King of Fighters XI

King of Fighters XI

 

 



What’s Not To Like? Well…

 

This eleventh interation features several new elements including three new characters, one of which I am a fan of, Tung Fu Rue. The Tag or Shift battle system is also used in this version, whereby you select and order three fighters and during the match you can switch between them to your advantage. Much like NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, it’s possibly to string together massive combo attacks, but I have never been able to successfully pull one off. That may be why I find this game extremely difficult at times. The boss fights you encounter while playing through the arcade mode spike the diffculty level up toa show-stopping level. There’s nothing quite so frustrating in fighting games for me than to be cruising along, beating a three man CPU team with just one of my fighters, and then to spend the next half hour just trying to defeat a single CPU character, i.e., a boss. Then again, I always tend to struggle with SNK controls, as far as reliabily executing special moves and combos, so I’m at a big disadvantage with that. Also of note, when you do lose a battle, expect to wait at least thirty seconds just to get another crack at it. You have to Continue, choose your Continue Service, pick your fighters, rank them, wait for the battle to load, and then finally you’re back into the fray.

 

Outside of the sharp difficulty spikes, lengthy load times, and sometimes difficult controls, about the only other negative point I can say about this game would be the graphics. Just like NeoGeo Battle Colesium, the characters are old, 2D sprites. I’m a fan of 2D fighters, and graphics don’t necessarily mean a lot to me in any game, but when your characters are looking very simliar to what they were many years ago, something just doesn’t seem quite right. Hopefully in the next iteration SNK will be able to spruce up these character animations quite a bit. The background visuals still look very nice, however.

 


Now With That Said…

So there are certainly some red flags with King of Fighters XI that could concern you. But, if you like 2D fighters, it’s hard not to recommend. First of all, it’s only about twenty bucks or less, which is really a fine price point for what you get. There’s also a tremendous amount of depth with so many characters and different modes, ranging from Arcade to Endless (where you just fight continuously) to local play multiplayer. Of course, you could spend many weeks learning each characters moves and mixing and matching teams, too. For most gamers, myself included, you will probably tire out of this game long before you have unlocked or completed all of various challenges and modes that are available.

 


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