus and is something that I would like to see across all competitive fighting titles.

The King of Fighters XIV was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a review copy provided by Atlus
Publisher
Developer
Reviewed On
Release Date
Atlus
SNK
PlayStation 4
August 23, 2016
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