When it comes to fighter games, there are quite a lot of long-running series on the market, but only a few have managed to really stay in the hearts of gamers by providing a well-balanced, fast-paced gameplay that’s open to both beginners and advanced players alike. The King of Fighters, while not exactly the most popular series, is still well-known among fighter fans – and the latest, 12th installment in the series has managed to live up to their expectations.

Gameplay

The basic premise of the gameplay is the same as in the previous games – fights are conducted in a 3v3 scheme, and can last for several rounds. Some of the elements from the previous games have been removed to streamline the combat system, while there have been some new additions to further deepen the skill element and make the game even more challenging as you progress.

One such addition is called “critical counter”, and allows you to score a quick combo of hits whenever you manage to throw a returning strike at a specific moment. This gives you the opportunity to unleash a very devastating attack on your enemy, taking down a lot of their health in most cases.

All of the characters are from the previous games, with the exception of Raiden who’s making a cameo appearance from Fatal Fury. We should say this now though – prepare for a slight disappointment when you open the character rooster – you’ll see only 20 characters, and no, don’t go looking for that “more” button – there aren’t any hidden pages. The game really does only have half of the characters of the previous game – and the reasons for that have been primarily technical, as we’ve explained a bit below. Still, all of the characters offer unique fighting styles and abilities as usual, and the game feels really varied.

Graphics and System Requirements

TKOFXII looks the best in the series so far, with a lot of artistic detail into every background picture and every single frame of the fighters’ animations. Actually, this is what caused the low number of playable characters in the first place – the developers set out to make them so detailed, that it ended up taking them a lot more than expected to draw all of the characters completely, and thus a lot of them had to be dropped.

There’s a noticeable improvement in the controls’ responsiveness as well – not that it was bad in the previous games by any means. Still, all of your hits register instantly, and there aren’t any problems with lag or other input-related issues – the game plays and responds as smoothly as it has to.

Other

If you get to play the game on an arcade box (yes, it actually came out for those as well), you’ll notice two of the characters missing, and that’s not a bug – the characters were simply added to the home console versions a bit later in the development of the game, after it had already come out for the arcade machines.

Conclusion

A solid fighter title, it may disappoint fans of the series with its limited character selection, but after a few rounds you’ll recognize the quality of the TKOF series in this one as well.

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