The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

One of the most recognizable fighting franchises in history evolves to meet the demands of the modern era. King of Combatants' fighters are more flexible and appealing than ever before. Let's take a look at the new features that this game provides to the PS4, PS5, Xbox One X/S, and PC.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

Although it is no longer a top-selling console genre, the battle continues to attract legions of fans who scrutinize each new twist in the game's gameplay dynamics. The King of Fighters franchise appeared to be lagging behind its rivals, but that is about to change.

The King of Fighters XV is finally here to locate the slice of cake that monsters like Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11 and Street Fighter V Champion Edition had. He accomplishes this over six years after The King of Fighters XIV made a commendable transition to 3D visuals, but was eclipsed by the competition.

Things appear to be better in various ways now, while we still have our flaws. Let's start with the numbers. In total, 39 fighters are included in the game, with another 12 downloadable fighters set to arrive in the future. Not bad, albeit keep in mind that the prior game had 50 players from the start.

Only three are new, with Krohnen, who strikes with his extensible bionic arm, Dolores, who attacks with sand, and our favorite, Isla, who has interesting graffiti-based attacks and is quite comfortable for beginners.

Tung Fu Rue and other noteworthy characters from the previous installment have been left out, but it has been confirmed that mega-classics like Geese Howard and Billy Kane will appear in the DLCs.

We also have a fortnight of scenarios, including classic locations like the Pao Pao Cafe from Fatal Fury or the desert from Metal Slug, complete with hostages mucking around.

The game mode selection is adequate, but there are a few features that are missing, as we will see later. We offer Tutorial, Training, and Missions in solo, all of which need you to execute highly particular combos. Of course, there's also the Story mode, which is similar to an Arcade mode in terms of cut scenes and endings.

In this game, we can construct any team we want, but if we make an unusual one, we'll end up with a pretty generic outcome. If we use the predefined teams, we will see unique endings for them, consisting of a sequence of static but appealing pictures. It's here that we face a sub-boss and the final boss, which we won't reveal because of spoilers.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

While the rest of the Story mode is well-balanced, if not slightly easy, the final fight frequently falls into the stereotype of the cheating Japanese final boss, chaining hits of excessive size and damage. But, well, we're here to have a good time.

Furthermore, The King of Fighters XV wants every sort of player to feel at ease, so even if they defeat us, we can keep using aids like having the power bar full or having the opponents' health reduced.

When playing alone, we can access a local Versus versus the CPU (with individual fighters or in three-person teams), although fighting against another player is preferable. In that scenario, we can also play in Tournament mode, which allows us to play up to 100 rounds.

Aside from the fight, we have the DJ Station mode, which allows us to listen to the game's and prior games' music and design our soundtrack with over 300 tracks. It's a neat feature for franchise lovers that you have to unlock by beating the Story mode with several teams.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

We can listen to the characters' voices or view the scenes from the Story mode that we have unlocked in the Gallery area. Unfortunately, neither the really cool conceptual character designs nor the useful 3D models from KOF XIV appear to be available.

When we join the online realm, we have the option of playing range games to level up, friendly games, or room games, where we may customize the fight to our liking and invite friends. We can make a new Recruit Versus game here. We can steal fighters from the opposing side and place them in our group. This is a fantastic idea.

There's also the new Group Versus. Up to 6 people can compete in three-on-three teams. Each player takes on the role of their team's character, and the team that defeats all of its opponents wins.

On the other hand, while we wait for a match, we can train online with other players or with the CPU.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

Finally, we have the option of viewing replays of our or other players' combats, frame by frame if we choose, in order to perfect the method and style of each to the millimeter... or simply for the pleasure of the spectator.

As you can see, the website does not appear to be awful, and in fact, it demonstrates that they want it to shine even brighter than past deliveries, with rewind technology to ensure a smooth experience.

Now that we've had a chance to play a few games online, we can confirm that the game works flawlessly with players from all over the world. We have not experienced any slowness while playing on wire, and the rollback makes the fight quite fluid.

Of course, keep in mind that there is quite a learning curve online, especially if you wish to engage in ranged combat. We've already met the standard "robot players," who have mastered chained combos capable of wiping off nearly half of a health bar. As one might assume, there are people who profit from the attacks.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

In any event, KOF XV adjusts the search to the level that we specify, and if the competence of the other players overwhelms you, you may always look for lower-level opponents. Everything is available on the Internet, and because to the battle system's adaptability, we can stand up to even the most formidable foes if we are persistent. Don't switch gears too often online; master one at a time!

