Not only does it seem like only five minutes since we reviewed the last King of Fighters game, just to confuse things even further, some bright spark has decided to release this game on the same day as the 3D King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2. If nothing else, the series is certainly prolific.
But dodgy timing aside, what does the latst KOF offer that fighters such as Naruto: Ultimate Ninja and Saint Seiya: The Hades haven't already given us? And with the similar Art of Fighting Anthology due later this year, there won't be a shortage of hardcore 2D fighters, either. That budget price could make all the difference.
KoF XI does have a stupidly high character count, with a grand total of 47 bruisers on the roster: three new, seven exclusive to PS2 and seven of whom are playable bosses. These are split into 11 teams to lend the story more weight, which it does if you've been keeping up with previous King of Fighters games.
ENJOY A THREESOME
When it comes down to the fighting itself the game shines. Three-on-three matches are more exciting than one-on-one bouts, and the ace tagging system keeps things fresh and intelligent.
The new Quick Shift move allows a tagged combatant to continue belting an opponent, and the new Save Shift move has that fighter landing a direct hit as soon as he or she enters the stage. Juggling your team depending on the opponent is pretty crucial.
The game is stuffed with modes too. As well as standard Practise, Arcade, Team and Single play, there's a thumb-wrecking Endless mode for those with serious digit stamina, and an extremely tough Challenge mode featuring 40 tests such as performing a Quick Shift combo with all three characters and having ten seconds to KO an opponent whose health recovers to 30%.
There are more glamorous fighting games out there, but none are as hardcore and are packed with as many characters and content as King of Fighters XI. Fans of 2D fighters will easily get their kicks. Isn't it time you joined the party?
As hardcore as these games get, making it a must-buy for any discerning fight fan
- Loads of characters
- Slick tagging system
- Tough Challenge mode
- The usual shoddy presentation