Méprisant et hautain
Date d'inscription: décembre 2003
Messages: 22 381
|La mère du développeur livre ses impressions.
KOFXIV Impressions at Playstation Experience 2015:
First off, I'll state my overall impression in a broad sense first, and then I'll give details and reasoning behind it.
KOFXIV is a really fun and enjoyable game that is currently a diamond in a rough. As a KOF98 enthusiast who enjoys strong neutral game, great anti-air normals, and a balance of strong offensive and defensive tools, the KOFXIV build at Playstation Experience delivered a great experience that KOFXIII has failed to give me in comparison. That said, KOFXIV is a game that takes the positive elements of KOF98, KOF2002, and KOFXIII to create a distinctive title that should please many palettes.
First comes the system mechanics. KOFXIV employs the standard KOF format that has been present from 98 to 2002 and onwards. Those familiar with 98, 2002, and XIII should be at home with the 4 attack buttons, running, rolling, hopping, jumping, and among of quintessential system mechanics that have been present in the most popular competitive KOF titles. What is new is the revamping of the MAX mode, the added effect of wall splatting with standing CD attacks, and the implementation of Just Defend/Just Defense (which works differently than Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves Just Defend, respectively.)
MAX mode is like a combination of aspects from KOF98's, KOF2002's, and KOFXIII's ABC/BC button activation modes. Unlike KOF2002 or KOFXIII, MAX mode doesn't allow canceling specials into other specials nor does it allow having previously un-cancel-able normals. (eg. KOFXIII and KOF2002 Kyo's Far D can't cancel into anything, but when in MAX/HD mode, it can cancel into special moves like his rekkas.) What MAX mode now does do is it allows the character to have access to EX moves. Using an EX move during MAX mode takes away a chunk from the draining activation meter similar to how HD cancels in HD mode took away portions of the draining meter. EX moves are only available in MAX mode. That said, EX moves are revamped when compared to KOFXIII. Instead of super fast, just-do-it moves, they're toned in a way that it compliments how it's used within MAX mode. Andy's EX projectile in KOFXIII used to be a super fast projectile that is hard to react to and pops the opponent high into the air on hit. In XIV, it's a slower version of his normal projectile and acts as a fat "Sonic Boom." There isn't any move thus far that is like KOFXIII Kim's EX Hangetsuzan or as I have observed during the whole weekend.
Activating MAX mode also freezes the screen like Under Night In-birth's Chain Shift when activated manually without canceling into it, allowing the player to react to the situation and respond accordingly. But if an opponent tries to hit the activation and the attack overlaps the player's character during the freeze, the player will be hit. So although it recovers quickly after screen freeze, it's not an instant recovery and could be hit right after activation if the attack goes active immediately. An attack initiated after the freeze would generally be blocked though. More testing is required.
When canceling your normal attacks into MAX mode like in KOFXIII, the player's character automatically dashes towards the opponent's character. This is easier than having to manually run up to the other player's character in games such as KOF2002 and KOF2002UM. When doing the MAX mode activation cancel, the screen won't freeze like how manually activating MAX mode does during the neutral game. I can picture larger combos starting from a hit confirm into BC activate/MAX mode activation cancel into another BnB into an EX move that could be canceled into a Desperation Move. We weren't able to really test out if there are ways to cancel Desperation Moves into Climax attacks yet. When using this activation cancel, it consumes 1 stock of meter, which is different than KOF2002 in which it usually consumes 2 stocks. Don't be alarmed; MAX mode's drainage meter is about half the size it would have been if it had been manually activated. Usually players are only able to do two EX moves before the meter runs out, which is limited compared to manually activating MAX mode and having access to about three to four uses of EX moves. Much more needs to be explored with the MAX mode combo system.
Aside from MAX mode, Just Defense was added to the game. As many have noted, it does not work like CVS2's or MOTW's Just Defend, and it works more like Guilty Gear's Instant Block. Reiki Kito and I talked with the developer directly through a translator and asked what Just Defense actually did. Based off the build on the show floor (meaning SNKP is tweaking the effects of Just Defense at HQ), all Just Defense did was reduce the inflicted "damage" to the guard gauge the player receives, builds more meter upon Just Defense than guarding normally, and it did not change frame advantage or disadvantage. So it's used mainly to delay guard break and reward more meter, based on the playable build at Playstation Experience. Also, there are no plans or intentions to add in air Just Defense. So a solid, fundamental ground game it is.
