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King of Fighters XIV Steam Edition Review

The King of Fighters XIV provides players who are PC players an opportunity to experience the game with a bit more features & options than the console ps4 version.

Even though KOFXIV was released on PS4 in August of 2016, there were still many players who were highly anticipating the game being released on Steam for PC. Now that the game is released on PC, it will bring it a lot of those players who were waiting patiently as well as new players who don’t have a PS4 console (or that do but like to play fighters on PC instead).

The game is currently at version 2.01. In this review, I will give my thoughts on how the Steam version has properly optimized & showcased the game’s graphics, gameplay, and the replay value of the game!


In version 1.10 there was a very big update that increased & updated the game’s visuals. In the Steam version, the graphics have a very slick look & very fluid animation. You can also change the visual details in the graphics options if you feel that your graphics card can’t properly utilize certain functions for increased performance.


Like with most KOF games, the gameplay is fun & easy to learn for beginners with the tutorial section. You can learn the basic gameplay mechanics that you will use as tools for battles both offensively and defensively.

Training mode now has recording slots for different conditions that are now EXTREMELY helpful for intermediate players and expert players to constantly test new strategies, tactics, setups, situations & move properties:

Online play from many players report that the netcode is superior to the PS4 version in terms of less delay/lag in between opponents.


Things to keep players busy playing King of Fighters XIV are extras unlocked by playing story mode (& other modes), a robust training mode, many different modes & options when playing online. A digital art book is featured in one of the folders the game is installed in: /Steam/steamapps/common/

Also, the game is being worked on constantly for balance updates, more possible DLC content & technical fixes for bugs, glitches & improved features! Which new DLC content would you like to see featured?


One of the main criticisms many players & potential buyers feel at the moment is that the price of both the standard & deluxe version should be lowered for more people who aren’t fully committed & aren’t hardcore fans of King of Fighters to buy. Steam offers many sales throughout the year that lowers the price a considerable amount but many people feel the retail default price should be lowered.

Another criticism players have expressed is that they feel the game’s graphical optimization (at it’s current state) should be improved or specified more in-depth regarding running the game on different kinds of PC hardware. Some players feel the game runs a little slow FPS-wise on certain stages that have lots of animations in the background. A fair amount of players feel that the game runs perfectly on their computer, however. It might just be an issue of players not meeting the correct and exact PC specs or certain kinds of hardware aren’t running the game at it’s full potential.


If you have the PS4 version, with a good gaming PC, you should buy KOFXIV Steam Edition so you can expand your online player base with those who may not have a PS4. If you have a gaming laptop that meets the requirements to run KOFXIV, you can play this game wherever you are!

If you have a PC & you love King of Fighters, you should definitely buy this game because the character roster is large & unique, the amount of content featured is impressive, the gameplay is fun, rewarding & welcoming for new players, & the online experience is one of the best among many fighting games released now!

King Of Fighters XIV – Review



-Review from a fan.


It’s been about 23 years since I saw a little poster of King Of Fighters ’94 “Coming Soon” in a little strip mall in Hong Kong.  The concept of SNK merging their most popular IPs into one fighting game was hugely enticing–after all, in 1993 all you saw in arcades were the Fatal

Fury and Art of Fighting series.  Within several months, SNK released their first entry in the globally popular 3-on-3 series; KOF ’94.

13 main entries later, SNK releases the much awaited The King Of Fighters XIV.  Boosting a cool 50 characters selection50characters

a plethora of game modes with a variety wide of content right out of the gate and not to mention their first 3D iteration in the main series– it was indisputable SNK sought out to make a statement with KOFXIV.





As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but let’s get this one out of the way firstKOFXIV (1). KOF has always been a very stylistic game that has a very unique feel and look to it unlike any other game.  For the first 11 entries of the series SNK always used the same tried and true sprites.  Were there complaints back then? Sure. However, nobody seemed to care about it enough to back then to not try the game.  KOF XIII then introduced hand drawn sprites based off of 3D models and people went berserk over it –rightfully so as it was an indisputable work of art.

