Episode 453: Thoughts of a First Time King of Fighters XV Player (by a Long-Time Street Fighter Player)

Hiya!

It’s probably no secret to those reading my post that I’m a huge fan of the Street Fighter franchise. I may have gotten into it very late as I fell in love with the game when Street Fighter IV was released so many years ago. Since then, however, I have dabbled with other fighting games. I’ve tried my hand on fighters like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom, Skullgirls and Guilty Gear. None of them, sadly, have really grabbed my attention the way the Street Fighter games have and I’ve generally quit playing them after a week or so.

That hasn’t stopped me from dipping my toes in the large pool of fighting games out in the market, though. I still want to try the ones which looks like a lot of fun. This is definitely true for the latest and biggest fighting game to come out on the market, the King of Fighters XV.

I do have to confess that I’ve never actually had even a passing interest to the other King of Fighters games. Even when King of Fighters XIV was new, I never gave it more than a second look. With SNK’s latest entry to the series, well, there was something about it. Maybe it was the really smart marketing of slowly revealing the packed roster of 39 playable characters from the outset. Maybe it’s the improved graphics SNK managed to use this time around. Maybe it’s how excited the fighting game community has embraced the game so wholeheartedly. Whatever the reason, I decided to take the plunge as well and try out what I’ve been missing out all these years.

I will say the gameplay the King of Fighters employs feels very foreign to me. As someone who’s only really devoted a significant amount of time to the Street Fighter games, the King of Fighters feels very complex. Even the mere act of jumping isn’t something you should sleep on as there are different variations on something so universal in fighting games. You got your standard jump, of course, and you can do something like a hyper jump but not as insane as the ones you’d get in the Marvel vs. Capcom games. The hyper jump is just enables your character to jump forward further and faster.

What did catch me by surprise are the hops. It’s basically a very low jump and, while it may seem ridiculous, it’s highly effective! As short hops are very low to the ground and quick, they can be hard to react to and even harder to anti-air. Performing a short hop, while seemingly very simple, is very hard for me to do as I’m coming from a Street Fighter background. You’re supposed to simply tap an upwards direction on the directional stick. Tap a split second too long, however, and your short hop becomes a standard jump. As I never bothered with this while playing Street Fighter, I just don’t have the muscle memory to stop pushing on the directional pad so I usually end up doing a normal jump when I want to do a short hop.

The combo structure and the timing does feel much stricter than in Street Fighter. Performing combos does feel like it requires a lot of perfect execution. You have to complete the motion just as you get the hit or the special or super combo won’t come out. This does make some of the fancier combos involving chaining together supers difficult to do. Additionally, the overall combo structure of King of Fighters does feel really crazy as you can link your command normals from most normal attacks. Doing EX moves also give them special properties, such as juggle properties and wall bounces. Using all of these mechanics means you can basically create your own combo fairly easily. As far as I have seen, most of the more damaging combos have the same pattern. You start with a heavy attack then link a command normal before doing an EX move and then finishing with either another special or a super.

Even with all of this freedom, doing them during the heat of battle takes a lot of finger dexterity. For example, I tried to complete Leona’s trials because I just thought she looks cool and she’s mostly a charge character, which is the style I’m usually drawn to. I was able to do the first one no problem. The second one, though? My fingers got tied up with each other as you have to do a quarter-circle back after the command normal that pops Leona into the air for a while to do her aerial slash. That was easy. Unfortunately for me, I can’t swing my D-pad fast enough to do the quarter-circle forward to half-circle back motion with a punch button while still in the air to do her airborne super! That just feels insane to do and yet that’s just Trial 2!

My favorite part of King of Fighter XV’s combo system is how you can combo super attacks into one another as long as you’re willing to spend a lot of bar. I don’t really see any dramatic damage scaling so the game does encourage you to do as much damage as you can. I may have trouble doing the combos right now but it does feel oh so incredibly satisfying when you accomplish linking supers into the big climax attack.

I also do love how SNK implemented the game’s comeback mechanic as it does feel extremely fair. The King of Fighters XV is a 3 vs. 3 affair but the amount of meter you get depends on where your character is placed on the team. The first character only has access to 3 super meters, the second gets 4 and the third and final character can get up to 5! That means you need some strategy when building your team. You can’t necessarily put your best character at the start in the hopes of wiping out your opponent’s team as you probably won’t get enough meter each round to do so. At the same time, you can’t really put your best character as the last guy either as the deficit might be too big by that point.

Speaking of characters, I am positively in love with how eclectic the cast is. While it may be tempting to put each character into certain types, a lot of them do get special moves which eschews how you may think of them. There are so many characters who have projectiles but still have command throws as well. Right now, it does feel overwhelming as to who I’m going to put on my team as I can’t really see who would fit my style exactly. I’ll most probably find a way to put Leona on my team because, well, I just like her design a whole lot!

I know I’ve basically scratched the surface of what King of Fighters XV has to offer. There’s still a ton of things I’ve probably haven’t discovered yet and I’m really excited to get back in the game. I do hope I stick with it though because, right now, it has shattered my expectations.

Byee!

Have you tried playing King of Fighters XV? What was the first game you played in the series? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thought on “Episode 453: Thoughts of a First Time King of Fighters XV Player (by a Long-Time Street Fighter Player)

  1. Pingback: Episode 454: More Thoughts of a First Time King of Fighters Player | 3rd World Geeks

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