KOFXV Beta First Impressions 01

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KOFXV Beta First Impressions 01

Good BUT the state of the lobby is worrying. And that PSN+ bug…

Graphics:

As anyone will tell you, watching streams is nothing compared to having the game in front of you. There’s still some weird looking things but overall it’s a very nice and glossy package overall.

Shun Ei’s model is still just freaky looking. In XIV we noticed his arms looked overly long, now his neck looks like a giraffe’s. If you visualise removing his choker, you’ll see it immediately and not be able to un-see it.

I won’t mention Shermie’s butt. Holy crap.  Where does her spine go?  Still, in a world of skinny anime stereotypes over and over, it’s simply great that her thick thighs exist and lol at anyone trying to focus when she starts walking.  The pvc pants are a bit much but whatever, you know I’m biased, she can wear whatever she goddam likes.

The Ring stage models are a bit iffy tbh while the rock band look like something out of pit fighter.  This is where you think, really? Do 3D models really save you development time compared to some sprites? Oh, yeah, they do, ok ok.

Online:

Were Japanese play testers too polite to comment on how the Samsho lobby was frankly, terrible?  What was the director thinking?  Or was there some other issue that we will never know about?  The KOF14 lobbies were great, they just needed a notification for series mode to let ppl know that people were waiting to play.  The KOF15 lobbies are barebones, and hopefully this is simply a beta.  If they turn out to be the full version of lobbies, I don’t know what to say, actually I do, but I’ll have to restrain myself and take a walk before I say something I’ll regret.  As I said on stream, it seems that each game has a director who has their own vision and isn’t really looking at the experience of the others.  How did we go from KOF14 to Samsho lobbies to KOF15 lobbies?  What’s going on?  Did the player experience mean nothing to them?

The online experience has been overall good, rollback, slowdown and teleports did happen as expected but tolerable (until you lose because of it). The lobbies are quite miserable to be honest, while they are fully functional, they only allow one game per room. The interface doesn’t tell us which rooms/opponents to avoid with no indication of connection quality. In a situation where you want the players to just shut up and play, that’s fine but then their experience will wildly vary.  I mentioned way back in KOF13 that there shouldn’t be any regions, simply list whoever is nearest, and they are still not doing that, so if there is no activity in your region, you will simply believe nobody plays the game.  It’s functional, but disappointing. How many years will it take SNK to get it right?  KOF13 came out 10 years ago, is SNK just not listening or is there another problem??  If I create a Party mode room, guess what, only players who search for party mode or ALL will find it. It’s stupid, there is no excuse I can think of to defend this. The default for searching for rooms should be “all regions”. Players should see a mass of rooms and then see there is great activity and various activity.  SNK can’t afford to be picky with regions or modes.

The game keeps kicking me out of training mode saying I need to be online, ha… Some sounds do get cut due to rollback.. but it’s ok

Some of the online menus are not intuitive but when you finally recognise where the features are it’s easy to remember.  Leave room, join room, can’t leave during match, some features are not obvious… but it’s not too bad.

Characters:

Shermie is fantastic, but it’s annoying to learn the new timings yet it’s a good thing, a refreshing thing to learn new things, although it’s going to mess me up for older KOFs. She’s got so much new stuff for a grappler, they added hits to most of her EX moves so she can do actual combos… why do I feel Clark is gonna play like an old 3 hit turd?

Iori on the other hand seems the same old same old, which is fine… but I do very much appreciate his random Climax variation, that’s great.

Chris, wow they really nerfed his dp P.  Like, wow.  I like the fuzzy graphics when he teleports, and it’s still clear what he’s up to, apart from his EX moves which are going to be terrible to fight against.  Some of Chris’s costume colours strike me as very odd.  He runs so fast, omg, scary character, perhaps that explains the nerf.

Yashiro is huge omg.  And then it seems like his legs turn skinny when he uses the light kick button. He has the first stun combo and I wonder if SNK will nerf him.

