The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition Review

KOF XIIIThe King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition (Available exclusively on PC)
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
Release Date: September 13th, 2013

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates The King of Fighters XIII T for teen because of mild language, suggestive themes, alcohol use, and violence. I agree with the disclaimer, but children have been playing KOF for almost two decades now, so take that for what it’s worth.

Plays Like: By 2013 you should know what to expect from a one-on-one brawler. You might not know exactly what makes King of Fighters unique though. Basically it might look like a very casual-friendly 2D fighter, but it’s one of the deepest, and most complex games on the market. If you want to get good, you need to take your time with it, and slowly learn the various combat systems. Don’t expect to be a pro overnight, this is the type of game takes months to learn, but the rewards are well worth the time and effort.

Review Basis: SNK Playmore sent us a review code. Having played a ton of the Xbox 360 version I mainly wanted to see what new features were added and how the net code compared to the console versions.

The King of Fighters XIII was the best fighting game released in 2011. It’s core gameplay mechanics were as complex and deep as you could imagine, while simple enough that new players could button mash their way to some fairly impressive moves. With a lot of practice this fighter actually makes you feel like a pro. It can get complicated though, so I wrote a fairly lengthy article explaining how newbies should prepare for XIII two years ago. Fast forward to today and KOF XIII has become the most popular King of Fighters in years, being heavily featured in the last two EVOs and counting! Now SNK Playmore have created the definitive version for Steam so let’s dig a little deeper to find out what makes this version the King.

KOF XIII2The Great:

Content is everything. The arcade and story modes finish the Ash Crimson narrative that began back in KOF 2003. There’s also a robust training mode available, although it gets complex quick. There are also time attack, survival and mission modes. Once you’ve had enough of the story, and think you’ve had enough training, you can put your skills to the test and to take on the rest of the world. You can play either the traditional offline versus mode, or test your skills online. When combined, all of these excellent modes come together in a stunning package that doesn’t stop delivering the goods.

KOF XIII3The Good:

+ Classic KOF combat. For the uninitiated, players select three characters and battle another three, one character per round. It’s important to note this isn’t tag fighter. This forces you to learn each character’s moves.

+ All three DLC characters from the console versions are here, and for free! You get NESTS-style Kyo, Iori with the Power of Flames, and Mr. Karate. That brings the roster to 36!

+ EX Special, Neo Max moves and Drive cancels form a quicker, more technical fighter than you could possibly imagine. You can cancel one special for another, use Hyperdrive and Neo Max moves together to unleash devastating attacks on unsuspecting foes. It all requires perfect timing and a ton of practice.

+ A great place to start. Thanks to the training modes, KOF XIII is more accessible to newbies than many of the previous entries. Have patience, practice, and don’t let online defeats dull your confidence.

+ Customization options. There are tons of color combinations for characters. Online load-outs can be adjusted so your favorite teams are ready to go with their unique colors, and slogan.

+ One of, if not the most beautiful 2D fighter on the market. The backgrounds are nothing short of stunning and the animations are superb. It’s breathtaking. While PC gamers are used to being able to customize their graphical options, here you can’t really alter anything except lock in the frames, which is extremely handy. The soundtrack is also rocking!

+ I’m pleased to report the net code works perfectly. I played through several online matches, and each one played like a charm. This was the single most requested feature by the fans, and SNK Playmore delivered.

+ Controllers and joysticks are all supported so select your weapon of choice and have at it.

KOF XIII1The So-So:

+/- Can be hard to follow the story for newcomers. A more detailed explanation of what happened before would have been nice, but ultimately I doubt anyone will really care that much.

KOF XIII4The Bad:

– Saiki is cheap, like a lot of KOF bosses.

KOF XIII5The Lowdown:

Coming in at $30 The King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition is certainly the definitive version. If you haven’t played the game before this is a no-brainer. If you have, there might not be enough to bring to back unless you’re into the competitive tournament scene. For new players though, go ahead and pick this version up as it’s totally worth it.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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