The King of Fighters XV (for PC) – 2022 Review

With The King of Fighters XV, developer SNK took the seed that was KOF XIV, planted it, watered it, and grew one of the best fighting games in recent history. Much more than a new game with fresh skins, KOF XV features an overhauled combat engine that facilitates creative combat, engaging character models, dynamic stages, nearly flawless restoration netcode, and plenty of multiplayer options for you keep in touch with online rivals for hours. a time. Despite a ho-hum practice mode and occasional screen tearing, this $59.99 PC game ranks among the best entries in the series, up there with the resplendent King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition. and The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match.

KOF XV Basics

If you’re making the jump from Guilty Gear Strive or Street Fighter V, the basic structure of KOF XV can be somewhat confusing or intimidating to the uninitiated. As with previous King of Fighters games, KOF XV features 3 vs 3 team battles, so you have to learn multiple characters. Unlike Dragon Ball FighterZ, another team-based fighting game, KOF XV lacks branding, which makes the character ordered as important as the character selection. The meter you gain is passed on to other teammates as characters are eliminated, so placing your favorite fighter – or a fighter that relies heavily on meter – in the anchored (last) position gives that fighter the more options. More on that in a moment.

The default teams, drawn from SNK’s many properties, are: Art of Fighting, Ash, Fatal Fury, GAW, Hero, Ikari, K’, Krohnen, Orochi, Rival, Sacred Treasures, Secret Agent, and Super Heroine. The roster of 39, comprising a mix of forwards, grapplers, zoners, and other genre archetypes, is large by traditional fighting game standards, but rather small for a KOF title. For example, The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition has 64 characters, while The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match has 66 characters. If some of your favorite characters are missing, keep an eye out for SNK’s DLC roadmap. So far, the developer has revealed that Team Garou (slated for a March release) and Team South Town (scheduled for a May release) are coming soon.

The fighting engine

KOF XIV’s DNA is carried over into KOF XV, many specials, supers and highlights continue, but SNK has made major and minor gameplay changes to make this new title stand out from the previous one. The two biggest differences are the new Shatter Strike and Max mode.

Shatter Strike is a new meter-powered armored counterattack that scrunches opponents on the ground or bounces opponents in the air, leaving them ready for a big damage follow-up. Think of it as a KOF return attack that leaves an enemy ready for a combo, instead of just knocking the opponent to the other side of the screen (and you don’t need to be on your guards to trigger it). Traditional backfire attacks still exist too.

Max Mode, on the other hand, is a KOF staple that boosts your character’s attacks and guard crush meter for a brief period. Activating Max Mode immediately after a standard attack or command move unlocks the Max Mode Quick variant. With Max Mode Quick, your character does not receive the standard Max Mode bonuses. Instead, you rush towards an opponent, quickly closing the gap to connect an attack to continue or create a combo. Luckily, you no longer need to activate Max Mode to unleash powerful EX moves, which opens the door to more creativity in battle.

What does all this mean in practice? KOF XV is a remarkably flexible KOF game that promotes gameplay experimentation. Its predecessor relied too heavily on Max Mode and EX moves, but KOF XV rewards experimentation. Newcomer-friendly auto combos make their return from KOF XIV, and they make button-mashing noobs feel like a champ. Luckily, they don’t do too much damage.

King of Fighters XV

Options, options and other options

KOF XV’s home screen is dense with options. You can play the narrative-driven story mode, use DJ Station to listen to over 300 music tracks from SNK’s history (many compositions unlock as you play), engage in battles online casual and ranked, view standings and view match replays.

SNK has shown the community a lot of love by including an esports-friendly tournament mode, tailor-made for locals and majors like Evo. You can save 15 custom teams, configure brackets and rule sets, and save up to 32 participants. It’s a big touch. Luckily, KOF XV lets you join online lobbies to play against others or just watch.

Some gripes

KOF XV is a terrific fighting game with some fun extras, but it’s not without its flaws. First, there is no console PC crossplay, which divides the player base. Considering that KOF XIV has great restore netcode that makes playing remote opponents feel like local matches, it’s a shame PC gamers can’t mix it up with console heads. Crossplay would be particularly useful with KOF XV’s Party Mode, an online mode that sees all six characters controlled by different people. Second, the matchmaking engine doesn’t fully do its job. I can find matches in my area with no problem, but every time I try to find fights elsewhere I get error messages. This is not an isolated problem; people are complaining about it on the KOF XV Steam Community Forums.

Finally, the training mode could have used more time in the oven. Yes, it teaches you how to perform specials, supers, and climaxes, but it doesn’t teach situational game tactics. KOF XV does not have a simplified Super Smash Bros. style control scheme. Ultimate; he has several meters, jumps, jumps and movements that can prove intimidating for newcomers. Learning how and when to apply these moves is essential for high-level play, which practice mode doesn’t account for.

King of Fighters XV

Can your PC run KOF XV?

According to the KOF XV Steam page, your computer needs at least an Intel Core i5 processor, an AMD Radeon R9 280 GPU (with 3GB of video RAM), 8GB of system RAM, and 65GB of available storage. My gaming PC – a rig that houses an Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card – pushed KOF XV to 60fps. KOF XV offers a surprising number of graphics options, including antialiasing, depth of field, shadows, and ray tracing. The game runs well, but occasionally suffers from occasional screen tearing that sees a thin line cut across the screen. Fortunately, there is a simple Vsync fix for thatalthough I hope an official patch will arrive soon.

As a Steam game, KOF XV supports 49 Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, Steam Trading Cards, Remote Play Together, and numerous Gamepads, Battle Pads, and Battle Sticks. As of this writing, it’s unknown if SNK’s latest title can run on the Steam Deck (the game is currently listed as untested). However, that doesn’t mean it’s incompatible with SteamOS (for what it’s worth, KOF XIV is Steam Deck Verified).

The king returns to the throne

The King of Fighters XV runs SNK’s first fighting game franchise, a series that has suffered mixed reception since KOF XII. By building on (and unleashing) the mechanics of KOF XIV, adding strong visual direction, and finally implementing rollback netcode to foster the online community, SNK has crafted a contemporary fighting game that hits under all angles. KOF XV may not have Mortal Kombat 11’s high-end graphics, wild storytelling, or super-deep modes and unlocks, but it does a wonderful job of recreating the arcade/bodega fighting game experience on modern platforms. Hopefully SNK will fix the online matchmaking issues soon.

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