Standing CD attacks are about the same as they are in KOF98, KOF2002, and KOFXIII, but the difference now is that on normal and counter hit, they cause wall splat. This makes standing CD a more attractive move during the neutral game to score screen position and perhaps a combo when against a cornered opponent from a poke or whiff punish. The wall splat itself causes a SFIV-style crumple state in which the opponent is in an "airborne" state. So if Kyo runs up to a wall splatted opponent and presses close C, it will hit reset the opponent's character in the air but low to the ground. Kyo's hop kicks do further juggle the opponent allowing for Kyo to get more damage. Iori doing a standing CD from cornered will splat the opponent to the opposite side of the screen, but if the Iori player is good at hit confirming, Iori can cancel the standing CD into hcb+K and get a hard knockdown along with corner carry and okizeme. Thus far, I personally like this change to standing CD and welcome it.
In quick passing, KOF2002 style super cancels are in the game. Characters could do a special move and cancel into a Desperation Move at the cost of no additional stocks. If it takes one stock to do a Desperation move, it doesn't take additional stocks to super cancel much unlike KOF2002. So it seems to function like Street Fighter III 3rd Strike's special move into super cancel. I have not experimented with optimizing MAX mode combos in conjunction with 2002-style super cancels to see how meter usage plays out since I focused more on fundamental tools, general game feel, universal system mechanics, and character specific nuances.
Also in a quick note, the "Rush" system in KOFXIV works similar to Persona 4 Arena's and Under Night In-birth's Auto-combo mechanics. Just press the neutral A button 4 times to do a weak BnB into a knockdown ender. If the player has a stock of meter, it will consume a stock of meter at the end to do a Desperation Move, which still doesn't do much damage as a combo. Aesthetically, it uses unique animations after the first hit, but the enders use established special moves and Desperation Moves. I couldn't cancel the auto-combo mid way into anything else nor link after an unfinished auto-combo string. The mechanic at this point in time seems solely for new to fighting game type of players without being too overly lengthy to become a nuisances while still being flashy enough for new players to stay invested in the game without much studious effort. Standard BnBs, even meterless ones, still do more damage than Rush combos. So although certain competitive players may mind the inclusion of this system, it doesn't add or take away from my experience I'm indifferent about its inclusion.
Main system differences aside, the game feel is just right for me. I said this plenty of times at Playstation Experience and many fellow players agreed with me, playing KOFXIV for the first time feels like brand new shoes. It feels weird at first, not bad or good; but once broken in, the game feels really good. The main overall "complaint" is that normal jumps look and feel too floaty, but as a solid KOF98 player, normal jumps feel just fine to me and I feel at home. A factor that may have affected people is that the jumps themselves may be the same as usual in speed, but the rotation of the "flip" during the forward jump seems to rotate slower; this might create an optical illusion that full jumping is much slower than in reality. Of course, there is no such thing as facts: only interpretations. That aside, walking and running feel quick and comfortable. Ironically, walking in both KOFXIII and KOFXIV feels much better than SFIV and SFV. Not to blow up Capcom, but SNKP pretty much captured the feel of a 2D KOF game in 3D graphics better than Capcom did with their attempts. Arc System Works, in my very own humble opinion, was the best at capturing the feel of their past 2D titles within a 3D medium the best of the three companies, but that's beside the point of the article, and I digress. This is all to emphasize that the game feels close to KOF98 and SNKP did a better job than I expected when trying to translate KOF into a 3D medium.
Speaking of game feel, normals are generally better in this game than its immediate predecessor. Although characters such as Andy and Leona in KOFXIV are largely based off their move sets in KOFXIII, their normals and move sets function better within the neutral game by large. Using Kyo, I tested if I can easily hop or hyper hop over Andy's projectile, just like in KOFXIII. I couldn't do it no matter which ranges and timings I used. Thinking of high set, airborne projectiles in KOF98, I thought Kyo might be able to low profile the projectile using sweep or down forward D like in KOF98. After testing, he couldn't do that either. Combined with a solid air to air and anti-air game, Andy's neutral game vastly improved just based on that improvement. Leona's crouching C actually works as a very solid anti-air which rarely loses, much like her KOF98 and KOF2002 iterations and unlike KOFXIII. What she retained from KOFXIII is the ability to link her crouching C from crouching B with ease; KOFXIV brings the best of from previous KOF titles and fuses them into an overall better package. Kyo's hop and jumping D have more range than KOFXIII's and feels much more like KOF98. Kyo's cr.C and Iori's cl.C are more consistent in anti-airing opponents. Opponents don't curve around the hit box of the anti-air due to badly placed collision boxes anymore, unlike KOFXIII. A stronger and more varied neutral game has returned to the KOF franchise while retaining the positive and interesting aspects of KOFXIII.
