by the_nmac

Relive one of the best fighting games ever made, and maybe the best King of Fighters ever! Check out our THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH review!

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Exceed your limits and unleash your unlimited power!

KOF 2002 was lauded as the most refined KOF game upon its launch, and its fully tuned up upgrade THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH is about to rock PlayStation4 users’ socks off!

The new mysterious character Nameless dukes it out with KOF fan favorites, including those from the Orochi and NESTS sagas, in this massive 66 character brawl!

KOF fans rejoice as online play is fully supported by cutting-edge rollback netcode. Also, having your ten most recent online matches automatically saved for your viewing (dis)pleasure on top of matchmaking cool-downs to prevent matching with the same person over and over again means players have more tools than ever to improve on their game!

Take on the world’s strongest players and unleash your true potential!

I had the chance to review THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV ULTIMATE EDITION, and it made me remember my love for the franchise. With a resurging interest, I was doing some research into the franchise, so I was delighted to know that I would be getting a chance to review THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH, which many consider one of the best entries in the series, on the PlayStation 4.

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I will say that it’s an interesting juxtaposition to move between KOF XIV and KOF 2002 UM. I mean, there is a very obvious almost 15-year gap between them, one uses 2D sprites, and the other uses 3D graphics. But as much as the games in the franchise have evolved, some things have remained constant. Stages from XIV were clearly familiar to me in 2002, move sets for most of the characters remain, and even the flow of the matches had a familiar ring to them.

What is KOF 2002 Unlimited Match? It’s essentially a rework of the standard 2002 release, which did not do well with critics nor with fans of the series. But sometimes, when you update a game with big enough changes, you find yourself with something that is quite remarkable. When the developers were done revamping KOF 2002, we were left with what could be one of the best entries ever. Just like other games in the beloved franchise, you take on a series of team battles in which you select your three fighters, pick the order in which they will go into action, and try to beat your opponents round after round so that you can receive a small boost to your health during the next round.

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What blows me away is the size of the roster since it features 66 fighters! This may be the largest roster in fighting game history, and, for the most part, all of the characters stand out. It’s actually kind of incredible given the number of fighters that have populated the KOF roster over the years and how many just are not used so regularly. Now there definitely is some cloning going on. I mean, Kyo is in the game three times, all with slight variations of his existing move sets, but other than him, the rest of the fighters certainly have a unique feel.

One thing missing is the lack of any semblance of a story. When I played KOF XIV, I finished the game with every team so that I could see their endings and try and place what the overarching story was for the game. In KOF 2002 UM, there isn’t a story, which means there are no endings, so playing as every single team does not really matter, which makes it easier to mix and match the fighters you select to play with. In some ways, it was nice not having the to follow a story, but you do miss having a bigger connection to each of the characters.

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In terms of gameplay mechanics, you have your super meter gauge, which will initially store three charges which you can use to unleash more powerful special moves. I always enjoyed canceling a move into a super move when doing combos. You also have the ability to go into Max Mode, which takes a full charge from your gauge but puts you in a special timed mode where you can cancel normal attacks – which you normally can’t do – and adds the abilities to cancel special moves at the same time into others extending combos.

KOF 2002 UM is presented on a 4:3 aspect ratio with borders around to fill up space in the 16:9 world we live in. It’s digitally accurate to the original with pixel lines on the screen, really creating that authentic arcade experience. You can fool around in the settings with your visual presentation to get the experience you want to have. This is a visually charming game, and right at that time before we saw more of the hand-drawn animation-style visual presentation that games like Guilty Gear would bring to the table, shifting away from pixels for a while. The music in this game is jamming as well. I had a great time listening to all of the tracks, with a special shout-out to the track running on the beach stage. And speaking of shout-outs, I do want to mention there are a ton of cameos in the backgrounds for each stage. SNK has a deep history of doing things such as this, and it’s something that felt missing in KOF XIV. Hopefully, this makes a return in KOF XV later this year!

THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH is a perfect old-school 2D fighting game that is a must-play for fans of the genre on PlayStation 4. I had a ton of playing, and it was cool to go back to a game I missed back when it was originally released. The fighting mechanics are really solid, and the game features a massive roster and lots of interesting characters, with very few clones. The art style and the music are on point as well. If you are looking for one of the best games in The King of Fighter series – that you probably haven’t played yet! – then you have to give this one a shot!

This THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by SNK CORPORATION.

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