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The King of Fighters Neowave PlayStation 2

Published by Ignition Entertainment
Developed by SNK
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

The King of Fighters Neowave, an introduction.

If you were to pick the two main developers of 2D fighting games it would have to be Capcom and SNK. We’ve seen various Capcom titles over the six years that Deaf Gamers has been operational but until now we’ve never reviewed an SNK title. That’s all changed with The King of Fighters Neowave, the latest in a long running series that most fighting game fans still hold in very high regard.

What’s the game about?

The King of Fighters Neowave comes with all the modes you would expect from a game of this type. The modes include Team Play, Single Play, Team VS, Single VS, Practice and Endless. The team fights are the classic 3 vs. 3 affairs where you’ll pick three fighters prior to the start of the fight. During the team fights there’s only one against one with the loser being replaced by one of their party. The winner being the first to defeat all of the opposition’s fighters.

What’s good about the game?

The King of Fighters Neowave is very much a classic 2D fighting game experience. The game features 40+ characters that all feel unique in that they have their own styles and moves. Importantly the characters are well balanced and battles never seem to feel one-sided, which is certainly a good thing. What I particularly like about the game is that you can’t just rely on one particular character to beat everyone else. When playing the team modes you’ll have to choose your three competitors wisely because of the sheer variety of enemies you’ll be up against. During a team mode battle you can’t swap out a fighter whenever you want. The fighter simply remains in battle until defeated. The order the fighters will appear is chosen before the fight begins which also makes things a little more challenging. The game offers three different fighting styles, Super Cancel, Guard Break and Max 2, that differ quite nicely from each other and are suited to different ability levels (with Max 2 being the best style for beginners).

What’s bad about the game?

In truth there’s not a single aspect of The King of Fighters Neowave that you won’t have seen before if you’re a fan of the genre. There’s nothing essentially poor about the game but there’s nothing here to make it a must own title. What most gamers would have wanted, an online mode, has not been included, which is a shame as this feature alone would have made the game very appealing. Multiplayer fights can be had but it’s for two players only.

How does it look?

As you’d expect from a 2D fighting game, The King of Fighters Neowave has the same manga style, pixelated characters that you’ll find in many titles in the genre. Whether this is a bad thing or not will come down to personal preference. Personally I don’t mind this style, although I can understand the argument that by now the characters should look much better even though I would argue the manga style should be retained. At least the backgrounds in the game aren’t just static affairs and you’ll find all kinds of objects moving around whilst the fights are taking place.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

There aren’t any subtitles in the game but this doesn’t cause any problems. The characters make comments before the commencement of combat and whilst it’s a shame these aren’t subtitled, it certainly doesn’t affect the game in any way. Character comments made on the character select menu are also not subtitled but again this is hardly a problem. The game manual is actually quite good, covering all of the game’s characters and their special moves along with every other aspect of the game.

Final thoughts.

The King of Fighters Neowave is exactly what you would expect from a game of this nature. There’s an impressive roster of characters that all have their own moves and styles. The combat feels well balanced as 2D fighting games go and it’s certainly one of the better ones I’ve seen in recent times. However, it does nothing out of the ordinary to make it appealing to those who are looking for something different. There’s no online play here and there’s certainly very little evidence of any form of innovation. Essentially though if you’re looking for a quality 2D fighting experience and don’t mind the game lacking something different then The King of Fighters Neowave will not disappoint and at just £19.99 it’s very good value for money.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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The King of Fighters Neowave may be lacking in innovative features but it's a good 2D fighting game with a large cast of well balanced characters and more importantly, it just feels right.