No, you haven’t travelled back to 2010, the latest entry in the much lauded King of Fighters series is a remaster of a special edition of one of the best entries in the series.
SNK’s beat-em-ups (to give them their old fashioned name) have always been top quality, whether on Neo-geo consoles, arcades or elsewhere and 2002’s release saw the culmination of all that talent hit the highest point so far. With its 3-on-3 tag battles and nuanced fighting techniques, this has always been the thinking gamers’ fighter. It helps that the roster is more stuffed than a decent Cornish pasty. There are, wait for it, 66 different characters to choose from here, that’s more than enough for anyone.
As with most other fighters, this can be played solo in a variety of modes, on a single screen with 2 players and also online, which is where it shines (and always has even before the remaster). Team play and Single play can be played against the CPU or with two players and form the more standard mode that anyone who has ever played a fighting game will recognise, though adding the tag style 3-on-3 element does mix this up a little. Endless lets you play against all the other characters for as long as you can hold out and is a great drop in and play mode and finally you have various challenges to complete (some of which are rock hard).
Online is as solid as the last edition, which is to say that it works flawlessly despite there being 6 different characters available at any one time and a surprising number of people already playing at any time. The ranking system seems to work well so you never feel unfairly matched.
Overall this is as good a package as it was on the Xbox 360 and PC 10 years ago but with even more polish added and a few minor tweaks to the gameplay. If you’ve never dipped your hand in to the KOF series then this is a great place to start (though it’s certainly more of a challenge than your average arcade fighter).