As KOF XIV transitioned to 3D models, SNK released some early teasers and the fans did not receive them well.  Fortunately, consequent teasers and trailers showed an almost quantifiable improvement, and later interviews revealed that indeed the developers knew at the time the trailers were just a work-in-progress and had to just bite the bullet.

Fast-forward 11 months and the finish product looks amazing in person.  It looked even better on Sony’s Bravia flat screens at E3 2016, it’s just one of those things you have to see for yourself.  When you actually play the game you don’t even think twice about the graphics.  Check out the animations on Mian and Zarina. After a short few hours, I actually fell in love with the way it looked.  Ironically, I popped in KOF XIII in my PS3 afterwards; KOF XIII actually looked funny to me.  To-MAY-toes, toe-MA-toes.  Does KOF XIV have room for improvement?  Sure, not to think so would be naive.

However, the most important takeaway is: KOF XIV still feels very KOF-like and has that same stylistic feel of KOF that we grew up loving.NeoEsaka



Look, I’m by no means an audiophile.  I don’t know all the names of the tracks and I don’t collect previous soundtracks.  What I do know is quality when I hear it, and dayam is the soundtrack spectacular! There’s just a very nostalgic 90’s feel to the tracks and this is probably due the fact that producer of KOF XIV, Yasuyuki Oda, rounded up the majority of the SNK employees from the 90s, to return to make KOF XIV. Make sure you opt to buy the Burn to Fight Premium Edition if they are still available, as it comes with:

  • The King of Fighters™ XIV game
  • Collectable SteelBook®
  • 144-page Art Book
  • 3-disc Soundtrack
  • Collector’s Box


Content (Online)

Online feasibility is the million dollar question and I’m not going to answer it.  Why?  It’s too early to tell so I really don’t have a concrete answer.   What I can say is that of the few matches I did play, from Free Match, Ranked Match to Party Mode.  Strangely, Party Mode was the smoothest.  Go Figure.

Online game modes is split up into several categories:THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160825125515

  • Ranked Match
  • Free Match
  • Online Training
  • Online Replay
  • Online Profile
  • Fighting List
  • Leadership board

Ranked Match allows you to play with players all over the world allowing you to set parameters such as connection type (1 through 4 with 4 being a superb connection), region, high rank players only etc.  For those who are ambitious, they can select Rank Skip Mode which allows you to compete with players that are similar to their skill level.  This is determined by the first 10 matches you play–if you win 8-10 you advance to level 21, win 5-7 you advance to level 15 only and so on.  SNK’s own online manual has more details on Rank Skip Mode.

  • While you are waiting for your opponent, you can even sit in Training mode practicing your favorite combos till the all-to-familiar message, “HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER” interrupts you and you’re immediately launched into character select screen.

Free Match is the same as Ranked except the match result will not affect your overall ranking.  You also have the freedom of either creating a room of up to 12 players or joining one yourself.

  • Team VS allows you to select your regular 3-on-3 character match3on3
  • Single VS allows you to select just one character match
  • Party VS is the much anticipated 3-on-3 match with your buddies.  Six players connect in this mode and you either select which team you belong on or you can randomly shuffle it as well.  This is the ultimate KOF player dream game mode where no doubt you have done your own version in local sessions with your buddies (if not, why haven’t you tried?) THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160825130426Quite frankly, this is what sets apart KOF from any fighting game, and this is the closest thing to the old school arcade environment.  Let me say: this mode alone, is worth all the marbles.  Regardless of your skill level,  there’s just something about the camaraderie of playing in group of players cheering each other on.  Have a mic? Coach your friends through the match!  Your buddy’s using too much shared resources (meter)?  Get that IOU (or YOM) across to him.  Your opponents playing in a less-than-desired way?  You get the point.

Online Training allows you to train online with a buddy across the country.

Online Replay archives ranked and free matches allowing you to download them at your leisure so you can study up on unfamiliar characters and players.

