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King of Fighters | review | game | Lollipop

King of Fighters XII

(Ignition for PS3)
By Mike Delano

One ace the King of Fighters series always had in its battle against the Street Fighter juggernaut was style. The brilliant character designs, over-the-top special attacks, and memorable win poses were always way cooler than the often banal offerings that SF put forth. The only interesting new character in Street Fighter IV, Crimson Viper, earns that distinction because she looks like a KoF ripoff. Unfortunately, the style that has defined the series is running on fumes in this 12th installment. A Street Fighter Alpha-esque back-to-basics reimagining of the franchise, KOF XII pares everything down to a nub, from the character roster to the backgrounds to the game modes. This puts the focus on the core fighting action, which hasn't seen a meaningful change in years, and the ability to fight online, which is so laggy as to be unplayable, even several weeks after release. On the bright side, credit definitely must be given to the art team that painstakingly redrew the classic KoF characters in old-school sprites rather than going the polygon or cel-shaded route, thus bringing them, in all of their larger-than-life HD glory, into the 21st century. Now the rest of the game just needs to catch up.


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