The King of Fighters XV – DLC Xbox Series X Review

The King of Fighters XV is one of SNK's finest KOF games and a satisfying fighting simulator.

By Rayan, Posted 22 Apr 2023

Fighting games have a reputation for being challenging to pick up, but once you do, they're a lot of fun. And once you commit yourself to learn the basics, they may surprise you and win you over. On top of being a rare series overall, KOF is also unique within this genre.

Since 1994, The King of Fighters franchise has always held a great deal of interest for the genre fans, and it always has been a blast to watch its characters in action. Seeing so much interaction between the characters; gives them depth and shows that they're not just flat stereotypes. If you're up for it, it's a fantastic ride all through.


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The King of Fighters XV is the sequel of XIV and continues in the same vein as its predecessors. The enhanced aesthetics are the most noticeable alteration, demonstrating that SNK is learning to master 3D models and surroundings. The gameplay is much the same, with two key changes for newcomers. The first major change is that reverse DP motions are no longer allowed under any circumstances. Perhaps most notably, rush combos have been modified so that tapping any attack button after using the light punch three times in a row now triggers a super or climax move.

Updates and new features for The King of Fighters XV continues for a Second Season. The latest DLC characters are almost as excited about the next cross-platform update. Kim Kaphwan, followed by Shingo Yabuki, are the latest DLC additions, bringing the total number of playable characters to 54 from the original 39 in the base game. Before that, Rock Howard, B. Jenet, and Gato were introduced, with Sylvie Paula Paula and Najd set to join them in a future DLC.

While there are 54 playable characters with the latest DLC, the vast majority make a return from the previous game. There are multiple paths through the game, as well as hidden team endings, trials, soundtracks, and, of course, the fights. If you're familiar with KOF, you know not to anticipate anything too spectacular beyond the solid fighting package. The story, missions, local multiplayer, etc., can all be enjoyed without an internet connection. The KOF 97 edit team is back as well. For example, if you complete the story using a non-canon squad, you'll have access to a bonus epilogue, some featuring beautiful artwork or witty asides.


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When the story is over, Kyo Kusanagi, and Ash Crimson will have created a piece of art in which they unsuccessfully attempt to replicate the distinctive posture of the other hero. With the right squad compositions, you can access the complete OSTs for the entire KOF series and other notable SNK games like Samurai Showdown, Metal Slug, and Fatal Fury by completing the 8-stage long tale fight mode. However, the lack of single-player content compared to past games is the one downside to The King of Fighters XV. While I won't say that this game is easy for newcomers, it is the most beginner-friendly KOF game to date without compromising on the experience for veterans.

To progress through the story mode, we'll need to choose three characters to work with and then play in classic arcade mode. You have no limitations over which characters to include in our party. However, assembling a squad of members from different canon groups will result in a generic conclusion to the story mode. Playing with predetermined teams is the only way to guarantee to see the characters' final chapters. The game's difficulty can be set anywhere from 1 to 5.

The game's multiplayer mode makes the difference, especially compared to the simplistic single-player mode. Qualifying, casual, room and internet practice are all available in this multiplayer mode. The story mode and the training mode aren't the only ways to learn the ropes; there's also a mode called "Mission," in which you'll have to accomplish certain goals without any help from your teammates. Both the normal and multiplayer Versus modes and the online versions are available for co-op play.


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You can join a room full of other players and play either Ranked or Casual matches. Training mode also includes playing against other players online. As The King of Fighters XV has netcode implemented, it allows for a smooth gameplay experience, and now online battles go off without a hitch. You can still get relatively accurate input in games with a delay of around 100 ms due to the accelerator being turned on.

Light hand, light foot, plus strong hand, strong foot, equals four buttons for this system. Different button presses yield different rolls and other modifiers. This is just the beginning of the possible combinations between standard and special attacks. To make the game more approachable to novice players, rush combos—which require the player to hit the light hand button three times and then either the same button or one of the others at the very end—have been reinstated. The result is an easy-to-learn sequence that culminates in a powerful special attack—call it what you will—super, or even Climax. Rush has a few drawbacks, the most notable being that it doesn't deal full damage and often necessitates close contact to be effective.

The controls are responsive and responsive, and the characters are diverse and interesting rather than feeling like simple model swaps as in some other fighting games. The counters are smooth and satisfying to pull off, and special techniques can be utilized at any time rather than being limited until the power meter is completely full. The game's system has been tweaked so newcomers can easily take it up, while seasoned players will feel perfectly at home.


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Even while EX moves can now be used outside of MAX mode, they still cost two bars of meter instead of one, and MAX mode has been toned down in general and made more expensive to employ. The lineup is excellent, the gameplay feels vastly improved over The King of Fighters XIV, and the ability to EX at will is a game-changing feature. It's impossible to find fault with the game when you consider the brilliant overhaul of Max mode, the excellent netcode, and the incredible implementation of DJ Mode, which lets you hand-pick which songs play where from a vast catalog spanning SNK's history.

The game's visuals are an improvement over the previous installment. While visually identical to KOF XIV, the character models have undergone some welcome refinement, most notably enhanced physics impacting the movement of clothing, hair, and more. Better character animations and cosmetic tweaks to some faces give the impression that the characters in The King of Fighters XV are more animated.

The engaging aesthetics of the game's soundtrack, characters, move sets, and environments ensure you'll want to play 'just one more game' every time. Since the audio doesn't roll back when the game resets, whenever you get a win and the game resets, you'll hear the same loud, abrupt, and drawn-out scream that each character does whenever they lose a round, which is kind of funny the first time but obviously not ideal.


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Sometimes problems like lost connections, extended waiting times, and so on persist online. However, most matches can be found in a matter of minutes. Anyone can have fun playing the same two individuals if you are online during decent hours, are in the same region, and have a connection rating of 3 or above. And it's about time SNK stopped ignoring players who don't want to spend all their time in training mode and gave them something to do besides play online matches or in arcade mode.

Undoubtedly, The King of Fighters XV is one of SNK's finest KOF games. If you're looking for a fighting game with features that will please newcomers and seasoned veterans, go no further than KOF XV. The visual style is stunning, expanding upon the aesthetic presented in SamSho 2019 with vibrant environments, expertly produced character models, and dazzling hits and super effects.

The music is excellent, as expected from an SNK fighting game, and it allows for complete personalization, right down to the menu theme. While not flawless, the games' rollback netcode is a significant improvement over the terrible delay-based netcode of prior releases and ensures a generally satisfying online experience.



 

Overall, The King of Fighters XV is a satisfying experience. Changes like making EX moves available without activating Max mode, slowing down the maximum possible attack speed, and improving the responsiveness of the controls make this my favorite The King of Fighters game to date. The ability to access and use music from previous King of Fighters and other SNK games is a fantastic bonus. It's promising, and SNK should expand upon it in the future rather than see it as a standalone effort.
 

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4
Publisher(s): SNK Corporation, Plaion, SNK Playmore USA Corp.
Developer(s): SNK Corporation
Genres: Fighting
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2022-02-14

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