The King of Fighters XII: Lobbies And Lag

By Louise Yang . August 12, 2009 . 2:40pm


Fresh off the afterglow of Street Fighter IV, I was ready to dive into a different type of fighting game. Luckily, right when I needed to take a break from SFIV, King of Fighters XII was released. I hadn’t played a KoF game since the Neo Geo games and was eager to see what I missed.


The game is still true to its 2D roots, but the character models took me a while to get used to. When in close proximity to each other, fighters look overly-pixelated. The jagged pixels are so dramatic that I have to assume it’s part of the style and entirely intentional. I got used to this look, but it was still jarring during my first few matches.


What I couldn’t get used to were the generic Xbox 360 dialogue boxes. They didn’t match the style of the rest of the game at all in either font nor colors. It just looked like the developers forgot about those boxes until the last minute and then couldn’t come up with art quick enough to make it match the rest of the game.


Despite the visual quibbles, I have to say that King of Fighters XII got one thing right: LOBBIES. In online matches, it’s possible to join a lobby and watch a match while waiting for my turn. It was something that I desperately wished other fighting games would have in their online modes. I learned a lot of new tactics just watching people play matches.




Unfortunately, I couldn’t exactly put those tactics to good use online. Believe me, it is no fun to play against people online right now. It’s really a shame that The King of Fighters cannot conquer the enemy known as lag. For a fighting game which focuses on lightning-quick reflexes and speed, any sort of latency issue can ruin a complete match.


I could have been content waiting for a patch if single player mode were more robust, but it isn’t. It really doesn’t offer much, so best find a buddy to fight locally with. At least until a patch is released that fixes online mode. I guess until then, it’s back to the other fighting game for me.

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  • XII translated into a big, fat disappointment for me, considering the existence of KOF ’98 UM and similar with KOF ’02…and I’m paying about a third the price for either (hopefully, for ’02 UM, at least…not sure about import pricing). If nothing else, Samurai Shodown Anthology. I’d play III out of that like no tomorrow…

    But in terms of this-gen consoles…I figure if there’s a game that has won my attention in fighters that are similar as of late, it’s BlazBlue. Easily wins this round of fighters, in my opinion.

    • Yeah, it’s a little disappointed that KoF XII is full priced, but feels so gimped.

      • Mm, exactly. I probably won’t even be interested in this until it reaches the 20 or 30 dollar mark, honestly. Not that I wouldn’t have spent more on it if it was worth it but…there must have been ample enough time to test something like this before release.

        I think with the advent of ‘online patching’ it’s just begun to decay for beta testing and quality because ‘it’s a quick fix’ some time down the road…at least there is the possibility of a fix. Times like this I wish there were more and more localizers such as Working Designs that were more prevalent. I know how the handled what Growlanser II/III was and what it was at the end of it (better than the original).

        I’m just a little tired with cruddy localizations as of late. It’s been a big thorn in my side for gaming in this niche ever since the start of the year and AT2.

    • MrAptronym

      I agree. Every fighter really has its own feel, so it is sad to see any franchise stumble, I played it at a friend’s and I will not be getting KoF 12, at least not for a long while. Maybe if it came out a year ago, before the fighting game rush came full force, but with so many options now? Not a chance.

      Blazblue wins it for me as well. The graphics are perfect, the balance seems pretty good and it really feels like you always have options in a fight. Its not for everyone, but its well made enough that any fighting game should at least check it out.

  • Kris

    The graphics looked pixelated?
    Is is perhaps because the sprites are made out of PIXELS?
    Sorry for the terseness, I’m just tired of hearing that complaint over and over. As Topher Cantler of Destructoid said, complaining that the sprites are too blocky is like complaining that your steak is too beefy.
    Aside from that, I totally agree with you. It’s a great game with a friend, but it lacks in single player.

    • countsean

      Honestly, if everyone just went into options and turned on the smoothing it fixes the pixelation…

    • Here’s my beef with the pixelated look. I understand that sprites are made of pixels, but why are they so blocky? Turning aliasing on is in the options, but why would they have it off as default?

      With the 360 being able to support such a high resolution, there’s no reason why we would need to see individual pixels or blocks. It’s like they *wanted* to make the pixels super noticeable.