Okay, the mode selection isn't horrible, but what about the fights themselves? The default dynamic is logically built on teams of three versus three, and while we may alter the order of the characters before each conflict, we can't modify it in full combat or make combined attacks.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

When the first one dies, the second, and then the third, will go out to battle. The match is over when all three members of a team are down. Naturally, if our character wins a round, he will regain some health in the following one.

SNK has stated that The King of Fighters XV can be appealing to all, not only those who wish to be e-Sports mega champions, even more than the last game. As a result, the fight revolves around two punch buttons and two kick buttons, which, when paired with quarter moon or half moon movements, result in super assaults.

The ability to roll or feint to avoid attacks is retained from the previous delivery, as are the so-called lunges, which allow powerful strikes to be delivered by repeatedly hitting the buttons without having to do anything with the stick. This helps newcomers logically, but the most experienced will be able to counteract them.

And it's how you counter it, or how combinations based on canceling our assaults to link others demonstrate the battle system's adaptability, which can result in choreographies that will leave you dumbfounded. It's also crucial to use the impact blow (a combination of a fist and a powerful kick) to knock out your opponent or reach MAX mode.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

We have a few seconds after the power bar allows us to enter this mode to do greater damage and shatter the opponent's guard in exchange for surrendering two power bars. There's also the quick MAX, which lets us cancel our attacks and string together lethal combos.

Special attacks can also be EX for more damage by sacrificing some of the power bar, Super for more damage by pressing a command twice, MAX for more damage by pressing two buttons at the same time, and Climax for all characters by using the same command: backward quarter moon, forward half moon, and the two strong attack buttons.

These are the ones that make the most of the game engine, as they include facial animations and stunning visual effects. Now we'll go on to the aesthetics, but before we do, we'd like to point out that, despite the fact that there are a lot of rules, the combat is incredibly user-friendly.

It is very simple to carry out outstanding and fluid fights if you understand the basic concepts of fighting games. Yes, exploiting cancellations and evasions, as well as knowing how to identify the short from the long jump, are important in the KOF, but it is dominated in the medium term without appearing useless along the way. Its gameplay is less rough than the saga's typical one.

And now, yeah, let's move on to the technical portion, which was one of the most heavily criticized aspects of the XIV game. Not only have the characters' models improved in detail, but they now have much more realistic and appealing shading and lighting.

This is especially visible in the victory poses and several of the Story mode's special conversations. They aren't quite as good as a Guilty Gear Strive, but they aren't that far behind.

The scenes are cute and bright, with interactive components depending on when we win, but there is a lack of variety and fluidity in the background, especially when compared to what Street Fighter V has to offer right now.

In any event, the movements and character designs are extremely appealing; they are surrounded by far more amazing visual effects, and the action is captured at a rock-solid 60 frames per second. In summary, it's a wonderful treat to observe these fascinating folks in action.

This improvement is most likely owing to SNK abandoning its own technology in favor of the ever-versatile Unreal Engine, as it did with Samurai Shodown in the past. It was a wise decision.

The sound rewards us with very strong and appropriate melodies (which alternate from rock to jazz), to which we must add the traditional actors' voices (in Japanese with texts in Spanish) to make us feel like we're in House. Also, keep in mind that we have access to all of the prior games' songs.

The King of Fighters XV review - The fight has been upgraded and now looks better than before

Overall, King of Fighters XV has pleasantly pleased us, particularly with its extremely well-polished battle system and a lot more appealing visual section for the player. The fact that the group must be made up of downloadable fighters appears to be a modern-day evil, and we miss the Survival and Time Attack modes.

What is simple, on the other hand, engages from the first minute and helps to maintain one of the most storied franchises of all time in shape. We'll return with a final grade and verdict as soon as we can cast or be cast online (most likely the latter).

ASSESSMENT: It is a significant upgrade over the XIV edition, and it is positioned as one of the most comprehensive and accessible games available today, without abandoning its essence.

THE BEST: The graphics have improved significantly and are now quite impressive. The fighting mechanism is both comfortable and comprehensive.

WORST: When compared to the XIV version, it offers a smaller amount of base characters and fewer possibilities.

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