The King of Fighters 15 – 14 Features You Need To Know

Releasing on February 17th, SNK's fighting game features a brand new story with new heroes and returning favorites. Here's what you need to know.

Posted By | On 01st, Feb. 2022

The King of Fighters 15 – 14 Features You Need To Know

Arriving nearly five years after the last game’s release, SNK’s The King of Fighters 15 is a huge step forward for the series in terms of action and production values. It releases on February 17th for Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC so let’s take a look at 14 things you should know before picking it up.

39 Characters at Launch

At launch, The King of Fighters 15 will have 39 characters available. These range from newer fighters like Shun’ei and Meitenkun, who were introduced in KOF14 and serve as the protagonists in Story Mode, to classic combatants Kyo, Iori, Blue Mary, Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, K’ and Kula Diamond. Brand new fighters include Isla, Shun’ei’s rival; Dolores who uses psychic abilities; and Krohnen, who possesses a shape-shifting arm and is essentially the revival of K9999.

3v3 Team Combat

Though 1v1 fights are possible, team fights are the main attraction. Two teams of three fighters square off, and this time around, the teams have been re-arranged quite significantly. K’ Team is back to featuring K’, Maxima and Whip with Kula joining the new Team Krohnen with Krohnen and Angel. Then there’s Team Orochi – composed of Shermie, Chris and Yashiro Nanakase – making their first appearance as a team since The King of Fighters 2002. Each team has a lot of history leading to their current predicament and it should be interesting to see how these are explored.

Story Mode

The King of Fighters XV_03

Following the events of its predecessor, The King of Fighters 15 sees a new tournament taking place with a new sponsor. However, the fallout of Verse’s defeat is still being felt with Chizuru Kagura sensing something amiss with the seal of Orochi (the final boss of The King of Fighters ’97, who’s essentially Yamata no Orochi). Together with Kyo and Iori, the new Team Sacred Treasures conducts its investigation. Of course, in the midst of all this are other competitors, some having been brought back to life in the previous game and the situation between Shun’ei and Isla who seemingly share the same kinds of powers.

Online Modes

For those seeking real-world competition, there are a litany of online modes to partake in. Casual Match is good for a quick bout while Ranked Match allows for challenging the very best. Training Mode also returns and can now be played online but perhaps the most interesting new addition is Draft Vs., accessible through Room Match. This mode sees each player choosing their fighters, one by one. The same fighter can’t be chosen by both players, which can lead to some interesting mind games.

Trial Mode

If brushing up on all of the different combos is more up your alley, then good news – the torturous Trial Mode returns. It essentially provides tasks for each character to complete, with each becoming progressively more difficult. The King of Fighters 13 had 10 Trials per character for a total of 360 Trials. If KOF15 follows the same pattern, then you’ll be busy chipping away at these challenges for a good long while.

Shatter Strike

The King of Fighters XV_02

A lot of the systems in The King of Fighters 15 will feel familiar but with some pretty significant changes. Shatter Strikes, for instance, can be used as a means to parry and counter foes. By pressing forward quarter circle plus Strong Punch and Strong Kick before taking a hit, one can essentially parry an attack and either stop an opponent cold or knock them into the wall (if they’re airborne). A purple aura activates when it’s used and consumes one bar of the Super gauge (with half a bar recovered if it lands).

MAX Mode

MAX Mode also returns, though this time costing two Super gauge bars and increasing one’s attack and Guard Crush damage when activated. There’s also MAX Mode (Quick) – when activating it just before an attack lands or before blocking a hit, you can immediately combo into another move. The downsides are that it doesn’t provide increased damage for attacks or Guard Crushes and has a shorter duration than MAX Mode. Another significant change is that EX Special Moves are now usable without having to activate MAX Mode, now costing a half bar of the Super gauge. Of course, you also have Super Special Moves and MAX Super Special Moves which consume more Super gauge bars.

Rush and Climax Super Specials

The King of Fighters 15 - Isla

Rush Combos return and allow for performing combos with ease by pressing Light Punch three times followed by a combo ender. Different inputs result in different enders – for example, pressing Light Punch a fourth time results in a Climax Art while Hard Kick dishes out a MAX Super Move. Then you have Climax Super Specials, which are essentially over-the-top super moves that dish out massive amounts of damage while looking super flashy.

Gallery Mode

the king of fighters 15

For those looking to admire concept art, voice lines and movies for each character, there’s the Gallery Mode. Much of it will have to be unlocked, providing a nice reward for investing in the game. There’s even a special Animated Short by anime director Masami Ōbari whose works include various Fatal Fury anime films, Gravion and even Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.

DJ Station

The King of Fighters 15_Terry Bogard

The music has always been a highlight of the series and The King of Fighters 15 is no exception (just listen to its version of Esaka). Thanks to the DJ Station though, you’ll be able to listen to more than 300 songs collated from across the franchise. It may seem like a basic feature, especially with games like Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate incorporating the same, but it’s still very much welcome.

GGPO Rollback Netcode

Another welcome addition is GGPO Rollback Netcode for online play. This was present during the recent open beta and helped provide a fairly smooth online experience, though it still needed a bit more polish to match the likes of Guilty Gear Strive. Nevertheless, with more fighting games embracing rollback netcode (including SNK’s The King Of Fighters 98′ Ultimate Match Final Edition on Steam), it’s great to have it out of the box.

PC Requirements

The King of Fighters 15

PC players won’t have too much to worry about with regards to hardware requirements. Minimum hardware includes an Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM and either a GeForce GTX 770 2GB or AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB – even Windows 7 is supported albeit only the 64-bit versions. Recommended requirements include an Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, either a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB, and Windows 10. A whopping 65 GB of space is required for installation though so be prepared.

Post-Launch DLC Characters

The King of Fighters 15 - Iori_07

As part of the Deluxe Edition, players will receive access to six new DLC characters this year. These are essentially two new teams with each consisting of three characters. Who these will be remains to be seen but hopefully we’ll see iconic fighters like Geese and Rock Howard make a return.

4K Support on Current-Gen Consoles

The King of Fighters 15 - Meitenkun

The Xbox store listing for the game confirms support for 4K Ultra HD and the recent open beta more or less confirmed the same for the PS5 version. It also will be Optimized for Xbox Series X/S, though how the visuals will be improved remains to be seen. At the very least, current-gen players can expect to enjoy the game at 4K/60 FPS.

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