In regards to damage output, I have not explored much in regards to min-maxing MAX mode combos, super cancels, EX moves, and the such. I'm not the type of player to explore that first. With that, I have played to large success without using those tools. In KOFXIII to be successful, Drive and HD combos were more mandatory in order to win unlike KOF2002UM where it could be used, but isn't necessary to win overall (unless you're playing Nameless.) So much like KOF98 or KOF2002 series, I found much success playing KOFXIV without using the deeper combo mechanics and used meterless BnBs and simple combos which end in a Desperation Move, EX Desperation Move, or Climax (the new fancy term for Hidden Super Desperation Moves, MAX 2s, Leader Desperation Moves, Neomaxes, Level 3 super, etc.) Since the neutral game was improved, solid space and consistent space control within smaller instances dictated the pace of the game instead of the particular focus of meter managing resources and converting like KOFXIII. So tagging an opponent with anti-air consistently with crouching C or an air-to-air controls the pace better than brute forcing or bullying with hops and jumps until one lands a jump-in or air-to-air jumping CD into a big combo regardless if the opponent checks the space with standing jabs or air-to-airs. Damage where it's at and what has been discovered so far is fine as is. I could imagine damage being even bigger with the new MAX system, but I do not envision it will be to the extent of Benimaru corner infinites, Shen Woo 100% combos, Takuma or Vice j.CD into anywhere juggle conversions, or anything of the such.
In regards to the game's aesthetics, it looks much better in person than what the trailers provide. I was one of the crew when the first trailer came out that thought the game looked ugly. I said to myself, as long as it plays well, I'll play it. So I went to Playstation Experience with lukewarm expectations of the game. When up close, the game actually looks like a PS4 title. Kyo, Iori, Leona, and Chang were more polished and finished compared to the more recent additions to the playable build, Andy and Kula. So one could actually see the development process in which the 3D models go through. Andy's and Kula's in game models during matches have a flat look to them without shine or finer details. Andy's portrait in the character select screen also lacks the sheen and finish that the other characters have, while Kula's portrait looks largely more finished in contrast to her model in a game match. Everyone's win portrait looks goofy unless they're the centerpiece character who won the round (it's different than if they're in the background.) Leona's win portrait looks good when she's the centerpiece, but looks unpolished and weirdly proportioned when in the background. So the visuals of the game are a very large piece of work in progress, but the trailers thus far haven't done the game justice it deserve when observed right in front of you at the booth. Ironically for the character portraits for characters select, it seems SNKP spent more time working Chang's luxurious, glamorous beard than fixing the jaggy edges on Kyo's and Iori's hair. The blur effects used in Leona's Moon Slasher and Baltic Launcher look very beautiful, and the smoke from Kyo's and Iori's attacks look better in person than they do in a trailer (much like how the very bold smoke effects in KOFXIII looked better in person than in the trailers as well years ago.) The game, yet to iterate again, is still in development; but, I like the stride made thus far from the first trailer to where it was on the show room floor. Sadly to say, first impressions are everything; but I hope the finished product will change many stubborn minds.
Of the six playable characters, no character felt weak or obviously bad or bottom tier material. Everyone has their familiar and good tools. Chang might be one of the "weakest" of the six characters because his jumping CD isn't as fast as it used to be, j.C and j.D lost a bit of horizontal range, crouching C isn't as fast as it should be to anti-air full jumps, and Far C has too much start up and recovery to be used to anti-air. Even then, Chang's subtle new tools, Far A, fast slide, j.CD remaining viability, great anti-air super, and other tools still make Chang a strong contender who is able to keep the current cast of six out very well. Trusting SNKP as they have done great, sensible balance updates such as going from KOF98UM to KOF98UMFE, from KOF2002 to KOF2002UM, and from KOFXIII Arcade to KOFXIII Console/Climax, I have faith in the development process to have Chang adjusted properly later.
Without further ado, I will list notable character observations I have found. I give a special thanks to Reiki Kito, EX Wild Wolf, JD, Gen D, N4US, and among the many others whom helped me test and find info. I couldn't have done it without them.
Kyo had his Far A returned to him. It has really good range and checks hops much better than his standing A in KOFXIII.
Kyo had his Far B returned to him as well. I think it may one of the better versions thus far because it isn't as negative on block (momentum ending) like in previous titles. While good for checking hops, well spaced hops might phase around it near the apex so Far A was often a better choice for hop checks despite not forcing guard on crouching opponents. Was a good whiff punish poke for the risk and range, a good ground-to-ground check.
