The King of Fighters 2002

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match – Review

The definitive version of the best-known fighting game in our region is now available on PS4.
The definitive version of the best-known fighting game in our region is now available on PS4.

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match is a remake of The King of Fighters 2002 :  Challenge to Ultimate Battle , which debuted on the Neo Geo MVS arcade board. The original KOF 2002 was not developed by SNK, but by the now defunct Korean company called Eolith. This game belongs to a series of ‘remakes’ that SNK Playmore – as the developer was called until 2016 – was releasing for PlaySation 2. These games are The King of Fighters 94 Re-Bout (2004), The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match (2008) and The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match .

Since its launch in February 2009, in commemoration of the franchise’s 15th anniversary, KOF 2002 UM has been well received by the community. Proof of this was the inclusion of the game in the magazine Arcadia Tougeki – Super Battle Opera 2010 tournament . During this competition – which Oz won – a version of KOF 2002 UM with balance adjustments and bug fixes was used. This version was released on June 24, 2010 for PlayStation 2 under the name The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match Tougeki Ver.

A dream battle

All the final bosses from the first two KOF story arcs are present in 2002 UM.
All the final bosses from the first two KOF story arcs are present in 2002 UM.

Like KOF 98 UM , The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match brings together all the characters from past story arcs in KOF history For this reason this game, like its original version, does not have a canonical story. In this title we can see characters that have died in installments prior to KOF 2002. Thanks to this, KOF 2002 UM has a total of 66 players available to select from. Among these characters we highlight the inclusion of alternate versions of Robert Garcia, Sie Kensou, Takuma, Geese and all the members of the «New Face Team». To access these variants, players must press the “options” button on the character.

The gameplay is what makes The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match great . It should be noted that this is the last game in the franchise to not have any type of difficulty reduction in the execution of the movements, to “expand the audience of the game.” For this reason, players should be aware that the KOF 2002 UM learning curve is slow, difficult, but highly satisfying. Each character, despite the peculiarities and differences in their movements, has the same tools. Among these we highlight the four types of jump, the special high damage movements (DM, SDM and HSDM), movements with ‘counter wire’ properties and the ‘Max Mode’.

The ‘Max Mode’ is activated by pressing ‘B’ (weak kick) + ‘C’ (strong punch) at the same time. There are two ways to activate the ‘Max Mode’. The first is by spending a point on the specials bar in a neutral position. The other is canceling a normal hit, to continue the combo and optimize the damage. Mastering this cancellation is essential, to get the most out of each of the characters in the title.

The ‘Rollback’ is the real star of KOF 2002 UM

The highlight of the PlayStation 4 version of The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match is the online play. This thanks to the ‘netcode’ known as ‘rollback’ implemented by Code Mystics, which allows a more stable connection between players. In this way, the experience of playing with people from other countries – especially some from our region – is more satisfactory. This is evident in the little wait we have to endure when looking for a rival and in the communities that have emerged since the launch of the ‘rollback’ for the Steam version of this same title. Without a doubt, for a fan of fighting games this is the most important thing.

As for the art of the game, SNK commissioned illustrator Hiroaki Hashimoto to do all the game’s victory images and promotional arts for the game. This illustrator is well known to fans of fighting games, as Hiroaki has also participated in such games as Soul Calibur VI , Buriki One, and Street Fighter IV . The scenarios, which in this version are based on the arcade, are not in 3D as in PlayStation 2. However, they are full of details and have multiple cameos of characters from other franchises of the Osaka developer.

If the illustrations in KOF 2002 UM ooze quality, the music is not far behind. For this game SNK made the soundtrack from scratch, by Yasufumi Fukuda ( Monster Hunter ), Makoto Asai ( Lunar: Silver star Story ), Teruo Konishi ( Mega Man X 1-8: The Collection ) and Two-Five. Some of the most representative melodies of this game are ‘ Mutually Exclusive Dichotomy ‘, the main theme of Nameless and ‘ Butterfly Emerges from Chrysalis ‘, the main theme of the “New Face Team.”

WHAT WE LIKED

– 66 selectable characters.
– The best of classic KOF gameplay .
– ‘Rollback.’
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

– The original version of KOF 2002 is not available.
– It does not have the option to view games.
– Extra content is required as seen in Samurai Shodown: NeoGeo Collection.
IN SUMMARY

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match is a great fighting game. This is reflected in its extensive catalog of characters, how polished its illustrations are, the excellent combat system and the musical arrangements. Additionally, with the inclusion of ‘rollback’, the game community is more active than ever. However, not having the original version – as if it has KOF 98 UM – added to the lack of extra content, which we have seen in previous SNK releases by Code Mystics, leave us a bad feeling. Fortunately, the price of the game is low. So there is no longer an excuse not to enter the competition and relive the old days in the arcade rooms.

Brent Dubin
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming World you are looking for.