King of Fighters: Maximum Impact

I'm not big fan of 3D fighters, but SNK's third foray into 3D beat 'em ups is done surprisingly good! I'm sure there were many KOF fans waiting for this 10th Anniversary 3D installment like I was, and I'm also sure their expectations were met with mixed results like me.

The Game
If you were expecting the team elimination mode prominant with the series, then your gonna be big time dissapointed here as there is only a single player mode. Not even a tag mode ala Tekken Tag Tournament or the later Dead or Alive games.Gone are the Orochi and NEST storylines. Gang warfare is theme here! Appearantly some street gang with a hard to remember name (hence why I didn't mention it) has taken over South Town and certain KOF fighters have come to take part in a fighting tournament organized by them. The main story also no longer revolves around Kyo Kusanagi or Heidern's militia, but instead two brothers, Alba and Soiree Meira.Other new characters in the game are femme fatale Lien Neville, nerdy girl Mignon Beart, and Kim Kaphwan disciple, Chae Lim.Returning from the regular series are Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, K', Terry Bogard, Rock Howard, Mai Shiranui, Ryo Sakazaki, Yuri Sakazaki, Leona Heidern, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Athena Asamiya, Maxima and Seth.The new boss of the game is simply called Duke.

If your expecting the face paced action from the original series, your in for a surprise here as NONE of the combos from the previous 2D games were carried over here. Instead, your gonna have to learn a new combo system (called Stylish Arts) where you have to chain multiple strikes into special moves. It can be frustrating at times. Personally, I was expecting them to go the Street Fighter EX route, where the game was in 3D, but plays like the 2D counterpart. It can be frustrating when some characters don't have moves that chain together as easilly as others. But at the same time, several characters have a chain combo you can repeat over and over to beat the whole game with. I'm not sure if it's because I'm more used to playing fighting games in the arcades with joysticks, but I also found it rather difficult to pull of special moves, especially the super moves.
Another thing I've noticed is that this game has the same flaw most other 3D figthers suffer, that being turned based combat where the best strategy is to wait for the opponent to lauch his combo attack, and then hit him with your combo when he's done, then wait again for that next opening.

The original cast translate well to 3D (Mai never looked better!), and the new characters also fit right in despite some of their more bizzare appearances like Alba's hair-do. Backgrounds are the usual closed-off arenas and you can put dents in fences at the edge of the screen in some areas, but that's about it. No big time special weather effects like DOA or the Virtua Fighter games, other than night and day changes.

I actually found myself ignoring the music and concentrating more on playing the game. Up to you guys if that's a good thing or not. But all the original character voices from previous games are brought back here and executed well, though I would have preferred a little more emotion from the character's faces when they speak.

Like I mentioned before, there are no team battle modes, only single player battles. There is also however a challenge mode where you beat various battles with certain restrictions and get rewarded with new stuff like extra outfits for your characters. Beating the Story Mode unlocks the profile for the characters your using, and you can tweak the appearance of the character in the Profile mode. There's also the usual Time Attack and Practice mode and nothing else much else.
I was really dissapointed at the ending you get when you beat the story mode. I was expecting some kind of CG cutscene, but all there was is your character mouthing off something to himself in an empty arena. And the story mode only revolves around Alba, Soiree, Lien and Seth (?). Everyone else is just there to fill in the roster as extras as there is no significance to their storylines whatsoever.

This is definately a game that appeals to 3D fighting fans and die-hard KOF fans will look past any flaws and enjoy it. I liked the game, but will be looking forward more to the sequel. Trust me, I've seen it before. This game is just for SNK to test the waters. Like many games in the past (Tekken, Soul Edge, SF:EX), the sequel will definately be tons better! I still recommend this to tide you over till it comes out in a few years. Until then, bring on King of Fighters 2004!!!

Graphics - 8
Sound - 7
Gameplay - 7
Lifespan - 7
Overall - 7


Blogger Joe Greatness said...

Congrats on your new blog, dude! Anyways, I think there's a flaw in your review as there is a team battle mode if you play the Vs Mode. Of course it doesn't bring much impact in the game. Oh. And Rock Howard was never in the KOF series as this would be his KOF debut.

Overall, good review. Keep it up.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Eric Extreme said...

Rock Howard was in KOF 2003

9:52 AM  
Blogger Eric Extreme said...

OK, My mistake, this was indeed Rock's KOF debut.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Joe Greatness said...

Maybe you were confused about Rock's appearance in Capcom Vs SNK 2?

1:42 PM  

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