Close C now hits twice on hit and block if the first hit isn't canceled. It always had two separate hit boxes for the initial punch near the gut and was cancelable, and then the secondary hit box near the tip of his extended fist for anti-air. If first hit made contact, the other didn't come out, but now it does .
Jumping D has its ranged extended compared to KOFXIII, more like KOF98 and KOF2002. Haven't tested if a tipped jumping D hit crouchers like in KOF98 and KOF2002, which it didn't in KOFXIII unless it was Maxima or Daimon. Improved neutral game because of it.
Far D is fast and a good poke. It reminds me of CVS2 or KOF2002UM although not as fast as either. It tended to preemptively tag hops out of the air as well.
Aragami (qcf+P) didn't seem to have as much range as KOFXIII or even compared to KOF98 and KOF2002 in relation to the size of the screen the the buffed normals for controlling the neutral game. Still pretty good, the guard point timing is more like KOF98 than it is KOFXIII, so later rather than sooner. Fat enough guard point active frames.
Aside from range, Aragami received a new rekka route: 124 Shiki - Munotsuchi. It acts like Heavy D!'s low follow up from his 1-2 rekka. Kyo's version of it is a low attack which launches the opponent. The punch button follow up has Kyo hop forward and do his jumping down C (j.2C) attack. Upon block string, that punch follow up whiffs on crouching characters. Kyo's kick follow up has him do the second punch of his 182 Shiki Desperation Move, a simple spin into an uppercut. Although not tested, it should be a more consistent, safer ender than the punch follow up and it should super cancel into a Desperation Move. Much like the overhead follow up to Aragami (127 Shiki - Yanosabi), Munotsuchi is pretty slow and could be interrupted with almost any attack, mashed or precisely chosen. To complement the Yanosabi and Munotsuchi, the launcher follow up to Aragami (128 Shiki - Konokizu) neither hits overhead nor low but acts as a frame trap which conditions opponents to be set up for either the Yanosabi or Munotsuchi. So there is more purpose, choice, and variety in Kyo's fundamental rekka series.
Red Kick is safe on stand guard and crouch guard, unlike KOFXIII. It's about as fast as KOFXIII so it's still within the realm of reacting to it and dragon punching it, but at least it's fast enough to catch off guard other players and scoring a hard knockdown during the neutral game.
RED Kick after Kyo's hop kicks in his standard BnB leaves him closer to the opponent and previous games before KOFXIV. It's a bit more difficult to set up a safe hop or safe jump set up mid screen because of it, but not impossible. Just requires more finesse.
Kyo's hard knockdown enders after hit hop kicks have better balance between choosing having good okizeme or doing meterless damage instead of having an option which does both. Kyo's running elbow attack (212 Shiki - Kototsuki Yo: hcb+K) does the best mid screen meterless damage from hop kicks, but now has huge recovery after success and Kyo recovers around the same time the opponent wakes up from hard knockdown. Same for Kyo's corner juggle with Aragami into Yanosabi into the OTG punch, it's either difficult to time a safe hop or it's not possible to safe hop based on my testings. So although RED Kick does less damage than the other two, it leads to better set ups. It's up to the player to make decisions based on the context of the match rather than do the single best follow up each time.
Kyo's EX Dokugami doesn't have the Aragami flow ups like in KOFXIII
Kyo's EX Kototsuki is a command throw like Fireball Kyo in KOFXIII
Kyo's EX 182 Shiki (EX Desperation Move) is a combination of his KOF99 182 Shiki and KOF2000 182 Shiki. Looks really cool! Both normal and EX 182 Shiki combo from light attacks and from juggles if timed properly.
Kyo's forward B overhead kick (Ge-shiki - Gofu Yo) is really fast. It feels faster than KOF98's or Kusanagi's version of it in KOF2002, but it takes out the first hit which didn't hit overhead. So it's a singular hit attack that is pretty fast. Good range on it for its purpose.
Kyo's forward throw looks like it causes hard knockdown now unlike KOF98 or KOF2002.
Both weak and strong versions of Kyo's Kototsuki runs through Iori's grounded projectile, even full screen. It gets tripped by sweeps though (tested with Andy's sweep.) Both versions can't run through Andy's fireball though.
Kyo's j.CD is good, but it's not as fast as KOFXIII so it's not as good for fishing for air-to-air counter hits. Works more like KOF98 and KOF2002.
