King of Fighters XIV Primer Guide by Hellpockets
Out of all the comments I've read regarding The King Of Fighters 13, the most common had to be that the game was enigmatic in its approach to the fighting game science. At first, this baffled me, because the game made perfect sense from my perspective. Later, I realized that when people were lamenting to me about how hard the game was, it wasn't because other KOF players were on some unattainable plateau of dexterity. Rather, it was simply a lot for first-time KOF players to take in and adjust to. To help level the playing field before the release of KOFXIV, I've outlined some important details below.
Let's Dive Right In!
So you you want to get into KOFXIV? Excellent choice! I'll start by saying that if you didn't play KOF13, it's OK. KOFXIV is going to be a different experience overall. SNK transitioned from 2D to 2.5D, and this brought a host of visual and mechanical alterations along with it. Some characters will return, and some characters won't (Shen Woo, Mr Karate and Hwa Jai no are no longer present to kill your vibe). But the biggest change is probably that the drive subsystem has been shelved in favor of a revamped MAX system from KOF98 and KOF2002. Straight up, this isn't the same game, and my experience has been that anyone can win. So don't be afraid--let's dive right in!
One of KOF's unique aspects is its history of varied movement options. At a glance, characters are able to run, back dash, jump, high jump, hop, hyper hop, roll backwards and forwards. There's a lot going on here at a basic level! So let's have a closer look.
- Walking and Running
A standard jump will cover a short distance at a moderate speed. A hop will cover a short distance with minimal vertical height. A super jump covers a large distance with increased speed. A hyper hop will cover a moderate distance with increased speed and minimal vertical height. These different jumps have various uses throughout the course of a match. For instance, a hop gives you the airborne status of a jump with even less airtime, which can allow for a more immediate jump-in opportunity.
Tip: Make sure you mix it up for the appropriate situation--for example, if your opponent has a good projectile, you may not be able to hop or hyper hop over, which means a standard of super jump will be needed. If your opponent has been crouch blocking a lot of your offensive approaches, try hopping in on them to mix them up. Note: This author does NOT recommend full jumping Athena's fireball--you'll eat a psycho sword and be back to square one.
- Evasive Rolling
Evasive rolling comes with its weaknesses: at the end of each roll, your character is vulnerable for a period of time, which can lead to crucial and unnecessary damage incurred.
Additionally, rolls are not safe against both standard and command grabs. Overall, rolls do have their place in combat, but they can be risky if executed obviously. Otherwise, a well-placed, well timed-roll can be powerful.
It goes without saying that this is why we're all here: Doing damage to an opponent, placing them into uncomfortable positioning, preying upon their insecurities and perhaps even causing some new ones to manifest through attacking. And in KOF, you're going to be doing a lot of that.
- Basic Attacks
There are countless other uses for many of the great normal attacks that are in KOFXIV, and you should have a lot of fun discovering them in the characters you choose.
This new feature is a potent game changer. Landing a blowback dramatically shifts the momentum of a match thanks to the fact that wallsplat allows a character to be juggled afterwards, and in some cases--if your timing is right--your attacks will RE-STAND your opponent to allow for a full combo on a grounded opponent.
- Command Normals
- Guard Cancels
- Special Attacks / Super Attacks
- Max Mode and EX Specials
Activating Max Mode raw affords you the chance to use EXs, but has a lot of cool down. A safer method of activating is Quick Maxing, which you can activate immediately after making contact with a normal attack. Doing this cancels the recovery frames of the attack and instantly puts you in Max Mode. The cost of this safer and more offensively potent activation is that your max bar is effectively halved, which reduces the time you can use EX moves in quick succession. Some characters will benefit from Quick Maxing more than others, but it remains to be seen how much.
It's a fighting game, not a math quiz.
Burn To Fight!
So we've gone over the basics of what comprises KOXIV. With much more exploration, players will discover deeper elements of play and meta within. Still, what about the rest of the story? Character data? Matchups? Team Synergy? All of these things are important to research and study in KOF. Exploring these areas, with the exception of raw data, also begins to blur the lines between science- and experience-based information. A wise man once said, "it's a fighting game, not a math quiz," or something like that. My advice? Play the game--a lot--and enjoy it for its personality, depth, and the amount of love and dedication SNK poured into it. If you do that, learning it will come that much easier.