SNK Playmore’s long running series makes an appearance exclusively for PC players as King of Fighters XIII Steam Edition enters the fray with pretty much improvements in all areas. However, as a game in its own right, how well does this 2D classic looking game stack up to more modern 3D counterparts.
King of Fighters XIII Steam Edition review text version:
Today we’re taking a look at SNK Playmore’s King of Fighters XIII which released on consoles in 2011 and has been remastered to suit the PC audience in the Steam Edition. The game offers a wide assortment of options after the flashy anime style intro sequence which consist of training tools such as the Tutorial for beginners, and a Practice Mode where moves can be honed. The Tutorial does a decent enough job of conveying the basics, but some players might struggle with the more intricate moves depending on their choice of input. In this regard, the tutorial becomes a bit vague. Arcade sticks are the preferred input method, and if you’ve not got one of those for your PC, then a controller will suffice, and as any fighting game fan will know, in the absence of an arcade stick, some controllers are better suited for fighting games than others.
Once players have mastered and practiced away complete with sore fingers, they can jump into the now obligatory story and arcade modes,with the former offering several player routes to take, and is presented with a number of anime stills and static images. Sadly there is no English voice over which is a shame, but it’s likely the story scenes will be skipped once viewed anyway. The Arcade mode is the mainstay for solo players wishing to jump into the game with the minimal amount of fuss, although there is a little bit of banter between opponents which slows things down a little.
Not content with providing the basics, and much like many fighting games, there’s an assortment of additional modes to mess around with including things like Survival, Time Attack and Missions. These are all neat inclusions for players to really master their chosen teams and with some 37 characters on offer, there’s simply much to choose from.
What is also neat, is the option to tailor characters with their own colour schemes which if you want to go deep can have your entire three man team wearing pink! The interface is a little fiddly, but once the basic concept of customizing in colour groups is understood , it becomes fairly easy to experiment with producing some striking results.
Graphically, the game simply looks much sharper, especially with the stage visuals which animate very well and offer lots of colourful atmosphere. The interface is slick but also a bit cluttered in places, and serves its purpose well enough. The character models are much better looking than their console counterparts but still lack some clarity especially during super moves when the camera pans in close. That said, the hand drawn 2D style looks great here and is the best looking of the 2D games in the long running series which started in 1994. The gameplay itself runs silky smooth locking in at 60fps or more – which can be tailored fixed or variable in the options to suit your set up and also options to change the backgrounds to push more from the game when playing online. This means all those over the top screen filling supers and fast moves aren’t hampered by any hiccups which is great.
The Audio is filled with typical tunes which players will either love or hate, and of course the quips of voices during fights. Sadly, there’s no audio for the talking parts of the game aside from the odd sound here and there which is a shame and makes the game feel a tad empty on the ears.
In terms of longevity, with all the options available for solo players and then the choice of duking it out locally with a friend in the versus mode, or against the computer, makes for an all round package filled with content. To extend the game further, players can head online and tackle the rest of the world by setting up Ranked or Player matches with various options to tinker with to get the most localized players. With improved netcode, the game offers a solid online play experience, although the effect of this is largely down to the connections of the participating players. It’s also advisable to keep contact with regular players as setting up matches might mean waiting for a while.
King of Fighters XIII Steam Edition is a welcome move from SNK to bring its popular series to the PC audience with a game tailored to suit the platform. If you’ve never played a King Of Fighters game before, then this is a good place to start, although be warned, the gameplay is less accessible than games such as Street Fighter. If you like the old school looking 2D games, and are a fan of the genre, then King of Fighters XIII steam edition is well worth the price of entry and will keep players entertained, both on or offline. for quite some time. For fans of the series who might already own the console version, will find the most definitive version of the game here making it a worthy purchase to add to the collection.
Score 8.5/10 – Review by Robert Cram.