Kyo's j.2C is also good, but doesn't have as much downward range and fat hit box like KOFXIII. But it doesn't cause huge push back on hit and block unlike KOF98 and KOF2002 so it's easy to combo afterwards. Can be used to cancel Kyo's back dash to extend range and reduce recovery.
Kyo can jump in or hop in on an opponent at mid screen and still be able to combo into hop kicks like KOFXIII, unlike KOF98 or KOF2002.
Kyo's df.D's first hit is cancelable like fireball Kyo in KOFXIII or Kusanagi in KOF2002UM. Kyo's damage output and corner carry from crouching attacks/low hitting mix-ups is greatly strengthened.
Crouching C is fast and consistent as an anti-air again.
His dp+C (Oniyaki) is about as good as KOFXIII. Kyo's dragon punch is actually good, causes consistent knockdown if it does hit, and is much more like KOFXIII than KOF98. Unlike EX Kyo in KOFXIII or Kyo in KOF98, it didn't exhibit any guard points while I played and watched KOFXIV.
If Kyo does his EX Orochinagi after hop kicks at the fastest possible timing, only one hit of EX Orochinagi will hit and Kyo still has the ability to juggle afterwards. Combo video potential perhaps?
I accidentally anti-aired with Kyo's strong hop kick (qcf+D,D) and the first part connected but the second part whiffed. As the opponent's character was about to hit the ground, I was able to still connect a juggled DP.
I was able to tip with Kyo's Far C from max range and still combo into strong hop kicks and fully connect. Strong hop kicks move very far forward. I didn't test weak hop kicks so I don't know what it can combo from and what exactly juggles after it if there are any.
Strong hop kicks is also safer on block than in KOFXIII, so it's more like KOF98 status. Unlike KOF98, there's more push back after the second kick. That means Kyo can't do close C into strong hop kick strings all day in the corner like KOF98. The second kick has to be delayed to make it safe though, and it creates a gap in the block string for the opponent to reversal through. Kyo could tighten the gap to use the second hit as a frame trap, but then if it's blocked then Kyo would be more at frame disadvantage (more unsafe.)
I couldn't get counter hit j.CD to combo into j.2C at mid screen and I couldn't land it in the corner either, if I recall correctly. I didn't test if I can combo a counter hit j.CD into hcb+K though or anything else. Counter hit j.CDs still do cause juggle states and could net an additional hit.
Chang's Far A is still really good, as expected. Surprisingly keeps out characters really well and out ranges plenty of pokes while anti-air checking the hop space.
Chang's slide is super fast like KOF98. Didn't test if it was safe on block if tipped, ended up hitting most people walking backwards or committing to a projectile or poke. Of course it's unsafe if blocked deep.
Chang has a new close standing B that hits low. I meatied with it against an Andy's wake up and it beat Andy's dp+C (strong dragon punch) out clean and I combo'd into a command throw.
As mentioned Far C is too slow to work well in the neutral game. It causes soft knockdown on hit and causes counterwire on counter hit (counterwire is a property where a counter hit with that attack causes wall bounce regardless how far from the wall the opponent is.) I have been told it whiffs against the whole cast while they're standing on the ground. I didn't personally test it to confirm.
Crouch C is where Chang lifts his ball directly upwards to anti-air vertically approaching opponents, ones who full jump forward. Also it is a bit slow on start up for its purpose. Chang's crouching heavy punch in CVS2 is his best rendition of this type of tool.
Sweep is much faster now and has a different animation. It's a good poke that is cancelable on hit, block, whiff.
Chang's Tekkyuu Daikaiten (aka mash punch button to swing ball) is slower than it used to be in terms of revolutions per second and seems to not anti-air as well as it used to. It still nullifies projectiles. The attack could be ended sooner by pressing light punch and light kick at the same time. EX Tekkyuu Daikaiten looked much faster and better, but didn't test it in application. EX swung the ball super fast, faster than any other game he's been in.
Chang's j.C and j.D both lack the horizontal range they did in previous games, still okay pokes although they're also slower than they used to be. j.D can instant overhead the whole cast although the j.D in of itself is a bit slow for that purpose. At least it instant overheads if Chang is point blank and hops backwards.
Both Desperation Moves are good reversals. The anti-air one isn't as invulnerable as the grounded combo one in comparison. Ironically, the grounded combo Desperation Move is actually a pretty good anti-air if spaced well, it's like Mr. Karate's by comparison. The anti-air jumping Desperation Move can cross up on the belly flop downwards. The gimmick continues.