Online Profile is pretty niffy:THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160823220315

  1. Profile settings:  Choose what stats you want to be available for viewing such as win-lost percentages.
  2. Change team registration:  Have up to three preset teams and character colors registered for quick retrieval online play.
  3. Character registration:  Same as team registration but reserved for single play use such as training mode etc.
  4. Change stage registration: Like Character and Team registration, preset a stage you want to use frequently.  On certain stages such as Neo Esaka and Iguazu Falls you can set a customize message on the scrolling LCD displays in the back (Like my

Fighting List is a history of players that you have played online.

Leadership Board shows ranking of online players.


Content (Mission)

Mission mode is split into 3 sectionsTHE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160823002719

  • Trial
  • Time Attack
  • Survival

Survival pits your skill against an infinite amount of opponents, each progressively harder than the last, with the same life bar you started. The caveat is the same game rules applies in terms of life gain– finish the round quicker and you’ll receive more life back.

Time Attack is a race to defeat ten opponents as fast as you can.

Trial mode are five individual missions per all 50 characters.  In the past, KOF trial modes have been ranged from easy to table-flipping challenging.  I remember sleepless nights playing XI’s trial modes.  The five trials in KOF XIV however, sadly feels more like a tutorial rather than a challenge–it simply helps you understand the potential of the character.  This would probably be the only section I wished they could build upon; hopefully future DLC packages will expand on this.


Content (Tutorial)

If you have not played a Kay-OH-Eff before it can rather daunting.  Fear not!  SNK has designed a simple to follow tutorial to catch you up to speed taught by none other than the first proclaimed King of Fighter Champion (alleged), Antonov.  Learn the fighting game basics, walk, crouch, block, and jump.  Then KOF specific mechanics such as rolling, back dashing, running, Guard Cancel Rolls and Guard Cancel Blow backs. KOF has four types of jumps:THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160823003322 Hops, Hyper Hops, Jump, Hyper Jump. Training mode teaches you everything you need to know regarding the mechanics of the game (more on system mechanics unique to KOF XIV in the Gameplay section).


Content (Versus)

What else needs to be said?  Chances are if you purchased the The King Of Fighters XIV, your whole purpose is to beat up your buddies whilst showing off your combos that you have been grinding out in the lab.  Choose between Team VS or Single VS.


Content (Training)

Pretty standard training mode as modern day fighting games goes.  Don’t forget to check the options out in training mode; if used effectively, can really help you master your character.

One of my favorite things to do is chose the same character (as each have different jump speeds), set the CPU to 1-hit Guard Jump (the opponent will jump as soon as it leaves blockstun frames), attack the guarding CPU dummy and hold up to jump.  What this does is illustrate how much recovery your attack has, essentially showing you the vulnerabilities/limitations of said move.  Want to test your reaction time?  Do your favorite combo and set your opponent to Guard Random and only finish your combo upon hit.  Try setting your CPU dummy to level 5 and you might learn a thing of two from them!

A welcome addition to training mode is the use of the touchpad to choose your restarting position, left corner, middle of screen, right corner.  Sure you can press start, tap right or left under restart then exit back out–but that wastes precious time.  When you are grinding out combos for hours at a time to perfect your execution, you will appreciate the touchpad feature.

Training mode is the complete deal.  Only thing I would like to return is the ability to set your opponent to attack with specific buttons such as HP or HK and so forth.  Currently, you have to record your computer dummy and play it back, which, still works just fine–it’s just a little more tedious.  Lastly, don’t forget you can train online with a buddy as well.


Content (Story)

The KOF series has always been known for their storyline arcs and KOF XIV marks the beginning of a new series.  It is highly recommended you read the prologues of each team located on SNK’s official page.  Atlus has done such a phenomenal job in assisting with the dialogue translations since KOF XIII that, I almost missed the Japanese Engrish from the SNK ’90s. The backstories are developed enough to intrigue the most casual players, without making you feel like you have to hit up the local lore-guru in order to play catch up. They’re also incredibly entertaining this time around too.Athena Kensou

Each character has a potential of having pre-battle dialogues due to a myriad of reasons. Some are storyline related, some are easter egg throwbacks to older KOFs, while some are just straight comical (I’m looking at you Terry vs KOD).  This really creates replay value for the game even if you are not a completionist.

