|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: SNK Playmore|
|Release: November 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
Having a full online suite is necessary for fighting games in this age of internet enabled consoles, and KOF XIII obliges with mixed results. The netcode isn't bad all the time, but it's certainly inconsistent. The lag you'll experience at the beginning of a match won't necessarily be the same as the lag you experience in the middle of a match. Considering how strict the timing is for many combos in KOF XIII, this makes online play an entirely different experience, and a frustrating one at that. In addition, matches in KOF XIII start with a weird timing. The announcer says "Start!" but then your life bars fill while you're still unable to move, causing false starts and dropped inputs. The extra latency at the beginning of online matches makes this especially weird. Overall, online mode is going to keep the game alive, but I wouldn't call it one of the best online modes out there. Honestly, considering that the game is made with sprites, one would wonder why Atlus just didn't hop on the GGPO train, like everyone else seems to be doing.
Unfortunately, the graphics didn't get that much better either. There are the same strange pixelated explosions and wonky character color filters that annoyed people in KOF XII. In fact, I'd go so far as to wager that they are even more prevalent in the hit effects in this game. The characters still animate smoothly, but the stages are still as uninspired as ever. Still, the new effects for supers and Neo Max moves are really impressive, and since combos can be so fast, wild, and flashy, you barely even notice half the graphical problems. I suppose if you can't fix the ugly, you just hide it with makeup.
Overall, King of Fighters XIII is a very fun game to play. It has a lot of characters, an open combo system, and plenty of modes to keep you satisfied online or off. It certainly deserves to be checked out, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will be overshadowed by other big titles releasing around the same time, such as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or a little down the road with the soon-to-be-released Street Fighter X Tekken and SoulCalibur V. It's a great game in its own right that should please every KOF fan out there, and I'd even wager that it will have its own spot at EVO next year. But will KOF XIII be the next ten-year fighting game out there? Probably not.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer