It’s only really beat-em up’s that get this many chances; with a whopping twelve K.O.F cross-platform titles preceding it, there’s no doubt that if you’re not a long term fan already, then you’ve definitely come across the series at one point or another. Developers SNK Playmore have reportedly dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to improving on 2008’s paltry entry to the franchise (which was met with universal indifference by fans and critics alike)and K.O.F XIII certainly looks to be up to scratch so far.

Apparently SNK Playmore have been careful to listen to their audience, paying close attention to the known gripes toward their last HD attempt; there’s an improved core combat system which has been refined with feedback from the K.O.F community in mind; network functionality has been addressed and SNK have promised that this’ll make for a smoother, faster and all together more satisfying gameplay experience.

Fighters have received striking renders that look infinitely more refined against lush, detailed backgrounds. And with over 30 playable characters, and half a dozen play modes (including online vs, of course) number 13 in this long standing and much loved franchise should represent weeks, perhaps months of replayability.

For those of you who picked up King of Fighters XII and felt its mediocrity was a kick to the gut, fear not for if SNK and publishers Atlus are to be believed, XIII will be the HD version that cements the franchise into the current generation.

Game Modes

  • Story Mode

In STORY mode, players can view events from multiple characters’ perspectives, including Ash, Heidern, and Adelheid.  In addition, the story will be influenced by the player’s choices and battle results.  All of this is presented through a wealth of new visuals and animations that fans cannot afford to miss!

  • Online Vs. Mode

ONLINE VERSUS mode will feature three different match types, each allowing players to challenge other rivals worldwide: RANKED MATCH, PLAYER MATCH, and FRIEND MATCH/XBOX LIVE PARTY. RANKED MATCH follows strict rules, reflecting players’ records in official rankings. Unranked PLAYER MATCH fights allow for custom rules, letting players enjoy more relaxed battles with more freedom to experiment with new strategies. FRIEND MATCH/XBOX LIVE PARTY lets players invite online challengers.

  • Mission Mode

MISSION mode offers three challenging objectives to help players practice and improve their fighting skills!  Beat all the CPU-controlled characters as fast as possible to record the best time in TIME ATTACK.  See how many CPU-controlled characters you can defeat before your life gauge is depleted to zero in SURVIVAL.  Take on special challenges for each character in TRIAL Mode.

  • Tutorial Mode

Series newcomers or fans looking to improve their skills can turn to the TUTORIAL mode, in which tournament organizer Rose Bernstein explains the different basic controls for each character and the importance of each gauge.

Other modes available in the console version of KOF XIII include ARCADE, VERSUS, PRACTICE, REPLAY, GALLERY, and CUSTOMIZE.  More details will be made available regarding these modes at a later date.

There’s already been a veritable truckload of footage released to illustrate the new and improved combat system in action on your favourite characters. You can find these dotted around YouTube but why bother, when I’ve assembled them all here just for you?

So that’s our first look at King of Fighters XIII. Are you excited or sceptical about anything mentioned above? Please do tell….

King of Fighters XIII is released on the 25th of November for XBox 360 and PS3.

Get more like this direct to your Facebook feed.

Want to write about the stuff you're passionate about and GET PAID? Click here to become a contributor.

This article was first posted on October 30, 2011