The King of Fighters XIV currently has some online issues. Anyone with a copy of the game who’s tried to enter into an online Ranked Match, Free Match, or Online Training may have noticed it the lag or room information acquisition errors. Yasuyuki Oda, The King of Fighters XIV’s producer, even said on Facebook that SNK Playmore knows what’s causing the problem and is preparing a fix for next week. In the meantime, both he and others have found one online element that does work, and that’s Party VS.
The King of Fighters XIV uses an input delay netcode. This means when you press buttons for moves, the game will register and recognize them. They’ll just be implemented on a delay, due to the quality of the connection. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. My early online experiences were largely unpleasant, even after the day one patch. Things in The King of Fighters XIV are fine if I go through the campaign, do some training, or fight battles against a friend offline. Better than fine. It’s great. The second I entered most matches online, well, that’s a different story.
If I did find a fight, either via a Ranked Match or Free Match with friends, there was constant lag. Sometimes, it was relatively minor, but it usually caused every action to drag. We could barely do anything. This was with an ethernet cable plugged into my PlayStation 4 and everyone with allegedly full bars. I was only able to test one-on-one matches during this period, because there weren’t the numbers for anything else.
Once The King of Fighters XIV launched and other people were playing, I was finally able to get into Party VS. Party VS. is The King of Fighters XIV’s six player online multiplayer. The group is divided into two teams of three, with each person controlling one character. Fights proceed as normal, though you only fight when your turn comes up. Everyone is divvied up, randomly if you so choose, picks their fighter, and the match begins.
When The King of Fighters XIV works in Party VS., it’s an extraordinary experience. Everything is clean and smooth. Perhaps I was fortunate enough to have two good days, but I had absolutely no issues on either Wednesday or Thursday. You’re a spectator when you’re not playing. Even the audio was clear and free from any delay when people had their mics plugged in to chat.
It was delightful, because it encouraged a sense of cooperation. I was in it to win it, of course. We all were. But, The King of Fighters XIV’s Party VS also encouraged a sense of camaraderie. You rooted for the other people on your side, even if you were randomly tossed together and didn’t know one another. It was nice to have a little cooperation, even if I wasn’t directly supporting someone, in such a competitive game. If I won, my team benefitted. If I didn’t, well, then maybe I helped knock off enough of my enemy’s health to make it easier for the next person on my team.
The only annoyance was an ever-present, opaque box on the right side of the screen showing who was in the room. It was an unnecessary distraction. I didn’t need to know and see who was there. Especially when no one was using mics and only wanted to play. I didn’t need to know who was there, and I couldn’t find an option to get rid of it.
There was one problem, though. While Party VS. is pretty much a guaranteed good time, you have to get into a room first. I haven’t had any trouble getting into rooms I had created or was invited to, but if I attempt to get into a room someone else had created in any other Free Match online mode, seven times out of ten I’ll receive a “Could not acquire room information” error. It’s an issue plaguing many. The best advise I have regarding it is to completely leave the Online Menu completely, then come back to it and try again.
It isn’t exactly smooth sailing in The King of Fighters XIV just yet. While everything offline works perfectly, your mileage may vary with any online experiences. Party VS. works exceptionally well, if you can find yourself a room, and SNK Playmore is aware of the issues and preparing fixes, so now’s the best time to start working with other people, building your skills with one specific fighter, and getting ready for next week when more improvements have been made.
The King of Fighters XIV is immediately available for the PlayStation 4.