King of Fighters XII: First Impressions

RIght now as I'm typing this up, I'm over watching some friends play the latest incarnation of King of Fighters and boy oh boy does it look nice. 

It's pretty breathtaking to watch, although nothing is ever without a few faults — I'll get into that later.  Right now, let's just focus on what works with King of Fighters — namely the graphics and controls. 

Out of all the previous versions, King of Fighters truly does play like a new beast.  Critical Counters play a huge part in the gameplay, setting the stage for more advance strategies and wake-ups never before seen in previous games.  Executing combos are brain dead easy, all you need to do is mash a button to keep the counter rising (Street Fighter Alpha anyone?).  The downside is that damage you dish out gradually lowers, so the best strategy is to do the maximum amount of damage in the fewest amount of hits possible.

Graphics-wise, King of Fighters looks amazing…from a distance.  Up close you can clearly see the jaggy pixels, but considering the frenzied pace of the game it won't matter much.  All of the characters look vibrant and fluid, much more than the older, blocky sprites of games past.

I want to say that King of Fighters XII feels less fluid than Street Fighter IV.  The worst moments occur when you're trying to move about the stage (which feels clunky sometimes — odd for a fighting game).  You can't quick-fall like you're supposed to.  The game encourages you to think carefully about your actions.  This isn't the fast paced fighter that King of Fighters XII was.

At any rate, let's watch some match videos shall we?  Perhaps that'll give you a better overall impression for how this game runs:

「HD」Devastation 2009 KoF XII Casuals L

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