If you have more than a cursory interest in 2-D fighting games, the release of SNK’s flagship fighting series on July 24th is well known to you. However, what you may not know yet is that somehow SNK has taken the game that could have theoretically turned their fortunes around in the USA and royally screwed the pooch with it. No, I’m not talking about the graphics, engine or gameplay. I’m talking about the netcode.
Reports from multiple websites and forum posters reveal that the online play for KOF XII is nigh-unplayable. A patch was released for the PS3 version shortly after launch to fix the lag issues, but it seems to have not had a noticeable effect as well as adding some bugs to the game. Compared to BlazBlue, or even SF4, KOF XII fails painfully in its implementation of the online experience. Players report difficulty connecting to matches, and laggy inputs when they do get a match going. Character Select lag, even. Other issues include being able to re-map the button assignments of the other player online and unintuitive menus with a lack of certain features. The poor online experience only emphasizes the poor single-player AI. The AI is so bad that players report no difference between the difficulty setting, the AI is equally stupid. So if you don’t have any local friends to play against and were depending on the online play, you’re currently out of luck. The patch has also been uploaded to XBL recently, but results are mixed. I wish to quote someone from the PA forums who summed up my feelings on this with a masterful post.
Yeah, I mean, SNK has always had a kind of small but strong following over the years. They’ve always been niche. This was their opportunity to kind of re-invigorate their main franchise, and bring in new (or returning) fans.
And they dropped the ball, big time. Seriously. This was their opportunity to go from a tiny hardcore fanbase to expanding to at least the more broad fighting game market (which itself is still small honestly). But all this game has done is made everyone who took new interest, or renewed interest, in the KOF franchise, and basically made them feel like a shmuck for taking interest and having renewed faith in SNK and paying $60 for the game. Even those among the big longtime SNK fanbase are getting pretty sour over this. It’s a major problem. Not only is this going to completely turn off a large portion of would-be potential fans, but it’s even starting to wear down on fans that have followed SNK for a long time. What could have been a rebirth for the series both in appearance and style AS WELL as market appeal is turning out to be something that is doing more damage than good, possibly with greater negative effects in the long term.
He’s completely on the ball here, I’m saddened to say. I love KOF. I’ve played it since its inception in 94′. But this really sucks. It sucks even more because the game itself is very good! The art is beautiful, the engine solid, and the animation is breathtaking. I don’t even care that Mai isn’t in this game, I just want it to be playable online! I know that it’s not too late, perhaps a miracle patch is being worked on as we speak, but I really hope that if they do manage to fix this, that the damage done to KOF and SNK’s rep isn’t irreversible.