Chang's close C is slow like it usually is for a typical close C attack, but it's an overhead and causes knockdown. Didn't test if it was hard knockdown though. Close up mix up might be meaty cl.B into command throw, command throwing in general against someone who guards too cautiously, or choosing the overhead that causes knockdown.
Chang's new close D is his butt bump from CVS2. It wasn't an overhead when I tested it and couldn't find much application for it yet. I forgot to test to see if it's cancel-able
Chang's charge back then forward + punch is still a decent poke, but the recovery could be counter poked. When he swings the wind up for his C version, it can guard point. I don't know the duration/active frames of the guard point, but oh well.
Andy has KOFXIII Andy's move set.
Andy's projectile is much better as explained in paragraphs above. Can't be hopped as tested and expands his zoning game.
Andy's Zaneiken (dash elbow) is safer on block and is a good pressure tool. Couldn't do KOFXIII hit reset into cross under or fake cross under mix-ups during my time playing him.
Sweep is cancelable on hit and block. I didn't confirm if it was cancelable on whiff though. It's good, but not KOF2002 or KOFXIII Arcade anti-air levels of good
Andy's EX projectile moves very slow and is a single hit. It's like a fat "Sonic Boom" to reiterate.
Andy has a new move which changes his directory in the air. It's called Genei Shiranui. It doesn't have a hit box although it looks like one of EX Mai's attacks in KOF98UM. It could only be done during full jumps or during Kuuha Dan (the rainbow kick.) At neutral during Kuuha Dan or Andy's Jump, it could be used to bait dragon punches or other anti-air attempts. In combos, it allows for juggles in the corner. The motion for it is just full jump or Kuuha Dan and do down + D button.
Andy's buttons that were good in KOFXIII are also good in this game. Overall Andy is a really solid "shoto" character to play during this build.
Like in most games, plays overall the same and is really solid.
Cr.C is actually fast, and is finally a real, legit anti-air. It even cancels now too.
Far B is still a really strong poke, pressure tool, and anti-hop check. It's like KOF2002 status but the tip of the hit box doesn't feel as if it reaches as far downwards as it used to do. It's more susceptible to sweep when the opponent is pushed further out whereas in KOF2002 it would still eat the sweep alive as the sweep would extend its hurt box into Far B. Not as such in KOFXIV.
Kula's breath attack (qcf+P) properties have been "switched." The A version is the slow start up one and causes knockdown on hit. The C version is the fast version but doesn't knock down the opponent. I didn't test if I can run up and combo after the C version, but it didn't look like based on hit stun.
Kula's special projectile from a successful reflector (Counter Shell: qcb+P) and from Lay Spin (qcb+K > f.B) doesn't cause knockdown anymore as it hits a standing or crouching opponent.
Kula's slide, like KOF2002, goes underneath airborne projectiles like Andy's. This is in contrast to KOFXI (KOF 11) in which it didn't.
Kula's cr.B, cr.B st.B xx DP works on all crouching characters as far as I tested, don't need to do slide (df.B) since the DP connects and knocks down crouching characters.
Kula has new animations such as her Climax and back throw. Diana doesn't show up anymore and Kula fights solo.
Far D actually caught me as an anti-air, it looks much faster than before and may be a new, consistent, functional anti-air. Would have liked to test it more in hind sight.
Kula has a new super that looks like an ice version of Holy Order Sol's Gunblaze from the Guilty Gear XX series. It doesn't seem to cross up like Gunblaze and it's unsafe on block. Mainly used for combos and looks flashy.
Might be wearing Booty Pop based on her Climax cinematic.
Cr.C actually works very well as an anti-air now like KOF98 and KOF2002, but it still links from cr.B like KOFXIII.
Far A has further range than KOFXIII, KOF98, and KOF2002. It also hits all crouching characters in the build. Really great anti-hop check.
Leona now has a Far B, it works as a good horizontal poke and ground-to-ground check much like Kyo's Far B. It was super cancelable but I did test it on block so don't know if the super would even connected. Can't cancel into forward B.
Leona has to do a single cr.B to get close B then go into forward B into knockdown air special or Desperation Move. If she does 2 cr.Bs, she's pushed out and does Far B on standing instead of close B.
D Grand Saber goes through all projectiles at all ranges, even Iori's projectile. She runs through fire. B version runs a much shorter distance and does not go through any projectile.
Leona's instant overhead neutral full jump D into A version of X-Calibur is still present. Her high low game on wake up is risky but strong.
