King of Fighters 2002 PC port: The king is broken
The King of Fighters 2002 is a reportedly great entry into the venerable series of the same name. This PC port on the other hand is not. In fact, for those who frequent my work might remember my original post that I didn't enjoy the game that much. Well, returning to it three years later my opinion hasn't changed at all. I hope that this time I will be able to express my opinion in a better fashion.
The broken and the stuck:
As the game has very little in terms of content, I will be skipping a lot of my normal sections as they do not apply here. There is no story to speak of what so ever. The dialogue is entirely in Japanese (no subtitles) so I cannot talk about the writing on that front. The problems I have with King of Fighters come from its PC port and not the game itself per se.
King of Fighters is not a bad game. If it were not for the port I wouldn't find anything wrong with this game. The fighting (when it works) feels satisfying and the roster is impressively large. There are no performance problems such as glitches, bugs, and frame rate drops. The interactions between characters are supposed to be good (cannot say for sure) and the backgrounds are beautiful and well animated. The problems with this port come with the unresponsive controls. The inability to remap said controls and the misleading information as to where the controls are the main problems with King of Fighters.
What is wrong
As said previously, there is no way to remap the keys; there is no option to use a controller either. You might figure out that this is not acceptable, even more so in the fighting community where everyone has a different approach to combat. Forcing the player to play a single way and a single way only will put off most players and annoy the rest. It might not have been so bad if the controls only responded half the time. It turns what is an otherwise good fighting game into an annoying period of abusing the keyboard. I think most people would agree that a fighting game, a genre that lives and dies on twitch reflexes and memorizing complex combos doesn't work with an unresponsive control scheme.
The control options menu is misleading. Please look at the screenshot to see what it shows you in-game. You will notice the use of Q and W as the top keys. However, that is not the case the real keys are A and S. This port cannot even map the keys correctly, like some rush job. Considering the state of SNK at the time (bankruptcy and restructuring between 2001 and 2003). That might be the case.
If you were trying to squeeze as much money as possible you would crank out any sort of rubbish. However, I am looking into the final product being sold. Even if there are excuses or explanations I cannot brush aside the simple fact that King of Fighters is unpleasant to play. When the controls work there is a promising title buried deep within the frustration of unyielding controls and unresponsive commands.
Don't get this version of King of Fighters. I would recommend Unlimited Match on Steam as it is a complete workable product. I got this version for free and I wouldn't even spend the five dollars on it. Avoid this port like a TV with [Insert news station you hate here] playing in the background.