Our Thoughts & Impressions On The KOFXIV 24 Character Build at Combo Breaker 2016

This King of Fighters XIV Exhibition features myself (desmond_kof) on commentary with Atlus USA representative Will Chan! Shoutouts to bgCallisto for streaming and uploading the archive!

This past weekend a few of the Dream Cancel staff attended Combo Breaker 2016 to play the King of Fighters XIV 24 Character playable demo build brought by Atlus USA!

Thank you Atlus USA & SNK!


I had the opportunity to try out KOF XIV at Combo Breaker. Shout outs to Atlus for bringing the game for us to try! There were three setups total and there were constant lines at all three stations at any given time. Lots of people were interested in trying out the game. The consensus I hear from people who tried the game, including KOF fans and players from other communities are almost universally positive.
First off the game looks prettier in person. You can see the tiny details in the characters. The character animations are also a lot more fluid. I guess this is the magic of 60fps that is hard to show when looking at twitch or YouTube footage.
The game itself is very fun. I had a blast playing it. A lot of people compare it to an easier version of 2k2um, but I think the game is closer to 98 with 2k2um’s system mechanics. The game has a bigger focus on ground games as hops are easier to look for and anti-air normals are generally stronger than XIII. It feels like playing 98 with super cancels and max mode combos.
You still get the thrill and excitement of landing that one hit which leads to huge damage like in XIII. Remember EX Iori’s easy 90% HD combo in XIII (normal > HD activate > normal > special normal > fireball > super > neomax)? Combos in XIV work very similar. You can just do a very simple combo without any loops to deal huge damage.
In addition, super cancel does not require additional meter costs other the meter for the super. So in essence there is little reason not to go for a super cancel in most cases. This applies to hit confirms or just using a special move on its own. For example, if you decided to wake up with a DP, you might as well buffer in a super in case it hits for additional damage.
Max cancel also feels very strong. First off, to cancel into max mode only takes one stock. Also being in max mode also grants you access to ex moves. Many EX moves have juggle properties, so you can use them to extend combos and deal good damage. Some other EX moves are very strong, like Athena’s EX psycho ball.
As a result, I feel like you should always go more max mode cancel when you get a hit. It leads to big damage and even if your attacks are blocked, max cancels still gives you opportunities for mix-ups. I think as the game evolves, mid screen footsies with good buttons coupled with max mode activate option select will be very strong.
A new addition to the game is the Rush Combo system. It is similar to the auto combos in Persona 4 Area and Under Night in Birth where you get a cool looking combo if you keep mashing jab. However, in KOFXIV you cannot stop mid combo and cancel/chain into something else for extended combos. The damage dealt in Rush combos are less than what you would get from doing a regular combo. It is mostly thought as a mechanic geared towards beginners and advanced players would never use it. However, I have found some situations where Rush combos are beneficial. For example, it is worthwhile to keep mashing jab to punish rolls if you do not want to mistime your punish. It is also useful when using jabs to check on your opponent and confirm into Rush combo if it hits.
One of the changes in the system mechanics that haven’t had much discussion is that you have to be standing up to perform guard cancel attacks. With this change, you can keep going low to attack opponents who are looking to guard cancel out of pressure. While this tactic is not as good as roll cancels in 2k2UM in counter guard cancel blowbacks, it is still a good way to make the game more offensive oriented.
Another system mechanic change is that walk speeds overall is generally slower, while runs are still very fast. How this will impact the neutral game in the long run is unclear, but most people I talked to feel like the game will be better off with faster walk speeds.
Despite some minor issues mentioned above, I want to stress that the game is very good and fun to play. I like the fact that every single character brings something new with them, be it new moves, costumes, or playstyles. I cannot wait till the full game comes out in late August when I will be playing it extensively!


I tried out King of Fighters XIV at Combo Breaker 2016 this past weekend. I played it all the 3 days it was featured at the event. There were 3 setups that were in all in a winner stays format (that I didn’t quite agree with) and they had
the setups there for at least 10 hours a day. I also did commentary for two exhibitions (on a sore throat) Sunday morning. (video at top of article)

Movement: I felt that the jumps felt very floaty. I couldn’t figure out if it was just less gravity or if they
were making the characters just jump higher or 3D graphics making the speeds look different. Because of that, it felt
pretty easy to anti-air jumping attacks while hops felt a little similar to past KOF games but still felt a tad bit
floaty. Iori’s hop and jumps felt the same while other characters felt floaty. The different jump speeds in this game I
noticed created a lot of cross-under situations when someone got hit with an air-to-air attack at jump high range which I didn’t see too much in KOFXIII.