Leona's j.C is back to being an instant overhead, but it still retains cross up properties. The point of contact to make j.C cross up is making sure her abs hit the opponent character's shoulders. It looks like a body splash like Zangief's, but Zangief's pelvis and legs have hit boxes to make contact and cross up unlike Leona. Leona's cross up requires more minute spacing comparatively
C version of X-Calibur (the dive one) does cross up if spaced properly. It can also be combo'd from cr.B, cl.B, f.B at mid screen. In return, within the corner the only juggle I could get afterwards was a standing A for a hit reset. I could not juggle Moon Slasher.
Leona's Slash Saber Desperation Move also goes through all projectiles like D Grand Saber.
V-Slasher still goes through almost everything as usual.
It used to be speculation, but you can clearly hear Leona say "Apple Juice" while doing her forward throw.
Standing CD doesn't have her slide forward like in KOFXIII, but she reaches and stretches further with her arm and it ends up having the same range as her XIII Standing CD. Otherwise, it mostly visually lookes the same.
I asked Yasuyuki Oda to give Leona her air throw back. I'm crossing my fingers.
On pad, it was easy for me to do hop back instant overhead j.A and hit confirm (while buffering) V-Slasher. It's like previous games, but getting the spacing on instant overhead is much easier and very consistent.
Iori is Iori as usual. He feels like KOF98/2002/XIII fireball+rekka Iori rolled up in one.
Close D is like KOFXIII's. It whiffs on crouchers (didn't test it on Chang though) while in KOF98 and KOF2002 it hit crouchers and with a fat horizontal activation range and hit box. It was used to anti-air in KOFXIII in situations where opponents would jump and curve around close C.
Close C is a good anti-air as usual and I haven't had a jump-in curve around it and beat it. KOFXIV collision boxes may be better than KOFXIII.
Crouch C, like in KOFXIII, is a good anti-air unlike KOF98 or KOF2002. It's kinda like CVS2 when I think about it. Cancelable as usual as well.
Far B is like KOFXIII's and is super cancelable (CVS2 style), and it anti-airs hops at times unlike KOF98 and KOF2002. Decent check/poke.
Iori got his dp+K move back from KOF98 and it's now an overhead. B version goes a shorter distance than the D version. D Version can cancel into rekkas on block and on hit. I couldn't find what B version led into, couldn't cancel into rekkas. EX Version ground bounces; I didn't test what I can get from the ground bounce afterwards though. Bounced as about as high as Iori's head/neck area.
Iori's command throw doesn't have invulnerability so it's like KOFXIII's command throw. KOF98's was a bit slow but invul until a few frames before active, same with KOF2002. KOF98UM's was sped up, but lost invulnerability. XIII's and XIV's Iori's command throw requires more conditioning before it could be used than other games. Didn't test if EX command throw had invulnerability in KOFXIV.
Iori's rekkas are safer on block in KOFXIV than in KOFXIII. I couldn't punish the second heavy rekka on block with my own Iori's light reakkas as a reversal. Last hit used to be very unsafe on block in older games, but now it has a bit more push back on block and is more akin to KOF2002. EX Rekka looked like the last hit didn't do that leaping overhead attack but instead did an upward swipe with the hand. It was done on block so I don't know if it launches on hit, but it looked safe on block. Mystery tool that needed more testing.
In Iori mirror matches, I would try to air-to-air with j.B and I'd attack first and bank on its length active frames but had the other Iori beat me out with a j.D. Don't know if j.B has a larger hurt box or less active frames or both than from previous games. Otherwise it still won in all my other air-to-air exchanges.
Iori's qcbhcf+P Desperation Move (Ura 1018 Shiki - Yashiori) now sets a cloud of sparks right in front of him. If the opponent walks into this cloud of sparks, explosions set off within the area and force the opponent to block or get knockdown by the hits. Iori can charge it up, but we haven't found any purpose of doing it yet because it doesn't add any additional explosions or range, as observed. EX version causes up to 8 explosions, but like the normal version, we don't know why it could be charged as well.
Iori's EX Yami Barai (the fireball) is his qcfx2+P Desperation Move from KOFXIII. Haven't seen what it does on hit when I was there.
Iori's back roll is no longer a roll, he does a cool looking turn sway.
Iori's rekkas seem safer on block. In mirror match, I tried to do light rekkas to punish the second heavy rekka on block, which would typically work in other games, but it didn't and they blocked. Someone did the full rekka string on me, I think the light version, without delaying any of the hits and the push back on the last hit sent me far enough that Chang's reversal command throw whiffed due to range. When I run up, I feel like he recovers already. Scarier than KOF2002 rekkas? Or was I malnourished and just messing up?
