I wasn’t too sure how I’d feel about King of Fighters 15 before I’d gotten my hands on it. As a teenager I dabbled in King of Fighters 2002 and King of Fighters 13, and as a snobby adult I love looking back at some of the original entries from the 90s and 2000s. But in recent years, my attention has largely been driven away from SNK’s headline series in favour of the likes of Guilty Gear or Tekken. I’m happy – more than happy, ecstatic – to write that this dry spell has come to a definitive end with King of Fighters 15.
First things first, let’s break down what you get with the launch package of KoF 15. Overall, it’s a fairly standard selection for a fighting game at release, with a few sweet standouts that help bolster up the total offering. You’ve got your local versus and training modes that you’d expect from any fighting game, alongside the game’s dedicated story mode – an arcade mode with some unexpected flourishes that plastered a big grin across my face.
Yes, the story is a cheesy paranormal affair with a clown car full of different characters (some of whom possess mystical martial arts powers) fighting in yet another worldwide fighting tournament. The game rushes through the lead-up to the events of the narrative with the kind of hurry you’d see from someone rushing to catch the train to work; every fighter receives a letter saying – and I’m paraphrasing here – “look bud, you know the deal by now. Come to the King of Fighters tournament and throw down.” By the fifteenth entry, I suppose it’s fair to assume that people know the context by now.