King of Fighters XIV demo out on July 19

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King of Fighters (6)

I’ve got a confession to make: As much as I love the art of digital fisticuffs, I’ve never ever touched a King of Fighters game. Not once. I’ve honestly got not excuse, especially when I see a legacy of polished 2D visuals that have evolved to throw in an extra half dimension of properly rendered animation while retaining its core style and charm.

Tomorrow, I’m changing all that and finally dipping into the King of Fighters tournament thanks to the release of a handy demo tomorrow on PS4. “With seven playable characters, the demo is just a taste of what awaits with the full 50-character roster when the game arrives on August 23. The King of Fighters XIV marks the first time the series (which has been around since 1994, by the way) has been rendered in 3D. Since seeing is believing, the demo will show you the latest evolution for the franchise,” Atlus PR manager John Hardin wrote on the PS Blog.

But for long-time fans and newcomers alike, SNK has been taking extra special care to ensure the game is balanced and refined. It’s the best enhancement of the series since KOF ’98, with a complete overhaul to Combos and MAX Mode to make it more approachable for beginners, while remaining the most competitive entry in the history of the series.

And to get you ready for the demo on Tuesday, we’ve gone ahead and compiled some tips from our ace play testers for each of the seven characters available in the demo to help you get a head start!

I’m properly curious to see if King of Fighters has what it takes to satisfy that urge I have for super-technical 2D fighters, a desire thay is normally fulfilled by the likes of Guilty Gear or Blazblue. Which is why I’m studying the character tips that Hardin mentioned. I’ve copied and pasted them below, so have a read and see which silly-named brawler is going to suit you best:

King of Fighters (1)

Kyo Kusanagi

Style: Standard fighter
Strengths: Good attack normals, good special attacks, armor properties on some moves, easy combos
Weaknesses: no glaring weaknesses
Difficulty: 2/5
Notes: For veteran players and newcomers alike, Kyo is a great character to choose. In addition to his old moves returning, he has even more follow-up attacks for his special moves, giving him a lot of threatening new options for offense. Try using the two hits of his command move, 88 Shiki, to react and activate into MAX mode for high damage combos. Standing HP into down-forward HK is a good combo starter.

Mai Shiranui

Style: Zoner, keep opponents at a distance
Strengths: Really good normal attacks, excellent EX special attacks in Max Mode
Weaknesses: no big combos, low damage
Difficulty: 2/5
Notes: Her fan projectile can be used to harass opponents, especially the EX version which will have a follow-up that hits on the way down. To deal with her projectiles, players will eventually have to jump. This easily sets them up to be countered by Mai’s flame-pillar super, Kagerou no Mai. EX Kachousen in Max Mode are excellent tools for pressuring opponents into making mistakes. Her standing HP is a useful tool in most circumstances.

Iori Yagami

Style: Standard fighter
Strengths: Fast attack normals, decent special attacks, easy combos
Weaknesses: no glaring weaknesses
Difficulty: 2/5
Notes: Similar to Kyo, players who used Iori previously will feel right at home with his new version — he is an offensive monster when played properly. Try making use of short hops combined with his jumping HP to mount an assault on enemies. Use Max Mode in combos for extreme damage. Forward LP and its follow-up are useful as a combo starter.

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Sylvie Paula Paula

(Series newcomer)
Style: Battery, builds meter for team
Strengths: Builds power gauge really well, has great EX special attacks in Max Mode
Weaknesses: short range attack normals, no big combos outside of cornering opponents
Difficulty: 1/5
Notes: Her command list is simple but effective. Use Denki Kaijin, her electricity attack, to poke at enemies and annoy them. Kaiten Coil, her uppercut kick, also makes for a solid anti-air. Her level 3 super, Mechahaya Reboot, is unique in that you can continue your combo after hitting the opponent with it. Use Max Mode outside of combos for access to EX Dischar-Jing (auto-guard properties) and EX Denki Kaijin (crumples opponent for a combo).

King of Dinosaurs

(Series newcomer)
Style: Grappler, goes for big throws
Strengths: Good damage on special attacks, good throw mixups
Weaknesses: very slow, gets pressured easily, no real combos
Difficulty: 3/5
Notes: Like most grapple characters, he is slow at moving around but becomes much more effective at close-range. Having strong patience will pay off the most when using King of Dinosaurs. The HP and EX versions of his Zetsumetsu Hurricane have armor frames, allowing him to absorb attacks up-close and plow through with a powerful command grab. Apply pressure with Ankylo Hammer and use Break to go for Zetsumetsu for the mixup. If backward LP (Yucatan Punch) is landed, he can go into Ankylo Hammer or Climax move for serious damage.

Shun’ei

(Series newcomer)
Style: A mix of Zoner and Combo-heavy
Strengths: High damage, excellent EX special attacks in Max Mode, great mobility
Weaknesses: Short range attack normals, most special attacks are unsafe
Difficulty: 4/5
Notes: This character has powerful EX special moves and is most effective with MAX mode activated. Because of his dependency on meter, however, it may be a good idea to place him on the back of the team so that other characters can build meter for him to use. His air dash grants him unique mobility options never before seen in a KOF game. Primarily uses Max Mode outside of combos for access to big damaging tools. Scarlet Phantom and EX Scarlet Phantom are primary starters and approach tools. Use Thruster Vision to maneuver and throw the opponent off.

Nelson

(Series newcomer)
Style: Command normal chains, chain-heavy
Strengths: lots of mixup potential, can pressure the opponent very well
Weaknesses: no use for Max Mode, no real combos (uses a chain system)
Difficulty: 5/5
Notes: His chain of attacks have a lot of branching pathways, so he’s great for players who like to mix up their offense with unpredictable patterns. When playing as Nelson, try to stick to your opponents and don’t give them a chance to breathe. Nelson should not prioritize meter and is best played as a “battery character” on point position. He can open up the opponent with a lot of high/low mixups. Very difficult character for beginning players to use.

King of Fighters XIV is out on August 23 on PlayStation. I think I want to play it more than any other game because it has a feathery dinosaur-themed luchadore in its ranks. I mean, how do you beat-that?

 

Last Updated: July 18, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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