Its been close to 2 weeks now since I purchased my copy of King of Fighters XII. With the new car smell gone, I can actually sit back and talk about how really great this game is. Ignition worked their asses off for 4 years. Their hard work truly paid off in the gameplay, sound effects, and graphics department. Ignition has laid the foundation for the future of SNKP and themselves. I am glad that they decided to go in this new direction. They knew using the same sprites for 15 years was only going to cater to already fans of the series. They weren’t experience growth if they continued down the same path. I can attest to this since I never played KOF games on a serious level like I do KOF12. I have brought most of the KOF games, and yet I only played here and there. I always loved SNK character designed and for a fighting game series its always had a really good story line. Even on 2DF where I play KOF98 and KOF2002, I normally find myself playing SFA3.
I love the graphics and animation in KOF12. Every movement, special move, standing animation, devastation attack, stage levels, 3D effects in the foreground and background are just amazing. It looks like everyone at Ignition drew and created these effects from their heart. The camera zoning in feature adds to the drama on stage. The music is great and the sound effects. Every hit sounds deep and impactful, especially with a Critical Counter opener! I can never get enough, everytime I land one I always say outloud, “gotcha”! I love the stages, they are so alive and full of things you notice over time. I like to go to practice mode and check out everything thats happening in the background. The french stage being my favorite. Its so original!
The gameplay is where this game truly shines. I love the new features Deadlock, Guard counters and Critical Combos. Deadlock adds a nice twist to just trading with someone else. Which really annoys me at times, the Deadlock system allows you can counter with anything you want to or not counter at all. This adds a lot to the mix-up game found in KOF12. Gaurd Counters work like SF4 but I think they actually work in this game! In SF4 an open focus attack is just too risky to use. You leave yourself at a huge disadvantage since it can be so easily defeated. Last but not least the Critical Combo. Finally, Ignition has done the CC right. Take notes Capcom. You cant sit on this feature and use it when you want to. You have a window of oppotunity which your opponent knows about. You really need critically think how you are going to use it or not use it at all. This adds another layer to the mix-up game. The fighting engine not only gives you 4 ways of jumping at your opponent, you can dodge attacks, Deadlock projectiles, fallbreak, combo command grabs, dash and backstep. Adding to the already thick layer of a gameplay blanket this game comes with.
In closing, by making this investment, they have enabled themselves to return to the pre-2004 era where they could easily manage annual releases. Simply continuing onward at the status quo, they’ve paved their way towards being more noticeable and attracting a new audience. SNKP/Igniton, lets get this netcode up on par with the other fighters out there and you will truly have a gem on your hands.