King of Fighters 14: Everything You Need to Know

Do you like fighting games with tons of characters, really flashy combos and a playable dinosaur? If so, King of Fighters 14 is probably for you. The latest installment in SNK’s legendary fighting game franchise, King of Fighters 14 revitalizes the series with a fresh crop of characters, intricate fighting mechanics and a gorgeous 2.5D art style. If you’re eager to jump into battle, here’s everything you need to know about KOF 14 before it launches exclusively on PS4 on August 23.

What’s King of Fighters all about? How is it different from other fighting games?

Originally debuting back in 1994, King of Fighters is a 2D fighting game series known for its huge roster of distinctive characters and team-based battles. It’s essentially an all-star battle of SNK fighters, mixing together characters from such franchises as Fatal Fury and Ikari Warriors as well as a whole bunch of KOF-specific brawlers.

KOF’s core gameplay will feel familiar to Street Fighter fans, though the series is known for being more technical than its Capcom competitor. Unlike many 2D fighting games, King of Fighters has you head into battle with a team of three — once your first character is defeated, your next one jumps in, with battles continuing until one team is completely downed. Because of this, building a well-rounded team (and choosing which order they fight in) is a big part of succeeding In KOF.

King of Fighters 14 will introduce some new mechanics to make it easier for new players, including the ability to perform simple combos by repeatedly pressing the Square button. It also marks the debut of Super Special Moves, which look as flashy as they do damaging.

What’s the King of Fighters 14 roster?

King of Fighters 14 features a massive 50-character roster, which is made up of 31 returning fighters and 19 brand-new brawlers. Series staples such as Kyo Kusanagi, Terry Bogard and Iori Yagami are back; they'll duke it out with newcomers such as boxer Nelson, the high-kicking Luong and the headphone-touting Shun’ei. You’ll even get to fight as a friggin’ dinosaur.

The game’s full roster is as follows, via Shoryuken:

  • China Team: Shun’ei, Tung Fu Rue, Meitenkun
  • Japan Team: Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikaido, Goro Daimon
  • Official Invitation Team: Sylvie, Kukri, Mian
  • South America Team: Nelson, Zarina, Bandeiras
  • Yagami Team: Iori Yagami, Vice, Mature
  • Kim Team: Kim Kaphwan, Gang-Il, Luong
  • Mexico Team: Ramon, Angel, King of Dinosaurs
  • Another World Team: Nakoruru, Mui Mui, Love Heart
  • Villains Team: Xanadu, Chang Koehan, Choi Bounge
  • K’ Team: K’, Kula Diamond, Maxima
  • Ikari Team:  Ralph Jones, Clark Still, Leona Heidern
  • South Town Team: Geese Howard, Billy Kane, Hein
  • Fatal Fury Team: Terry Bogard, Joe higasi, Andy Bogard
  • Women Fighters Team: King, Mai Shiranui, Alice
  • Psycho Soldier Team: Athena Asamiya, Sie Kensou, Chin Gentsai
  • Art of Fighting Team: Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Yuri Sakazaki

What game modes are there?

King of Fighters 14 will offer a ton of stuff to do aside from simply beating on your friends or the CPU in quick fights. There’s a full-on story mode, a mission mode that has you complete time trials and other specific challenges and an in-depth training mode that even lets you practice with a friend online. You’ll be able to unlock plenty of cool illustrations and concept art the more you fight.

SNK is promising a robust online experience for King of Fighters 14, which will offer an improved netcode over the previous game. You’ll be able to spectate battles and watch friends’ replays; for the first time in series history, you'll get to engage in 3-on-3 online team battles with up to five buddies.

MORE: PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which Console Is Right for You?

Is King of Fighters 14 Coming to PC?

As of now, King of Fighters 14 is a PS4 exclusive. However, tons of previous KOF games have been ported to Steam in the past (including King of Fighters 13), so you might want to follow publisher Atlus on Twitter for any possible updates after the game’s PS4 launch.

Are there any pre-order bonuses or fancy collector’s editions?

Atlus is offering a special “Day One” edition of King of Fighters 14, which features a fancy steelbook case with series star Kyo on the cover. It won’t cost any extra, but supplies will probably run out quick for those that don’t pre-order. Also, Kyo’s classic costume will be available as a free download during the first week of the game’s launch.

Should I play King of Fighters 14?

We’ll have to play it for ourselves to determine that, but King of Fighters 14 is shaping up to be one of the strongest installments in series history. The game’s robust roster and intricate fighting mechanics should please longtime KOF fans, while its tutorial mode and newcomer-friendly features could pull new players into this normally-intimidating series.

If you felt burned by Street Fighter V’s overall lack of content, KOF 14’s generous helping of game modes and fighters should help fill that void. It also doesn’t hurt that the game looks gorgeous. We look forward to spending tons of time with this highly anticipated fighter when it launches in August, so stay tuned for more coverage.  

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Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.