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.