      I understand it’s probably a art/design choice, but I just wasn’t prepared for it when I first loaded.

      • Kris

        That’s the thing though: a pixel is simply a block of color. By going the traditional route, they couldn’t make the sprites [i]not[/i] blocky. If they did what more modern fighters are doing and scanned in cels of animation, it would have a smoother look. You’re absolutely right though, it was a design choice, and I suppose you weren’t really complaining about the graphics, I just impulsively jumped to SNK’s defense because I think the game is (in my opinion) the most beautiful fighter I’ve ever played. :p It just grinds my gears to hear of people complaining of pixelation when the sprites are actually made from pixels.

  • QBasic

    Just save yourself a good amount of tears, and pick up BlazBlue. You’ll fall in love with it within the first ten minutes.

  • Advent_Andaryu

    I don’t see why everyone complains about the lag. I play online all the time and I’ve had very few lag matches. Just get a good internet connection… The only game I had lag problems with was Soul Calibur IV. But then again, I had crappy internet then.

    So yeah, I think the IP has a lot to do with it.

    • I thought it could have been my ISP, but I have a pretty good connection. I get 10M down, 2M up, which is pretty good IMO. I don’t have lag issues in other games (PC or 360), so I’d have to assume the lag is with the netcode in KOFXII.

      Since most people are complaining about the lag, chances are, you’re just lucky and somehow escaped it.

  • Volcynika

    BlazBlue has solid netcode and does lobbies great, you can actually leave whenever you want! (aside from when others are selecting a character)

  • BlazBlue is the game you´re looking for :)

    Great fighting, fast paced, basically no lag online and just overall great. Arcade mode has it´s own style, Story mode is even better.

    So if you want a fighter to play instead of SFIV? BlazBlue is your game.

    • Such positive comments about it! That might just push me to purchasing the game, thanks!

    • chris

      i bought blazblue first day, but it does have issues. It is super combo heavy. Long, air juggle combos. In order to not be brutally murdered online you are going to have to memorize big combos. Now i know some people believe that big combo = desirable complexity, but honestly i think that something like sf4 is more complex because it de-emphasizes huge combos for more subtle style variations, defensive play and zoning. This makes sf4 much more friendly to new people and casuals and potentially more rewarding in the long run, as high level play is quite diverse and not just combos.

      Honestly, I recommend battle fantasia, which is an excellent sf4-like fighting game by the blazblue people. Its beautiful graphically (especially to someone who’s involved in an old school/jrpg centered site like siliconera). Only problem is its not played by alot of ppl online, so you need to arrange matches.

      • I´d say SFIV is super combo heavy as well. Sagat with forward HK x2 and then Ultra.

        Ryu with shoryuken focus cancel into Ultra and what not more that you have to know to be able to play online. With very hard lag most of the time.

        At least BB has that with the further the combo goes the less damage it does. Which I can´t say for SFIV, I know of one combo with Sagat that drains about 70% of the opponents life. Which is something that doesn´t really exist in BB.

        Getting brutally murded online is just a joke. Why do you think the levels exist? You don´t challange a lvl 60 player when you´re lvl 1. Unless you do want to get brutally murdered.

        I´m no expert and I suck at defense along with not knowing any combos with my two characters Noel and Jin and I still manage to win. I get clobbered a lot sure but that is from my own weakness and ability to keep rushing straight into combos.

        I can also see that you haven´t fought a good Rachel player, zoning is her game. Defensive ability is something you need to have here, all three types of defense is something you need to know about.

        I´m a new BB player and I enjoy this more than I ever did with SFIV.

        And you haven´t played a lot of BB if you haven´t found out all the various styles. No two characters are the same and cannot be played in the same way. SFIV has Akuma, Ryu, Sagat, Ken which with some few quirks are the same kind of characters with a lot of common combos etc etc.

        I don´t know anything about Battle Fantasia. From the gameplay I just saw I´d say it´s the same kind of combo focused game as BB is. Just that the super attacks are less hits and do less damage. Otherwise I see the same kind of combo focused play from good players.

        But that´s just me. BB is the best figher I´ve seen and played in years.

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