You play eight stages against random teams, after the fourth team there’s a cut-scene, certain teams have an extra cut scene after defeating Antonov, and finally you get a team ending.

You have to defeat the game with all 16 teams to really know what’s really going on; also keep in mind that KOF XIV is the first installment of a new series, so you know that SNK is just getting started setting up the storyline.


Content (Gallery)

Gallery is pretty straightforward, you get to collect soundbites, artwork, movies & cutscenes from all the KOFs as you progress through the game.  There’s tons; every match I’ve played so far has given mean a new galley photo and I’ve completed 4 stories so far and I’m not even close to finishing.


Content (Player data)

Also self explanatoryTHE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV_20160823002749

  1. Player Record
  2. My Ranking
  3. My Profile
  4. Character Record
  5. Replay Data

I’m not going into detail about them; Check them out on the official Web Manual.



The usual suspects here like game difficulty, language change, button config presets. Regarding button config, they finally got the the permission to program buttons in as you press them.  Previously, you select LP and you toggle left or right until you reach the desire button, then you go to LK and you repeat the same process for all your buttons.  In KOF XIV, they are allow you to simply press the desired button to preset it for LP and so forth.  Included in the 1.01 day 1 patch, is the support for Legacy Controller. Hip hip hooray!  No need to plunk another one-fitty for a PS4 stick–just use your PS3 one!


Gameplay (Character)

50 characters.  That’s right, 48 character plus two unlockable bosses.  With all the features mention so far, if all 50 characters were from previous KOF installments and SNK gave us the current training mode, story mode, and in the risk of sounding redundant, party mode–I would already consider The King Of Fighters XIV a steal!

However that’s not the case.  Let’s examine the facts:

  • 17 out of 48, that’s more than a 1/3rd of the cast–is BRAND new to the seriescharacter_2

That is quite unheard of in today’s fighting game industry.  A huge financial risk for SNK to gamble, but definitely a play that’s paying dividends now and they’re grinning from ear-to-ear.  The feedback from multiple location tests and hours of playing myself reaffirms that SNK still has what it takes–They develop characters with soul. So much personality in each and every character that it’s hard not to instantly fall in love.  Mian, the invitee from Team Official Invitation who practices the secret art of Chinese Sichuan Opera Bian Lian, changes her mask subtly throughout the match.  Any time her hand covers her face she changes into one of her 10 different masks.KOFXIV (11)  The beloved charismatic villain’s leader of old time favorite Chang and Choi, Xanadu, commands the most unorthodox special moves in recent fighting game memory.  Yell at your opponent and nullify projectiles?  Check.  Run up to your opponent and rock them to sleep (yup)? Check.  Use your Climax move to finish them and end up staring at the “light” like a crazy loon?  Double check.   Tongue-in-check parody character of a JPOP star? A boy who fights sleepy all the time with a pillow? How about Alice from SNK’s former Pachiko game division who studies her moves from the Fatal Fury team, emulating one special move from each of them.KOFXIV (7) Kukri the mysterious trash-talking hooded figure who has the ability to control sand. There’s a luchador wrestler by the name of King Of Dinosaur (KOD). ‘Nuff said. Let’s not forget the new protagonist Shun’ei with the strange demon handsKOFXIV (12)The list goes on, each one with enriched with personality that suits their playstyle; SNK has struck gold with KOF XIV.


Gameplay (Mechanics)

Every iteration of KOF they introduce new system mechanics:

  • RUSH
  • Blowbacks (CD)
  • Maxmode
  • Advance cancels and Climax Cancels

RUSH is a feature for mainly novice players trying to get acclimated to KOF XIV.  By pressing LP in succession four times, you activate normal attacks only used by RUSH that ends in a special move if you have no meter; a super move if you have one meter; or a Max Super Move if you are already in Maxmode.  It should be noted that RUSH combos do less damage than a comparable normal combo and cannot be cancel out of.

