Mukai, a member of a mysterious
group known as "Those from the Distant Land", stole the Orochi seal in
the last tournament and broke it, causing confusion and destruction to happen
from within sight. Taking advantage of the situation at hand, Ash Crimson
attacked Chizuru Kagura in her weakened state and stole the Yata Mirror from her
while draining her powers from within the process.
KOF XI's character
selection screen is slick.
The 11th installment of SNK's trademark
series reintroduces the 3-on-3 tag team gameplay and Tactical
Shift system from the last 2D prequel. This version introduces a variety of new
gameplay enhancements, including: an enhanced
"tag combo" system, canceling system, and counter system. Among these
are the Quick Shift (switch characters during combo), Saving Shift (tag out a character while
they are being hit), and Dream Cancels (allowing players to use stocks to interrupt a move in the midst of its
execution with a more powerful move, opening the door to devastating combos).
Don't let Shion fool
you... Shion's a dude. :/
The home (PS2) version of King of Fighters XI includes a classic 3-on-3
(if tag just isn't your thing) and even
a traditional 1-on-1 mode. The console version presents the most characters ever
to appear in a
KOF game to date... including several PS2 exclusive characters which
were taken straight from Neo
Geo Battle Coliseum (Mr. Big, Geese Howard, Tung Fu Rue, Robert Garcia,
Hotaru Futaba, Mai Shiranui and EX Kyo Kusanagi). The PS2 version also includes
playable boss characters, Color Edit Mode, 4 new
stages, and 10 new BGMs. As far as presentation goes... the intro isn't as flashy or as exciting
as one might hope, and the end boss of the game is really REALLY cheap.
Those flaws are easily overlooked, however, because the VS mode is where it's really at, as usual.
Overall, KOF XI's gameplay
faster and smoother than ever before. The new characters add great variety to the
roster. Most of which are unquestionably cool and fun
to use as well! The important thing is... it still feels
like KOF. Whether you're a long time fan of the series or just a fan of 2D
fighting games in general, you'll find something to like about this
installment. The animation and graphics impress for a KOF title... yes, the 2D
sprites still look dated, but strut their stuff on some impressively sharp
backgrounds. Some backdrops are done in high-res 2D, others in 3D, and the 2D sprites
manage to look decent in both. The home version also has
several graphical options,
including different levels of "sprite blurring" to best suit your TV and
Leona looks sad... I
wonder why. lol.
The extras & options in the home version
of KOF XI are easily the best found in a console KOF game to date. There's a nice
selection artwork and endings to unlock (not to mention all of the unlockable Battle Coliseum
characters), and about 50 or so "challenges" to take on. There are a ton
of options, and the new Color Edit Mode is loads of fun if you're
a 2D sprite fanatic like myself. Not only can you change your characters
colors to your artistic liking, but you can actually change their "fire"
or "effect" colors... which makes for literally infinite possibilities.
Want a K' in all black, with black hair, and have him use black flames? (I did...
and I made
If you've read my previous KOF reviews, you'd
know that I really enjoyed 2000 and 2003... but now I have a new
favorite. The gameplay has evolved significantly, but still offers that classic KOF
gameplay that defines the serious. I definitely dig this edition's roster (even though Yamazaki is on vacation,
KOF XI's Color Edit Mode is a brilliant toy as well... I must've spent a
couple hours in the mode just toying around (then I remembered the game is
actually fun too)! I'd recommend KOF XI to any 2D fighting game fans...
not only to KOF fans. ~TFG