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The King Of Fighters XIII Review


Game Details

Game Scores


Ian Dransfield

Can SNK Playmore deliver King Of Fighters XIII with enough punch to KO Street Fighter? Check out our review to find out.

Published on Dec 16, 2011

Loath as we are to open a review talking about the last game in a series, we sort of have to here as we never did review The King Of Fighters XII.

Basically, it wasn’t all it was jacked up to be – it looked nice and all, but ultimately felt lacking and was home to some awful design decisions (the zooming camera being a particularly irksome issue for many). It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t everything it could – or should – have been.

That context is necessary to highlight the progress King Of Fighters XIII has made. It hasn’t just been added to – it’s been taken away from. That may sound like a negative, but then it shows developer SNK listens to its fanbase and makes changes accordingly (irksome zoom camera: removed).

This removal of elements that were nothing but bad for the game have left something purer, more welcoming and more like the King Of Fighters game fans would have hoped for last time around.

Additions come in the form of a few combo modifiers, like drive cancels, and elements like EX super moves – upgrades to standard specials that take one super bar and do far more damage.

The sort of thing you expect in any modern fighting game, really, but no less welcome as a result. The strategic depths Kings Of Fighters XIII allows you to work your way through are coupled with a general ethos of simplicity – newcomers to the game, even though it’s the 13th entry (plus a fair few more) to the series, won’t be left confused or wanting.

If you can pull off a quarter-circle forward and hit a button afterwards, you can at least try to hold your own. Just maybe not against the last boss, as he/she/it is a complete and total plum, albeit not to the levels of, say, Seth in Street Fighter IV or Azazel in Tekken 6.

The King Of Fighters XIII is imperfect; home to some punishing difficulty spikes, a few redundant characters (would the world be a worse place if Ralf didn’t exist?) and the ability to spam yourself silly with certain moves (K’s dragon punch-alike).

It doesn’t push the fighting genre off in interesting or particularly technical new directions, but what it does – classic, pretty straightforward one-on-one brawling – it does well. And it certainly handles itself a hell of a lot better than King Of Fighters XII did. A step in the right direction by SNK.


Score Breakdown
8.2 / 10
7.1 / 10
7.8 / 10
7.2 / 10
8.4 / 10
7.6 / 10
Final Verdict
After the misstep of last time around it’s good to see the KOF series back on track. Number 13 won’t win many new converts, nor will it surprise veterans of the franchise – but what it does, it does well.

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Game Details
Release Date:
Rising Star Games
SNK Playmore
No. of players:
7.6 /10
King Of Fighters XIII rectifies so many of its predecessors flaws to make it a big improvement. But not enough to compete alongside the quality of its competitors.
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