I felt also that the walk/run speeds were VERY VERY slow. It made it very difficult to use normal throws while walking up to an opponent or to use them as a run grab. I felt that throws came out almost at random like playing GGXX.

Combos: Much more shorter in this game but more powerful damage wise. I don’t know how I feel about super cancels
not using any extra meter like KOF2002 however, it seems too lenient and generous to me so far. I do like how they removed canceling specials into each by changing them into canceling supers but I hope they don’t make the meter requirements too relaxed as they are now. Also, because the combos are much shorter, they make them VERY easy to do. The only reason I was dropping a few combos because I wasn’t used to the new combo paths, but I feel with practice, they can be easy mastered. The short combos I feel are a complete contrast to the combos in KOF13 which I felt because of the Drive Cancel meter, they made character combo lists very long (even the non-optimized ones) and the length of the combos very long too.

Check out more here: https://dreamcancel.com/forum/index.php?topic=4141.0


Getting to play KoF XIV at Combo Breaker was the highlight of my FGC year thus far. Like nearly everyone else I was immediately struck with how much better it looks in person. For everyone who’s heart sank when the ‘PS2’ trailers dropped last year, your fears will dissipate as soon as you see it live. The detailing in the stages, costumes, particle effects, 60 fps and art design will blow you away. So happy with this.

The game does feel a bit slower when compared to XIII or even 2k2UM. My best comparison all weekend was the transition of Guilty Gear from AC+R to XRD. GGAC+R was a very fast paced 2D sprite based game and when they transitioned to 3D modeling for XRD it at first felt like Guilty Gear underwater or played through the mud. Some of this is a human perception thing in that it looks and feels different than a true 2D image, but like what Arcsys went for in XRD (a slower paced, low execution threshold game to be easier for new players) I think SNK slowed down XIV intentionally to be more broadly appealing. The comparison holds true also for XRD and XIV’s combo systems, which are both much less execution heavy than the previous entries in their respective theories. This is a prevalent design feature of all the main fighting game series currently to try to be welcoming newer players without years of muscle memory under their belts.

My guess is there is at least a 3-frame buffer for input leniency like SFV and Blaz Blue have. I’m more than fine without ever needing to grind out 1 frame links again.

Matches still take around 15mins, but I would venture that after a couple months when players get their bnb Max Mode into Climax combo down matches will start to be shorter. Some of the easy Climax combos we were finding at Combo Breaker were doing 80%.

For me the jumps in the game still felt the most different compared to previous KoF entries. Again some of this is down to the perception difference in 3D vs 2D at shown by this great vid by ATRyoSakazaki comparing the 24 character build to XIII:

Based on that video it seems like some of the jumps are maybe 1-2 frames slower, but most of them look pretty even across the two titles, though this video doesn’t show if recovery on jumps is different in XIV which might be part of the difference in feeling. However, in the field it felt much harder to mix people up with hop or hyper-hop crossups or close the distance when full screen. A lot of players including myself thought the jumps in general felt float-y.

The slower speed of the game and adjustment of the jumps did make a character like Leona feel very strong in her ability to maintain spacing and prevent jump-ins. I think this is great personally. The viablity of differing play styles at the end of XIII was quite low due to the speed of mixups from characters like Kyo and Iori, which was why we saw endless grand finals of EX Kyo/Iori/+1 teams. I’m hoping XIV allows for more variety in how it is played and that Nakoruru is high tier in the final build.

The most interesting change to the system to me was only allowing EX special moves inside Max Mode. In XIII some characters lived and died by their EX moves. Characters like Elizabeth and Vice became highly viable characters if positioned with meter due to what their EX moves could accomplish and in my games of XIV characters EX moves changed their properties quite a bit so I could see some characters in the game using Max Mode just to gain access to the EX moves.

King of Dinosaurs is way too slow, hope he gets adjusted or there is something in the game for him that no one at Combo Breaker could find.

Shout outs to the Atlus staff and SNK for letting us play so much all weekend and even get some stream exhibitions going.

Cannot wait for August!


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