Blowbacks (commonly referred to as CD), now have a wallsplat property.  Not to be confused with wallbounce, wallsplat sends your opponent across the screen where they end up slumping over in a crumple state–as long as the opponent is grounded when the hit occurs.

Maxmode (MM) is a combination of KOF XIII’s Hyperdrive and Ex moves.  Basically, you activate MM by pressing LK+HP and you now have a MM bar that depletes over time.  Only in MM, do you have access to enhanced special moves called Ex Moves.  Each use of these Ex moves depletes your MM bar even faster.  Ex Moves usually have different properties from their regular counterpart such as: increased damage, faster startup, quicker recovery, ground bounce that puts your opponent in a juggle state, and wall bounce which propel the opponent across the screen and off the wall (or wire damage is older KOFs)–mainly to extend your combo.

Advance cancels allow you to cancel your Super Move into a different Max Super Move. Although requiring a total of three meters, it allows you to do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.  It also gives variety to how you spend your meter.  Do you use MM and end in a Max Super Move?  Do you perform the Climax Special Move?  Or do you go for Advance Cancels and style on your opponent that way.  Climax cancel is simply canceling a Super Move or Max Super Move into the Climax Special Move which costs a lot of meter but can turn the tide around of a match.


Gameplay (General)

Thanks to the day 1 patch 1.01, the game’s second most common concern, the floaty jumps seen in earlier location tests–are basically a thing of the past.  Jump speeds are more akin to KOF XIII speeds which is fast paced but still manageable for most players. KOF XIV has a heavier emphasis on the use of normal attacks similar to KOF ’98 and the general neutral game that KOF ’98 players grew to love.

The use of the new Blowbacks really change the momentum of the matches and also can setup some very stylish combos.  It’s also really clever for SNK to enhance the properties of blowbacks, seeing that they are a very natural counter strategy to opponents who like to excessively poke with normal attacks.

Like playing most KOFs for the first time, it can feel a little slow and hard to adapt.  But like mentioned before, once you really get accustomed to KOF XIV, the game can become incredibly fun at any causal level while still competitive for the tournament players.


Conclusion and closing remarks

KOF XIV is better than KOF XIII.

Having played KOF XIII for five plus years since the hay days of Arcade Infinity and TRB; that’s saying a lot!  Hell, Dream Cancel was founded to support the influx of players from KOF XIII. SNK took an already excellent title and expanded on it more.

The King Of Fighters XIV had a some big shoes to fill after KOF XIII’s revival success.  The Party Vs feature was conceived back in KOF XII but never reach fruition until KOF XIV.  The character roster was missing a lot of fan favorites such as Chang, Choi, Angel, Geese and now they’ve all return and then some.  The mechanics of KOF XIII were exciting, but a lot of casual players felt it was too complicated.

Indeed, trial modes can be improved on and training modes can be slightly tweaked, but it’s really negligible compared to the over package that is KOF XIV.

Immerse yourself in the gorgeous KOF XIV soundtrack and backgrounds while you’re battling away with six other players, and all the graphic concern melts away.  You’ll soon start seeing the stylistic charm of KOF XIV intended by SNK’s artists.

As a fan of the series since KOF’94, something was perceptibly different about the way SNK approached KOF XIV.  From the international location tests, the character release trailers, the new KOF Station Channel and generally embracing 2016 social media–there was a different umph about the company as a whole.  You really get the feeling that they’ve really stepped up their game and you were on the receiving end of a 5-star company that’s just only getting started.

Curiously, SNK has never been so transparent with their fans as shown in some of their recent interviews, expressing some of the hardships of developing the KOF series, often anecdotes you don’t normally see developers revealing about their game–but I think it’s truly a testament to how confident that they developed a polished product they can be truly proud of.


tl;dr — The King of Fighters XIV lives up to the hype and then some.  SNK has really hit this one out of the park and I for one, will not be surprised when KOF XIV finally becomes the global success that it should have been along time ago. 