Chizuru is taller than Kyo, as Jason mentioned, which I don’t have a problem with, but her hair doesn’t look very natural when walking forward. It’s just a weird floating lump.  She’s a much deeper character to master, definitely not conventional.  From an average enjoyer’s point of view she’s weird, and not graceful with her legs.  From a deeper point of view, she’s like a crane, good with arms, bad with legs.  But which view is more important overall?  Her lunging kick just looks so awkward…

Delores is very interesting.  Very very interesting. They made her command grab a bit slow so she can’t abuse it after teleports but hmmm.  The rdp that is not an rdp is annoying, it’s back, quarter circle back. Not friendly, will have to learn it. It turns out that everyone with a rdp motion has had this change. It’s annoying. One extra input makes a world of difference, but Kusa argued that it makes the character more fair to use because they can’t abuse blocking… Anyway, I really like Delores so far. She’s not good at defence but the offense is hilarious, people don’t know how to really deal with her… so far, and I’m not telling!

I didn’t really touch Kyo and Shun Ei and I don’t really want to.  Kyo is boring to look at.  He’s a step backwards while Iori got the glow up.  Shun Ei has some nice colours and graphical improvements but that’s not enough to make me want to play him.

I’m loving the colour variations and especially the blond and white hair variations.  Some of the Iori colours are “weird”, quite muted like the ‘Danish’ Iori who would rather be at the pub, but still objectively good combinations.  Abdelhakim mentioned that Iori reminds him of Tresoro from the One Piece movie, and SNK should have lots of anime references like this in the game if they want to catch attention.  We’ve said this before, and without color edit, we can’t do it ourselves. Then again, is that a Bart reference for Chris?  That’s … interesting!   Kyo looks terrible but his Kusanagi colour is greaaaaaaaaaaat!  But where’s Kusanagi????

Mechanics:

The Quick Max Timestop is very nice, a very kind mechanic, you have all the time in the world to catch up with the character as they freeze time and then automatically run forward!

As for Shatter strike, nobody is really using it yet..

Controls

The game seems more forgiving and easier but the choice to make RDP motions into back, qcb seems very strange and annoying.  There seems to be a lot of buffer and ofc if rollback is involved this is better for the predictive nature of the netcode. At the same time some cancels feel strict but it’s early days and it’ll become muscle memory soon enough.

Update: RDP is apparently abusable as a safer anti air so making us work harder makes the gameplay better. Ok, but Kyo’s RED kick is not an anti air…

Why do we still not have the option to disable auto combos??

Sounds:

Very good, I didn’t hear that metallic hit sound against legs from the TGS show version. Options to customise stages look promising.  However Isla’s soundtrack is going to be banned from tournaments very soon, I hope there’s a lyricless version like in KOF14.  I hope people like it but for me personally it’s just mainstream cringe, I just feel too old and unhip to appreciate it.  Perhaps it will grow on me lol.  I especially like the menu tracks, very good.  The new remixes are very nice too.

Bugs

The PSN+ ‘bug’ is highly sus. This beta was supposed to be open to all players. It’s clearly written by SNK.  However, right now, it’s only open to PSN+ users.  I have people on stream installing the game because they see me playing it and then getting told to pay or uninstall it.  It’s a huge mistake by either SNK or Sony.  Sony of course doesn’t mind if people sign up to PS+ just to play the beta and there should be some offers to get a month free but you still need a credit card if I remember correctly.  At the same time, it’s not like you can go online for free on playstation so all these potential players will disappear anyway when the full game is released- on the other hand it’s still a wasted opportunity for players to try a real KOF, as you know a lot of KOFAS players watch my streams and would have liked to try it….

Haven’t really seen anything else that was strange… you may be surprised that some players have locked the lobby mode into edit teams only, so make sure you have registered your favourite otherwise you’ll be stuck with 3 characters and not understand why.

There was/ is a bug that allowed players to use other characters not listed in the roster! But once you downloaded the full game, it was disabled. Looks like Meitenkun will be in the next beta! It’s actually a great way to force players to learn new characters.

I’ll go online again later but at this age you get fuzzy head and it’s harder to continue.

Will KOFXV turn out to be a masterpiece?  It’s headed in the right direction however the lobbies and netcode will be a big factor in affirming that, and the lobbies just don’t look good right now.  The speed of the game will make it the most accessible KOF ever but there are still niggling things that make you wonder if SNK is really in touch with its playerbase, or if it’s even capable, or just stubborn.  I really enjoyed my time with the beta but without any transparency from the company about these design choices, I predict it’s going to be a struggle to keep the online community happy.

Finally, ET vs Xiaohai!