A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The King of Fighters XIV is the latest entry in the popular fighting-game series. While the basics of fighting are relatively easy to pick up, fully becoming successful against skilled players or AI-driven opponents requires climbing a more complex learning curve. Most female characters are presented in a sexualized manner, and there's a lot of profanity, drinking, and smoking throughout the game. Parents also should be aware that, due to its online features, there's a risk of exposure to offensive language and conversation via party chat.
What's it about?
In the world of KING OF FIGHTERS XIV, the KoF Tournament is big business. Brawlers from all over the globe come together and compete for the honor of being named the best of the best, taking home the title of the King of Fighters. But after years of high profits and spin-offs, the brand has begun to lose its luster. That's when an eccentric billionaire, Antonov, decides to buy up all the rights to the tournament, launching a new competition with unprecedented global reach and naming himself as the champion to be beat. With a roster boasting 50 fighters, each with their own motivations, the time has come once again for fighting fans to duke it out in three-on-three team battles and prove once again who is truly the King of Fighters.
Is it any good?
The latest entry in this fighting franchise doesn't just walk the line of giving fans what they want and enticing newcomers; it uppercuts the competition out of the way. Thanks to the game's move from 2D sprites to full 3D models, the characters almost jump off the screen but still hold on to the unique style and personality that fans have loved for nearly 20 years. Fighter animations are fluid and responsive, with combos smoothly transitioning between moves. While The King of Fighters XIV definitely has a new look, it's the gameplay that's going to make or break the experience. SNK added some interesting tricks to the formula this time around, including a Rush feature for beginners. By tapping the light-punch button quickly, as well as rhythmically moving the analog sticks, players can string together specific combos. These combos are weaker than normal combos, though, so players are still motivated to learn the actual moves.
There's an interesting Party mode, where players fight in three-vs.-three team battles, with each player controlling one member of their team. Finally, the game comes with options for online spectating, full tutorials, challenges, and a single-player story mode. Admittedly, story mode feels somewhat convoluted, with the plot unfolding in sporadic cut scenes and through short interactions when specific character combinations face off. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you play, it always feels like you're missing something important. Despite this, it's hard to argue with how much pure content SNK packed into The King of Fighters XIV. The result is a surprisingly robust fighting experience and a well-deserved fresh start for a classic, if underrated, franchise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games such as The King of Fighters XIV. How does the over-the-top violence of fighting games influence a child's view on realistic violence?
Talk about the portrayal of characters in entertainment. Does the sexualized representation of women in games represent a real-world expectation? Do actions such as smoking and cursing in games and movies make those actions seem more acceptable to kids?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Atlus
- Release date: August 23, 2016
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.