A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While the story is a minor portion of the game, there are themes of friendship and overcoming differences to be found in the individual character stories.
Positive Role Models
With a cast of over 40 characters, there are definitely both positive and negative role models to be found, but their individual stories are limited.
The game features characters from all across the world, with various ethnicities, races, ages and genders represented.
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Ease of Play
Despite a basic autocombo being available for all characters by repeatedly pressing a single button, and a tutorial breaking down the many mechanics featured in the game, the game can have a steep learning curve. Inputs can be difficult to perform reliably without a lot of practice, and applying concepts from the tutorial to real matches can be difficult without additional context.
Violence & Scariness
Fighting is the central mechanic of the game and takes up the vast majority of the player's time. Despite this, the fighting is all very cartoony, with no gore or blood present at any point.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several female characters are dressed provocatively, and a couple of them, Shermie and Luong in particular, have sexually suggestive animations in-game.
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Mild swearing happens somewhat often in the story mode, including "p--s," "a--hole," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
The King of Fighters is a long-running franchise with plenty of merchandise and past games available for purchase. DLC seasons are planned and would require additional spending to get all future characters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character, Antonov, smokes a cigar while fighting. One of the stages is in a cafe that displays alcohol, but no characters are shown drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that King of Fighters XV is a fighting game available for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X and Windows PCs.This is the latest installment of the long-running 2D fighting game franchise. The game has players choose a team of three fighters and take on the King of Fighters tournament against AI opponents in the story mode, or jump online and fight other players. The game's combat is straightforward to start with, but there's plenty of depth and a steep learning curve for newer players. A number of the game's female characters are dressed provocatively and some have sexually suggestive animations, and the story mode features semi-frequent but mild profanity.
Is It Any Good?
The newest entry in this long-running franchise features new characters and greatly improved visuals for fighting fans. With nearly 39 characters at launch, King of Fighters XV has a massive roster, and all of the characters feel fun and satisfying to play. Returning characters from King of Fighters XIV have had a makeover and look much better for it, while still retaining the style and animations that have made them beloved for decades. While there are fewer new characters than other entries, several characters like Shermie and Chizuru have returned after long absences. The music is excellent, and the game's DJ Station lets players listen to hundreds of tracks from the series long history. The new shatter strike mechanic is simple to execute but adds an extra defensive option to the game that will give players a lot of room to experiment with. As with many King of Fighters titles, it has straightforward options that are easy to pick up and hard to master. The game requires more from the player's dexterity than many other recently released fighting games, but there's still plenty of fun to be had as a new player.
Despite a tutorial breaking down the games mechanics, a universal autocombo for beginners get used to fighting, and a mission mode to learn basic combos, it would've been nice if the game did more to help new players understand how to use the character moves. With the huge number of fighters in the game, figuring out how everything works can be daunting. Similarly, the game's light on single-player content. The story mode is basic, with only a few cutscenes breaking up a string of fights against an AI opponent, and there aren't any other ways to engage with the game outside of training mode and playing other human opponents. Thankfully, the robust online play makes fighting human opponents easier than ever. If you are looking for a new 2D fighting game with tons to explore and aren't scared of the learning curve, King of Fighters XV is an exclting way to spend your time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.