If you ask a fan of The King of Fighters what their favorite game in the series is, the vast majority will answer The King of Fighters ’98. However, if you ask them what the best game in the series is, the almost unanimous answer is The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match. The game came out in Japan in 2009 on PS2, and was then ported to PC and Xbox 360. It was a remake (and later remastered) of SNK’s penultimate Neo Geo game with a ridiculous selection of fighters and a solid online multiplayer experience.
SNK’s decision to remake this game on PS4 with Code Mystics is a pleasant surprise, even though KOF XV won’t be released until later this year. An even more fun and productive version of the best King of Fighters game ever made? Give it a try! Let’s take a look at this bad boy.
Before Cloud, before Sephiroth, before every other Japanese Edgelord video game, there was Iori.
If you’ve never played a King of Fighters game, I can tell you at most that they are much less suitable for beginners, but just as (if not more) rewarding than their rivals from Capcom’s Street Fighter series. The controls are slightly more complicated (an arcade stick isn’t necessary, but it improves the overall experience), the difficulty is more relentless, and there’s more emphasis on three-on-three combat. It’s just as good as its main rivals, even if it doesn’t have the same glamour or name recognition. King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match is the culmination of the classic KOF formula.
“Dude, for the last time, I’m not a Street Fighter guy!”
This PS4 remaster features a monstrous array of sixty-six fighters, two types of local arcade modes (tag and solo), as well as an endless survival mode, a regular training mode and a wide range of challenges. Since this is primarily a multiplayer game, I was surprised at how much fun you can have solo, how huge the number of playable characters and different game modes are. That would be enough to recommend this game to all fighting fans.
But I can’t ignore the quality of the online multiplayer. The reason why the Xbox 360 version of 2002’s The King of Fighters: Unlimited Match resonated so well with fans is the fantastic netcode. The same can be said here. Random and ranked matches are available, and while there aren’t many players at the moment, I’m sure the KOF community will flock to the lobby of The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match even after the release of KOF XV, a polygonal and more beginner-friendly game.
What I love about the Neo Geo games is that they have managed to age beautifully both graphically and sound-wise, even though they are all based on a game board originally released in 1990. The capabilities of the sprite system, as well as the sound chip, were very advanced at the time. Thanks to a few extra settings in Code Mystics, The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match is amazing for its age. The animation is sharp, and the frame rate never dares go below 60.
The goose is not like the PO here, it is like the Fatal Fury games. Thank God for that.
All in all, there’s not much more to say. King of Fighters: Unlimited Match from 2002 has always been considered the best game in the franchise, and this brand new PS4 port is the best version yet. If you’re a fan of the series, or a fan of fighting games in general, you have to have this one. It will definitely keep you busy until the release of KOF XV later this year. Don’t forget to buy the arcade stick as well. This is the kind of game that deserves this investment.
|The good thing about Neo Geo goblins is that they have aged like good wine. The remastered look is pretty good by 2021 standards.||Plays like a dream, but clearly better with the right combat stick to perform more accurate special attacks.|
|A pretty good soundtrack and lots of pre-recorded voice clips. This is exactly what you need in an arcade fighting game like this.||Between the ridiculous list size, great controls, updated graphics, non-existent load times and clean netcode, there’s a lot to love in the PS4 version of The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match.|
|Final Verdict: 9.0|
King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match is available now for PS2, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC.
Reviewed on PS4.
A copy of King of Fighters: Unlimited Match 2002 was provided by the publisher.
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Frequently asked questions
Who is the best king of fighters?
According to Metacritic, each Slayer Games King was evaluated as follows.
Can you play King of Fighters 2002 online?
The King of Fighters 2002 is a retro online game, which can be played for free here on playretrogames.com. It has tags: action, fight, and was added on February 02, 2015.
Which game in the KoF has the most characters?
There are a total of 66 characters in the game, making it the largest in the series. The game features 44 characters from The King of Fighters 2002 series, 16 characters from the NESTS series, including King and Shingo, and 6 hidden characters, including additional characters from earlier versions of the console, except for Orochi Iori.
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