by ThaRaven403

THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV is back with an Ultimate Edition. Find out what it features in our THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION review!

SNK is back on PlayStation 4 with THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION, which packs the main game along with a ton of DLC! For anyone who hasn’t played a game in The King of Fighters series, I’ll start by breaking down the game’s mechanics. As you move left, right, or jump as needed, your attacks are mapped to the four face buttons for your light or heavy punches and kicks. You also have a power gauge that fills up while you fight. This gauge allows you to use more powerful versions of your special moves with slightly different button combinations. One bar will launch the Super version of a move, two bars will launch the MAX Super version, while three bars will create the CLIMAX Super version, with each one being more powerful than the previous one. There is also the possibility of using Cancel moves, where you input a move then quickly enter another one to “cancel” the first one into the second one.

One of the multiple modes this game offers is a Story Mode. Although not on par in my opinion to the likes of Mortal Kombat or Under Night In-Birth, it does give a bit of backstory to the whole tournament. Antonov, a billionaire who bought the rights to The King of Fighters brand, decided to host a new tournament as he claims to be the “first champion” of it, challenging people to come and take his title. Apart from some rare cutscenes here and there during the ten battles this mode offers, which will differ depending on the three-member team you select, you won’t get much else from a story perspective, which is not something unexpected from a fighting game.

Other than this mode, there are a few other modes to keep you busy with the game. There is an Online mode where you can play both ranked or unranked matches, either in 1-on-1 or 3-on-3. Versus mode is pretty much the same, except that it can be played with a friend either locally or online. There’s a tutorial with 33 lessons to complete, which will allow you to learn the basics of the game, from movement to attacks to basic moves, all the way to the more complex ones that you can link together. You also have the Training mode, where you can spar with a computer opponent, with a few options to alter its behavior, such as if it’s in a guard position or not.

Mission is a huge mode that’s actually separated into three different types. Time Attack is where you’ll try to beat ten opponents in 1-on-1 battles with the best possible time. Survival – another classic fighting game mode – will have you fighting 1-on-1 as you try to clear out the most opponents possible before being defeated. Then there is Trial Mode. This mode gives you five trials per character to complete. While this is a small number, it adds up to a huge amount of trials to do considering the impressive roster the game has to offer.

Visually, the game looks great, even when you consider the fact that it is a game that is a little over four-years-old – although it did receive an update to its graphics post-launch. The 2D character models look really great, and the backgrounds also have a lot of details in them. Sure, they’re different from the 2D pixel art the franchise is known for, but SNK decided to go in a different direction. You don’t see Mortal Kombat using recordings of real-life actors for their fighters!

Having missed a couple of iterations of the franchise, I was really glad to have the chance to try it out. In terms of gameplay, there is a lot to love here. The Story Mode gives you a lot of replay value as you try to get all of the endings for the different teams, and the Mission Mode can also keep anyone busy for a while if you intend on clearing all the characters’ trials. Speaking of characters, the roster here is just awesome. The base game already had 50 characters, but this edition comes with the eight DLC characters that were released for the game post-launch. It’s probably one of the biggest rosters I’ve seen in a fighting game! The DLC characters are Whip, Ryuji Yamazaki, Vanessa, Rock Howard, Oswald, Heidern, Najd, and Blue Mary. Other than said additional fighters, the Ultimate Edition also gives you ten extra costumes for some of the characters and ten themes to use on the PS4 console.

With all that being said, the fighting itself has to be fun if you are to enjoy that much content, right? And the good news is that it is really good! There isn’t too much repetition between the fighting styles of all the characters, so a lot of variety and depth is present, and it will take some time before you find the right characters that fit your own gaming style. There are many potential combinations, so you’ll be playing this one for a long time.

From a trophies perspective, this is the same list as the original release, which means it will be a long and hard road towards that Platinum trophy! There’s a bit of grinding involved since you have to complete Story mode with all the preset teams, beat Story Mode in the hardest difficulty setting without using continues, and clearing a total of 100 trials. But the true challenge lies in the many trophies tied to the online side of the equation. Winning 100 Ranked matches – including having a winning streak of ten consecutive matches – will be what keeps many trophy hunters from achieving that Platinum.

THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION is without a doubt the one to get for fans of the franchise who haven’t yet played it on PlayStation 4. It’s the same game that was released four years ago, both in terms of main content and trophies, but it does pack a ton of extras with eight DLC characters and plenty of DLC costume packs, and even ten PS4 themes, all at a great price.

This THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by SNK.

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