King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2

A lot of controversy surrounding SNK’s second attempt at bringing the famed King of Fighters franchise to the 3D gaming world, mostly to do with fashion designer Falcoon designing the characters for the game. You either love the bizarrely dressed and hair-styled new fighters he’s come up with compared to the original grittier looking fighters, or you don’t.
One look through the roster and you can easily see how Falcoon’s work sticks out like a sore thumb as all the characters he created have odd color schemes and clothing. And their alternate attires are even more bizarre, like Nagase’s frog suit, and the original KOF cast aren’t spared in those regards as some characters are given a complete overhaul to look completely different from their original form. You don’t even feel like playing as some of them because of these, and that’s never a good thing to have a truckload of characters no one wants to play as.
Audio-wise, this is probably the first game I’ve played where the Japanese voices sound like they are reading off a really bad script. And the background music is just forgettable.
As far as the gameplay goes, some will take the time to learn all the complex combos in the game to dish out massive damage, which the CPU isn’t shy about doing itself with certain characters (be wary of Alba!), but you can also get away with just button mashing and cheap strategies like continuous sweeping attacks can get you far in CPU battles. At least they were smart enough to automatically cut off certain combos that could have scored infinite hits until the opponent is defeated.
They also added a “parry” button so you can dodge attacks and break certain combos, but the timing is really hard to get down so most players will probably overlook it altogether.
And then there are the fun little mini-games you can play to beat the clock and test your skills, and also acts as a quick way to unlock the alternate outfits for your fighters. You have to play through the main story mode to unlock the hidden fighters.
Overall, while the game is much improved over the original Maximum Impact, it still seems to be lacking something to keep your attention for long. If you don’t have someone to play against or on-line play, you might not stick around long after unlocking all the extras. I think it would have been cool if they tried for the team battle system that the series was known for.

Graphics – 8
Sound – 6
Gameplay – 7
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 7


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