Updated post netcode patch: Very solid online play

97 out of 100.




Hori Real Arcade Pro v3 review

Just in time for the Christmas holiday, old faithful, my modded HRAP3, started to show signs of wear. The main issue was the USB cable was starting to tear at the point it enters the case. I’ve had this stick for about 4 years and it has been heavily used in that time frame so it’s demise was not too surprising. After looking into all of the available sticks, I decided to stick with Hori and bought a Real Arcade Pro v3.

The first thing you’ll notice upon taking the v3 out of the box is the weight. It is much lighter than the HRAP3, MadCatz TE or any other large stick on the market. In fact, it’s only slightly heavier than the MadCatz SE stick. The other point that I immediately checked out is the wiring into the case. The USB cord is reinforced and sits on the base of the stick inside the compartment that houses the cable, reducing stress at that point and eliminating the possibility of the same fault as the HRAP3.

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Eightarc PS3 Pearl Review by The Answer

With the recent release of KOF XIII, I’m sure a lot of you guys are looking for a new joystick, with so many choices to choose from today it might be tough to decide on one. To ease your hunt for the perfect fight stick, I’m reviewing the Eightarc PS3 Pearl, which is the same as the Onyx except white.

Some of you might be wondering who is Eightarc? Well Eightarc is a company based in the U.S. – more specifically, in Northern California. Their joysticks are designed by Qanba who is another company relatively new to the fighting game scene, located in Asia so you will find the Qanba logo in a few places in these sticks. With that aside, let’s get into the stick itself.
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Qanba Q4RAF triple mod joystick review Part 1

Qanba Q4RAF 3 in 1 stick

Today I take a look at the Q4 Real Arcade Fighting stick. Qanba, originating from Shenzhen China, is a new manufacturer to the Joystick scene. For their first real effort to break into the international market for fighting sticks, the Q4RAF is an amazing entry.

$149.99 for a dual modded (plus PC) stick is a bargain. In comparison, I bought my Hori HRAP3 V3 SA, which I still use today, for about $120. The Hori is only compatible with the PS3 and if you were to dual mod most sticks, it’ll cost you $50+ and if you want to do it correctly, it’ll be $100+ at the very least.

Right out of the box, the stick is aesthetically pleasing. With a slick black piano finish on top, metal plate to house four buttons and the switch to swap between PS3, and XBOX360 and dual LED lights to indicate which controller you’re sync as– the Q4 instantly oozes class and let’s you know it’s not messing around. All buttons are label with both PS3 and XBOX corresponding buttons. On the front of the stick is a carrying handle which at first may seem odd, but after using it you wonder why they never made it standard any sooner. Since the handle is on the front, the compartment to store your cord is located on the left side. The actual top panel, which can be customize to your liking, is flush with the entire top surface which reinforces a high quality of fit and finish.

The Q4 is roughly the same size as the original Mad Catz TE stick give or take a little. It weighs in around 13lbs giving it a nice sturdy feel especially compared to my lighter HRAP3. Qanba did not slack in the attention to detail department either as they added a felt bottom for players who like resting their joysticks on their lap (another one of those can’t-believe-they-didn’t-do-this-in-the-first-place features). All the buttons are Sanwa (minus the start button) and so is the stick itself. The start button is located to the right of the eight buttons and is ever so slightly elevated, enough so that you should not accidentally press it (once again, a testament to Qanba’s attention to detail).

For $149.99, the Q4RAF comes with two button caps for those who choose to disable buttons, headset for XBOX360 users and a microfiber cloth to wipe your stick.

After using the stick for more than a week of playing, including a tournament session, here are my thoughts:

+ Good weight coupled with felt bottom makes stick incredibly sturdy to play on your lap
+ Sanwa parts
+ Dual modded
+ $149.99
+ Quick disconnects to replace buttons or install button plugs makes it convenient

– Start button on top surface
– Cable on the side sometimes gets in your way
– Cable only 2.8meters

Stay tuned for my video summary wrap up, but in the meantime take a gander over some photos below.