Additional thoughts, observations, and interpretations:
I don't know if it's because I've been practicing Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Samurai Shodown II, and the such, but I feel like normals in KOFXIV seem to have more extended hurt boxes during recovery (not for start up or active frames) so it feels easier to whiff punish pokes with pokes like it's Street Fighter. So I'm not sure if it's my newly founded whiff coax and whiff punish mentality or if pokes that are whiffed are more easily whiff punishable. I saw Andy's sweep whiff a bit outside of my contact range so I reacted with Far D with Kyo and tagged him. I was surprised to see it whiff punish considering how low Andy gets. When we did the same attacks but starting at the same time, his sweep beat out my Far D. So the hit box and hurt box interactions are different during active frames and start up as compared to recovery.
Guard rolls are good again. There isn't KOFXIII's huge hit stop on guard roll that it ate the opponent's inputs and cut their unsafe block string short and actually making the opponent safe.
Rolls are much faster than KOFXIII's except for Kyo's. The roll itself is fast and travels a good distance, but the recovery is pretty apparent like KOFXIII. So it's easier for newer players to punish rolls unlike in games like KOF98 or KOF2002 while sill having the roll quick and viable enough for evasive maneuvers.
Throws are still one button and are very fast. Didn't test if a player can tech a normal throw during a guaranteed punish situation, such as being thrown after the opponent blocked your DP and you are still can tech the throw. I'd like to presume the status quo remains, but I can never be certain on something I didn't test out.
I only lost twice this weekend. One to a person that only had a pixel left and I ran forward and did far B with Iori as a poke (I had life lead) and got hit by Climax and died. The other time was against a legit pad player who knew what he was doing and I forgot he was good and I picked Andy because I wanted to test him. Andy was fodder and I lost. He was the guy who lent me a pad at EVO I think in 2012 when mine broke during pools. Bless his soul.
After expressing my thoughts about KOF XIV and what I liked and disliked about it, saying I'm a KOF98 player, and chatting to the staff, I was able to play against Yasuyuki Oda in KOFXIV. He actually knew how to play KOF, but I still out played him convincingly. He liked to do KOF98 GGPO gimmicks like tipping Kyo and Iori's DPs on block so when I run in to punish, he does another DP to hit me. I got hit a bunch by that but I figured it out and got the win.
The other Japanese staff member, his name is escaping me, who was present was the person who worked on Last Blade 2. I said to him I liked Last Blade 2 and it's cool that it's coming to PS4. So I asked him if Last Blade 3 was going to be a thing (well I called it Gekka no Kenshi when I was talking with him.) He said he'll talk to the higher ups and try to persuade them. Such a tease.
Another note I forgot to mention. Tech rolling/recovery rolling recovers much more slowly than KOF98, KOF2002, and KOFXIII. It feels weirds and it feels even more difficult trying to time a reversal from it. Is it my lack of practice/experience? Or is it an actual, intentional design mechanic? For sure though, recovery roll from a soft knockdown recovers much more slowly than before. By recovery, I mean the whole animation from hitting the ground, rolling, and then getting up takes an overall longer duration of time, not that only the last part of getting up was slow. Then again I mainly had Kyo on point and mainly noticed it with Kyo, and Kyo already had a slow roll compared to the rest of the cast. So with my fading memory, I don't know.
Also, I forgot to test if alternate guard is in the game (continually shifting between high and low guard to extend block stun to avoid throws and command throws.) No one really tried to tick throw me with command throws so I didn't feel like I needed to do it or remember to do it. Totally fell off my radar.
EX Desperation Moves just require two stocks to perform. Climaxes require three stocks to perform, and unlike or MAX2s from KOF2002UM, they do not need the character to be in Red/danger health to perform. I do not know what are the meter consumption for EX Desperation Moves and Climaxes are in MAX mode though. I forgot to make note of it.
Stuns are in the game like in KOFXIII and KOF98. KOF2002 and KOF2002UM didn't have stuns by comparison. It took about 3.5 meterless combos with Kyo to stun. I used a jump-in into cl.C xx qcf+D, D > rdp+B as the measuring device for a "combo" by Kyo.
Overall, I have really enjoyed playing KOFXIV at Playstation Experience. The more I played, the more I wanted to play. I was all smiles and feeling good about the potential of KOFXIV. It does have its few nuances that I don't like, but I feel those could be easily remedied. The graphics look better when played in person and when touched up and polished up. Most players I spoked to had overall positive impressions of the game. The first trailer made many bad first impressions, so KOFXIV might be an underdog sleeper hit because right now it's a diamond in the rough just waiting to become Q-carbon.