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So I went and picked this bad boy up Monday and have spent the better half of the past two days playing it. I have to say I was pretty surprised just how bare bones this game is and any one who has had an interest in this game should definitely think twice before buying it. With that said, I am inexplicable enamored with the game.

To begin with, this game has a lot more bad going for it good so it's best we start there. First off, lets talk about how stripped the game is compared to it's previous incarnations. We already knew the roster was trimmed, no big surprise and understandable with all the new sprite work being done. But I don't think many people where expecting the dramatic changes to many of the returning characters. Many moves where taken out and lots of characters where dropped down to only one Super. You could argue it was for balancing sake but they could have approaching balancing issue using alot more sense and logic then just taking out moves or completely changing the attacks of characters repertoire. This only serves in making the players think that the developers had a hard time coming up with the sprites so they just cut out moves. A notion reaffirmed by the fact that there are no more superfluous animations. What do I mean by that? No taunts, no opening actions, etc. It can be argued that I'm nitpicking but really, this is just a representation of a feeling of incompleteness that just seems to be ever present in most aspects of the game.

For example, the games arcade mode. Now all SNK fighting games are notorious for their ridiculous boss fights. Sadly KoF 12 is the black sheep in this series for this game has no bosses. In fact it has no real story mode what so ever. It's basically a time trial. You select your team, and just go and see how fast you can beat up 5 other teams. With a generic cutscene when you start, another one after the 3rd bout and one after the last saying you won. Words can't express how disappointing it is. Especially considering the rich background the KoF universe has. But stepping back for a bit. You might think that okay, stories in fighting games are stupid anyway. But even still the game only has Arcade mode(Time Trial I just described) Practice, Local Multi-player and online multiplayer. That may have been cool back in the Super NES Playstation one days. But now with games like Blazblue,Street Fighter 4, Soul Calibur 4, offering new and different gametypes it's pretty much wimping out. Which brings me to the final negative point to this diatribe of a review.

Bad netcode. Honestly speaking, I've only played a few matches online and for the most part they've been okay. Although I've only been playing with the same two people. I have however noticed is that the game doesn't seem to run as smooth. Then there are the fact of glitches.

I haven't experienced any glitches myself first hand myself. But my lack of experience with those problems doesn't mean they exist. Of course any fighting game is bound to have a few glitches. We can only hope that the Des can patch them at a reasonable time. I'm just gonna qoute someone else because they explained it best.
There was a giant "770 MB patch" to "fix" the netcode that all users were required to download. What this giant patch essentially is is the FULL INSTALL OF THE GAME (which should have been optional) + the netcode patch. However after confirming with several competitive players, they're noticing NO difference in the patch.

So essentially you start off with a game that has a broken online functionality, and the company "promising" a patch (which they did deliver on time) which is essentially A FORCED INSTALL plus a patch that doesn't fix shit.

And on top of that you have the bigwigs at SNKP Japan not listening to a reasonably funded American company (Ignition, the ones who distribute and localize KoF XII) that hears the cries of the Western community and is speaking out for them...

Despite all the faults of the game. I'm really liking it. The way game handles and controls just feels fantastic and the new Critical Counter system is freaking sweet. I think part of the appeal for me is how simplified the game is compared to it's predecessors. Then there is also all the beautiful visuals. I can't under no circumstances recommend this game to anybody. But strangely enough, I have a fixation with it. One thing is for sure though. This game shows that KoF series definitely experienced a rebirth and while this first stage may seem grotesque, I see that it has much potential to grow into something beautiful.
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