King of Fighters: Maximum Impact

Review

posted 11/26/2004 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2
I’ve always been a fan of the King of Fighters series, it may not have the flashiest graphics or the best sound or even a great story but it has a gameplay style that requires a lot of finesse and will have you playing it for a long time. With the move to 3D it’s almost the exact same scenario, the graphics don’t hold a candle to the likes of Tekken and Soul Calibur, the music has been done better elsewhere, the story mode is just as vanilla as 2D versions, and the gameplay while having the same style, is given a few new tweaks that make it feel like KOF but not KOF.

The first thing you’ll notice about the game is the fancy 3D graphics. Actually they aren’t that fancy, they look good, but we’ve seen them done better before. The characters themselves make a pretty good transition to 3D. What I found most impressive was how well a lot of the characters made the transition. K` looks fantastic in 3D and is animated superbly. The same can be said for almost every character, all of their moves, idle animations, and movements look as good in 3D as they do in 2D. However the use of the Renderware engine has been kept to the rudimentary so you’re not going to see any bells and whistles that this engine is known for. You’re better off going to Mortal Kombat if you want a flashy game.

Musically the game has taken a step up from the beeps and boops of the previous iterations. It seems like there was some effort put forth on the musical aspect. Although the voice acting seems to have very little effort. It would have been much better to leave the game in Japanese. If they can do it for SNK Vs Capcom Chaos then they should have been able to do it here. A lot of the acting takes away from the relative seriousness of the fighting and just leaves you laughing as you hear Mai say “Flying Squirrel” as she dives in from the air.

As with all sequels to fighting games this KOF go round introduces five new characters and a new broken boss. I’ll explain all the wonderful things that make him broken later on. Two of the new characters are brothers; Soiree and Alba Meira, both of them have different fighting styles with Soiree’s style being close to capoeira and Alba’s is something odd to describe so you just have to see it to believe it. Replacing the KOF staple of Kim is his student, Chae Lim, just take Kim, replace with female character and you’re set. Mingnon Beart fills a role close to that of Athena, she’s a female magician, and a bit of a ditz, typical magical girl stuff. Lien Neville, a new female character that does assassination work for the boss man, Duke.
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