Administrator with Dream Cancel reviews KOF XIII

Oops, we did a boo-boo. In our excitement of the release of KOF XIII, we completely forgot to post up this review written by none other than iPlaywinner’s CEO/Founder, @haunts, himself:

“In a day where matches can’t seem to be won without the use of some crazy comeback mechanic, one has to wonder what happened to all the real honest fighting games. I miss the days when you’re down to your last sliver of life, and nothing was going to save you except flawless execution and the will to win. While we’ve seen some old classics come back on XBLA/PSN, for the most part I had given up hope on ever seeing a game that didn’t have some gameplay mechanic that resulted in easy-mode comebacks.

That is, until I laid my hands on King of Fighters XIII”

Head on over to read the full review:
Real Honest Fighting Never Looked so Good as it Does in The King of Fighters XIII

PDP Marvel controller review

PDP Versus fighting pad for Xbox 360 and the NeoGeo pad for PS3

PDP, formerly Pelican, has released a Marvel themed “Versus fighting game controller.” Since the pad seems to take a lot of inspiration from the NeoGeo pads and, unlike the NeoGeo pad, is available for the Xbox 360 I thought I should review it.

Let’s get this out of the way: This pad feels pretty much on par with the NeoGeo pad. If you play on 360 and want this sort of pad, go forth and spend the $40.

The stick itself feels very similar to the NeoGeo pad but is a tiny bit more sensitive. There’s a nice click whenever the stick is moved in one of the eight directions. The clicks easily mark each directional position to the player. It only took me a few seconds to be able to cancel Kyo’s Fireball into his super with the PDP pad in 2002UM. The best part about the stick is the covering. Whereas the NeoGeo pad has a 2 part stick cover which will eventually lead to ground plastic in the stick innards, the PDP pad has a single cover which should provide excellent protection against dust and other abrasive elements.

The buttons on the PDP pad are hard to figure out. They are as sensitive as Sanwas and have a nice click when activated. These buttons feel much more crisp and precise than the spongy buttons on the NeoGeo pad. That said, the row of buttons on the PDP pad are in a straight diagonal row as opposed to the soft arc of the NeoGeo pad buttons. The PDP buttons are also much closer together than the buttons on the NeoGeo pad. I love the feel of the PDP buttons but wish they were as ergonomic as the NeoGeo pad buttons.

The NeoGeo pad is slightly heavier than the PDP pad but both feel equally solid. The slightly textured backing on the PDP pad feels really good, maybe even a bit better than the NeoGeo pad ABS plastic finish. The cord on the PDP pad is about 6 inches longer than the NeoGeo pad. The Start and Select buttons on the PDP pad are out of the way and are somewhat hard to activate so there are no worries about accidentally pressing those during a match. I’ve never really had a problem with those buttons on the NeoGeo pad but I know most players are quite concerned with the placement of these potential round enders.

In the end, the PDP pad is quite equivalent to the NeoGeo pad. I prefer the NeoGeo pad’s button layout, finish and weight. The PDP pad has nicer buttons and a stick that seems less vulnerable to problems resulting from dust. It’s about time someone has taken the NeoGeo CD/Pocket stick and attempted to improve upon the design and market it to fighting game players. The question will be the durability of the controller in the long run. Will the PDP pad end up being another flimsy piece of tech or has PDP, aka Pelican, pulled a Mad Catz and turned themselves around. Only time will tell.

NeoGeo Station impressions

SNKP released the NeoGeo Station on the Playstation Network last night. There’s been a lot of conjecture on what exactly NeoGeo Station is. It’s not an application or anything of the sort; it’s actually just the publisher’s page on the PSN. All of the games are listed on this page as they are released. The games do share a common settings file which contains user-defined options such as graphic settings. I downloaded Samurai Shodown last night and King of Fighters 94 this morning to test them out.

