I’ve been playing SNK’s King of Fighters XV for a couple of weeks now and I finally feel I’m getting used to the entire thing. I’m much better than when I started out playing it, anyways. I still have some problems with some of the core mechanics; performing short hops still feel very unnatural to me. Performing combos, however, feels a little more intuitive to me now. This is because I’ve been going through all of the
“missions” or combo trials for each character in order to get a better idea of who fits my playstyle.
I already mentioned last week I tried doing Leona’s combo trials and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. So, as much as it pained me to do so, I opted to try using another character who tickled my fancy. Being someone who loves the color red, I picked the red-haired secret agent Vanessa. She did seem like a good pick for my way of playing fighting games. I usually like picking characters with charge motions as well as the ones who are blistering fast with a lot of quick mobility. Vanessa checked off some of those boxes so I attempted to go through her combo “missions” to see if I could actually
I don’t know exactly what happened but, when I tested out her combos, everything just clicked in my head. It didn’t at first, of course. The first couple of trials are really basic, even for a King of Fighters scrub such as myself. The succeeding ones, however, felt like such a pain to perform. The 3rd trial in particular seemed impossible to me. SNK expects me to do an EX punch attack which causes the opponent to bounce off the floor and have enough time to do a charge motion dash punch? That was inconceivable in my little tiny brain! Well, after trying to do it for around 10 minutes straight, I just could do it on the fly surprisingly. I also realized canceling into special moves and super combos were much more lenient than I thought. You can complete the motion a frame or two before the attack connects and the game will allow it to combo. Heck, you can cancel from an EX Super to the Climax a full second before the final attack hits and it’ll cancel automatically!
After completing Vanessa, I went on a rampage through the other missions/combo trials! Now armed with the knowledge and the muscle memory on when and where to cancel attacks, I was able to breeze through most of them. Even Leona’s trials, which felt impossible just a few days ago, were closed out in just a minute or two! I even did what most people said was practically insurmountable which would be Angel’s combo trials. I will admit they felt insane to do and not very intuitive for me as transitioning from command normal to command normal with varying timing was something I really needed to get used to. Even so, I did it! I managed to complete Angel’s trials! I felt unstoppable and I thought I would breeze through everyone’s afterwards.
I was wrong. So terribly wrong.
I did struggle with some of the missions. The ones involving juggling the opponent in the air just felt so impractical but I did get through Athena’s Psycho Ball juggle combo and Yuri’s multiple Saiha juggles into an air throw. I then hit a brick wall when I got to K’s combo trials. Like with Vanessa, the first 2 trials were easy but got progressively harder. The 3rd took some time but I remembered you can continue the dragon punch motion and use that as the first part of the double quarter-circle forward motion. Once I got that down, I got past that. However, K’s 4th trial, well, I just couldn’t figure it out. It seems like you have to do his flaming upward kick, cancel that into his forward teleport then do the command normal and then do a special move and then slide underneath the juggled opponent and then perform the special move into a super combo. Thanks, I hate it.
Frankly speaking, K’s trials broke my spirit. I was doing so well before I attempted his combos! Maybe I just feel this way right now and then, like with Vanessa, it’ll all of a sudden click with me. Right now, though, I’m going to let the experts do this as my fingers just don’t have the physical dexterity to move that much with that much precision.
Anyway, after going through the majority of the trials, I felt I was ready to actually play. Yes, I’ve just been doing the trials in a controlled environment all this time. Now I felt it was time to jump in… Story mode. Yeah, unfortunately, I can’t really play online. My PlayStation Plus subscription has long since expired and I never bother renewing it. I’ve heard good things about the netcode for King of Fighters XV but, since I play on my Philippine WiFi, I’d rather not be the one to give the game’s online a bad name.
Anyways, Story Mode was kind of weird for me. I picked the Secret Agent team because it was Vanessa’s official team. I know I could mix and match characters but I wanted to go canon first. Well, all my combo trial knowledge went out the window lickedy-split! I was able to go through most of the matches with not much of a problem. I only had to continue maybe once before I got to the final boss. Once I did, though, it was continue city! I do love how SNK gives the option to buff your characters or nerf the opponent just in case it’s too tough. I didn’t, though. I know about SNK Boss Syndrome so I wanted to beat Otoma=Raga legit.
I will say Otoma=Raga is quite the cheater. She has a long range move which travels across the screen instantly and can be comboed from her projectile-like low attack or her obscenely fast overhead smash. She also has a physical counter to all kinds of attacks, which can also combo to those moves I mentioned above. To add insult to injury, when you do knock out her life bar, Otoma=Raga enters her second form and those aforementioned attacks move even quicker and gains a projectile which eats other projectiles!
After continuing multiple times and on the verge of biting the bullet and using up the bonuses the game offers up when opting to continue, I decided to do something really stupid as an experiment and just try an empty jump into a throw. It worked. I tried it again and it worked again! She’ll generally try to do her counter move but, since I don’t choose to do a jump attack, that leaves her wide open for a throw! She’ll wisen up at times and attack with her upper slash but, most of the time, she’ll fall for the empty jump throw. I’m both proud I discovered this weakness and disappointed how mind numbingly dumb Otoma=Raga is at the same time.
At this moment, I am trying to go through the Story mode with most of the canon teams as well as some of the hidden teams. The endings are, in all honesty, kind of lame as they’re just still pictures with some text spattered on the bottom. They’re well-drawn pictures but I’m disappointed SNK didn’t bother to animate them nor get the voice actors to perform the lines. I’ve gone a long ways to go but I might give an update next time. Overall, the King of Fighters XV is eating up a majority of my free time as I really starting to love it. So far, so good.
What’s been your experience with King of Fighters XV? Let me know in the comments section below!