Sunday, August 23, 2009

King of Fighters XII: Why Bother?

We're fans of fighting games. We like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, no question.

We respect the fact that sometimes, when it comes to fighting games, graphics can take a back seat, while the very idea of a plot line is laughable.

Let's face it, it's all about the action. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

So, King of Fighters XII comes out, and we take a look at some of the gameplay videos before we get our hands on the game, and we say to ourselves, "Well, the graphics aren't really impressive, but there's a devoted following for these King of Fighter dudes, and maybe they know something we don't."

There was also quite a lot of press surrounding the release of the game. That's par for the course; you spend money making games, you spend money publicizing the games so the fans will spend their money buying the games, right?

But there's only so far we are willing to go when it comes to shelling out $60 hard-earned dollars for a game.

And King of Fighters XII left us cold.

It's not just the problems with online and multiplayer gaming right from the get-go, requiring patches straight out the door, though they might have waited to release the game until they got the kinks worked out.

[Blizzard is one of the few franchises that get that right, btw. They've pushed back Strarcraft II more times than we can count, but at least we have faith that when Starfcraft II comes out it will be godly straight out of the box.]

No, there're so many things wrong with King of Fighters XII that we couldn't find many willing to take it on just to go through them all here. Hence the delay for this review. We don't like sticking it to the game people, but the King of Fighters XII that won some early awards in pre-release play somehow morphed into this lackluster, 2D sprite fighting game with few options and frustrating game play.

Twenty-two fighting characters, first off. Twenty-two. I don't know about you, but if I'm playing a fighting game, I want to scroll through hella more choices than that.

And then what's with the backgrounds? There's what, five different backgrounds? Again, you've gotta be kidding me. Double that, at least, is what I'm looking for in a good fighting game. Though in this case, that might actually be worse. Bright, colorful, but bizarre, they actually take away from the game by pointing out how dreary and dull the sprite fighters look against them.
What the hell is going on behind us?!

No final boss. You think I am fighting for my health, here? We're already short on all the unlockables we were hoping for. Maybe we're showing our age, but we expect some kind of reward for toughing out the matches.

Now, I know the King of Fighters franchise fanbois think we just.don't. get. it.

Maybe they're only 22 frickin' guys, but they're your guys. You love your KOF cast, right?

Oh, yeah? Well, not only are you missing a lot of your guys in this game, but some of them have been seriously re-worked. We're talking bulked up or--how do we say this?--sexed down. In other words, you can only chose between have these huge brawny fighting guys, or these metrosexual gender-neutral anime emo sprite dudes (dudettes?), pale shadows of the franchise heroes.
We'e confused about our sexuality. Let us duel to the death.

Which is why we ask, when it comes down to King of Fighters XII--why bother?