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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

SNK Playmore

 

Developer

SNK Playmore

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

- Making Of DVD is kinda neat

 

 

- Very plain combat

- Not much variety in game modes

- Visuals are dull

 

 

Review: King of Fighters 2000/2001 (Playstation 2)

Review: Guilty Gear X2 (Playstation 2)

Review: Capcom vs SNK (Dreamcast)

 

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King of Fighters: Maximum Impact

Score: 6.1/10

 

Whenever a series that has traditionally been presented via 2D sprite art makes the leap to the 3D, polygonal realm, a lot of long time fans throw their arms up in disgust.  Many times a lot of the magic that made the series what it is becomes lost in this presentational shift; however, sometimes the leap to 3D can surprise people for the better.  Unfortunately for King of Fighters: Maximum Impact, this venture into the three dimensional world does neither, as it feels flat, and doesnít provide anything that makes the game special.

 

king-fighters-maximum-impact-1.jpg (74274 bytes)          king-fighters-maximum-impact-2.jpg (70973 bytes)

 

 

Right from the onset, the game doesnít go completely 3D, as it is presented in polygons, but the opponents move along a 2D plain, as opposed to a game like Soul Calibur where there is a lot more freedom of movement.  That being said, the gameplay comes out like one would expect from the King of Fighters series, with all of the familiar moves, combos, and so forth.  The controls are very responsive, and there is no need to worry about a move not going through at a clutch moment.  Pulling off combos can be as easy, or difficult, as a player wants to make them, as the basic combos are very simple to do, and the more sophisticated fair has a decent learning curve to it, but are quite doable with some practice.

 

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One thing when fighting that is woefully missing this time out is that the game is missing King of Fightersí three-on-three brawls.  Up until now, these multi-fighter battles have been a staple of the series, but itís nowhere to be seen here.  Conversely, the game does allow players to attack opponents when they fall down, something not possible in previous King of Fighters titles.  Nonetheless, the gameís combat winds up being very basic, and fails to differentiate itself from the competition.  Hurting the fights even more is 

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that the gameís enemiesí difficulty is very poorly scaled.  Everything is smooth sailing, with plenty of pushovers, and only gets difficult once you face off with Maximum Impactís final boss, Duke, who is obscenely powerful, almost questionably so.

 

Even the game modes are far from impressive, as players are hit with the usual mix of a story mode, versus, challenge, and practice modes.  With this, players really get the impression that SNK set out to make this game as awe-inspiringly generic as they possibly could.  There is not one thing about the game modes that bring a sort of wow-factor to the table, instead filling the consummate modes found in most every fighting game, and never trying to go beyond that.

 

king-fighters-maximum-impact-3.jpg (61091 bytes)        king-fighters-maximum-impact-4.jpg (51536 bytes)

 

Even the visuals donít go beyond what they need to be.  For a game leaping into the 3D world, one would think that its visuals would be something to be reckoned with, trying to make a good impression, but this three dimensional version of King of Fighters just isnít all that pretty.  The graphics certainly couldnít be described as bottom feeder, but they are not something capable of competing with top-tier fighting games on the PS2, visually speaking.  The characters even lose a lot of their personality during the transition to 3D.  For example, Iori had an over-the-top dark persona to him while the game was in 2D, but now in 3D he just seems like a bit of a punk and nothing more.

 

The strangest thing about King of Fighters: Maximum Impact is that it comes with an additional DVD packed with Making Of material like developer interviews.  This has got to be the biggest gaming juxtaposition of the year.  Here we are with a mind numbingly Plain Jane fighter, and yet it comes packed with a bunch of extras on a bonus DVD.

 

Ultimately, King of Fighters: Maximum Impact just doesnít bring enough to the table to be worth oneís while.  Thereís a minimal amount of modes, the fighting is too similar to just about every other fighting game on the market, and it doesnít even look all that nice.  One would best look elsewhere for their fighting game fix.

 

Mr. Nash

December 26, 2004

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