|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SNK Playmore||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SNK Playmore||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are a lot of old traditions mixed in with some new techniques which add even more depth to the already impressive gameplay setup. Most veterans are familiar with KOF's many maneuvers such as Runs, Rolls, Short Jumps, Guard Cancel CDs and Rolls, Empty Cancels, and the returning Quick Emergency Roll.
The newest iteration brings several more tactics along for the party. Tactics such as Quick Shift, the Saving Shift, the Skill bar, and the Dream Cancels add double the strategy to the fight. Using these skills require the use of Skill Stocks or Power Stocks. The Power Stocks from previous titles are still present. Skill Stocks, on the other hand, are new and gradually fill up over time. The maximum Skill Stocks you can hold are two, and you start off with the max limit. Whenever you use offensive maneuvers such as Desperation Moves, Guard Cancels, and Tag Attacks, you use up Power Stocks. Defensive maneuvers like Guard Evasion, Saving Shift, and Quick Shift use Skill Stocks. So any player can dominate the fight if he is clever and quick enough.
KOF XI uses the Tactical Shift System from KOF 2003, but with some noticeable changes. Quick Shift System allows you to change into another character in the middle of a combo even going as far as skipping the frames of animation that it normally takes. For most hardcore fighters this is a very tactical advantage as there are some guru gamers that can judge an incoming attack by the frame rates, making them a Neo of gaming so to speak. The Saving Shift tactic is an escape goat that allows you to quickly swap out a player as soon as he is hit at the cost of your skill bars. The Dream Cancel is from KOF 1999, around the same time, The Artist formerly known as Prince was partying approximately. Dream Cancel allows you to use stocks in order to break up your opponents' execution with an even stronger attack. So there is a lot of balance in this KOF XI title.
I have to say that KOF XI has brought back a lot of good memories. From standing in line at the arcade with my father to the flashing lights with such words as TILT glowing across the screens, KOF XI takes me back to a time when sprites were the wave of video gaming future and one on one fighting brought people to the mall by the dozens. If you are a hardcore fighting fan with a sweet tooth for the past, then this game is worth checking out. The gameplay is fun and the moves are over the top, matched with colorful characters and powers. Not to mention the traditional static background with only two frames of animation that we have come accustomed to over the years. Since it is also at a budget price, you can't really lose.
CCC Freelance Writer