The emulation is great and has a lot of features that justify the $9 purchase price. Under the Screen Setting tab, players can define display mode, scanlines, smoothing and 1 of 4 wallpapers. Display mode offers the choice of normal and fit, which fits the height of the screen. On my 42″ television, normal mode was 410% and fit is about 500%. I prefer the normal view. Scanlines can be turned on or off with off as the default. The smoothing feature is very subtle and looks great on my HDTV. It’s not a drastic change, like the filter in KoFXI, but a slight reduction in the sharpness of the edges of the sprite. The 4 wallpapers are made up of 1 game specific and 3 general system wallpapers – a NeoGeo console, a G-Mantle image and the old school blue and yellow logo. Any preferences changed under Screen Settings will be applied to all titles in the NeoGeo Station series.

Under the Etc. tab, players can turn Quick start on/off and Game Save State can be set to on/off as well. Players can turn Original Bugs on or off here. Lots of people expressed concern over the original bugs being present but it seems SNKP has addressed this. The default setting for all 3 of these preferences is off. The region can be set to either ENG or JPN at this screen.

Each game can have 8 replays saved to it. A replay is not a single game but a session. I’ve saved a few online sessions that were 7 or 8 minutes long.

Finally, there is the Online Mode. This tab allows players to choose Quick Match, Search Matches, Create Matches or Check Invitations. There are no lobbies or ranked matches in these games. In the Search Matches menu, the player can choose search parameters such as Ping, Region and Player Side. Ping can be set as Any, 5 bars only or any range between 0 and 5 bars, i.e. 1-5, 2-5, etc. The region can be set as either JPN or ENG. Once the criteria are filled in and the search function is ready to start, the player can choose to play the game while the search is conducted. I’ve found that my games are more quickly connected through the quick matching service; still, the choice is nice.

There seems to be mixed reviews on the netcode. I’ve played roughly 20 matches of Samurai Shodown, some via wireless but most through a wired connection and I’ve had nothing but great connections. I spent 30 minutes getting acclimated to the game again before playing any online games. So far, I’ve had 1 instance of stutter during the knock out animation at the end of a round. For comparison, my PS3 is connected via a wired connection with forwarded ports and my connection generally runs 20 down/4 up.

In closing, I find myself extremely excited about the NeoGeo Station. The NeoGeo is one of my favorite all-time game libraries and I look forward to the release of the classics – SamSho II, IV; KoF 98, 2002; Real Bout Fatal Fury 2; Garou; and others. In the press release announcing NGS, SNKP promised to release some games that have never been available outside of Japan before, so here’s hoping for SamSho V Special.

NeoGeo Pad USB review

I ordered a couple of the NeoGeo Pads expecting them to be exact replicas of the NeoGeo 2 Pad for PS2. I received the controllers today and found this assumption to be false.

The box is a mat black coated cardboard and is branded with the NeoGeo 20th Anniversary logo, clearly tying in with the NeoGeo Station being released next week on the PlayStation Network. The back of the box indicates that the button configuration can be changed to the classic, straight button layout instead of the standard PlayStation layout.

The stick is tighter and requires a slightly heavier touch to activate the directional switch. This gives the stick a more solid feel but I found it made hopping and hyper hopping harder to perform. The upside is that this likely means the stick will wear better in the long run. The stick feels as precise as any of the NeoGeo CD pads I’ve used and that’s a good thing.

The controller body has a slightly satin finish and is textured allowing a good grip on the controller. The buttons also have a slight texture to them which is an improvement over the slicker feeling finish on the PS2 pads. The buttons require less pressure to activate than the PS2 version. I find that to feel much better for faster moving games in the NeoGeo library. The cord is much thicker than the USB cord on the NeoGeo 2 USB stick (Version 1). The select and start buttons are identical to those on the PS2 pad. The home button is countersunk with the top of the controller and is rather hard to press. This is very convenient for tournament play but is not so good for casual play at home. I had to use the edge of my fingernail to activate the home button. As expected, this pad does not work with PS2 games on backwards compatible PS3 systems. The pad works perfectly with Windows.

If you prefer pad or are nostalgic for the NeoGeo CD controller, this pad is a great option. It’s precise, solid and works very well for fighters.