I'm a long time KoF fan, and after I played this in the arcade and felt how much better than KOF XII this was, I just had to preorder it, and after 6 hours of playtime today, I'm totally hooked. This game REALLY did keep its promise by going back to the CORE of KoF, and bring back the classic gameplay that KoF fans like me fell in love with to begin with. The game includes a tutorial to teach you the basics and how-to of the game, so you won't be scratching your head on how to do all the super-cool, extremely damaging combos or moves.
There isn't much to say here, because gameplay for me is flawless. This is definitely the selling factor for KoF games (except for XII) for me, I've really liked the different feel these games had to their much more popular rival, Street Fighter. KOF XIII definitely delivered, with silky smooth controls with no tackiness to them whatsoever. I really like the new EX-moves, Cancel system, and the new deadly NeoMax Desperation moves. The flow of the gameplay is quick and swift, no sluggishness anywhere at all. **5/5**
For the game modes, you have the typical Arcade Mode, which plays you through the game exactly as if you came into the arcade and hit up the machine for a round of play. No story is involved other than your participation in the King of Fighters tournament, and you can make any team you want, consisting of 3 members of not the same "Team" Very good if you're looking just to get straight to the action, no questions. Its not many rounds, and I wish it'd be a little longer, however being 3 vs 3, the battles can be quite long, so there's nothing to complain about there. Next you have Story Mode. In this mode, you select a team that has a set (not changeable) 3 members, and you play through the story of who is hosting the new KoF tournament, and what is the evil that is unfolding behind the scenes as usual. The story is significantly longer than the Arcade, especially if you choose to watch the cutscenes, which honestly I just had to, because I adored the art style implemented in them. The boss suffers somewhat from the usual "SNK Boss Syndrome", but don't worry, it's not even near being another Goenitz ('96) or Igniz ('01) ;) Then you've got the Online mode. While I never play online, I decided to do about 10 games online for the sake of the review, and the gameplay remains unaffected for me (my PS3 is connected via Ethernet, mind you.) I felt no lag at all, it was as if the person playing against me was right next to me with their controller. You've also got a practice mode as well as a Versus Overall, I'm happy with it **4.5/5**
Gorgeous, that's the word I'd use to describe it. I truly appreciate the fact that the game has been completely hand drawn, and it shows. The sprites of the characters are very pretty, as well as their animations for their special moves and their supers. The backgrounds are beautiful, some even more impressive than others. I was getting mauled sometimes in the game because I had been staring and distracted by the attractive backgrounds. Being hand drawn, don't expect it to be computerized-perfect, because that is, in essence, the beauty of hand drawing. Overall **5/5**
Here KOF has never, ever failed to deliver. Each and every game has a fantastic soundtrack accompanying it, and KOF XIII does not disappoint a single bit. The music for each stage fits perfectly to what you're seeing, or (in the story especially) what is going on in the particular battle you're about to undertake. Sounds for the characters is excellent. I like how there are several different "tone" of voices for the same move for almost every, if not every character. I can't tell you how much it annoys and irritates me to hear the same sound bit over and over again, so by doing this it doesn't let it get as irritating, in my opinion. For those of you (like me) that preordered, you get "The King of Soundtracks" pack, with 4CDs, spanning across ALL KOF games. ('94, '95, '96, '97, '98, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, XI, XII, and XIII) Except for XIII, you are not given the ENTIRE soundtrack or the arranged soundtrack, but rather the most notable tracks from each game. (Boss themes, particular stages) Can't really complain, and the packet it comes in is very nice. Overall **5/5**
KOF XIII has a roster of 30 characters, which you may find using google. The characters ALL have several different preset costumes to choose from, as well as the ability to customize and create your own color set. NOT that big of a deal for me, but I think there are others that will find this very pleasing. I was very pleased with the return of Yuri Sakazaki (she's my favorite SNK character), Billy Kane, and Kula Diamond. Overall the roster is quite solid, and I believe that most KOF fans will find no disappointment. I do wish that Vanessa had been brought back, as well as good old Rugal Bernstein (understandable that he's gone, due to his multiple "deaths" in the series), but it really is not that big of a deal, I'm very satisfied with the roster, and overall I give it a **4/5**
The game has exceeded my expectations as a picky, die-hard KoF fan, and I have almost zero things to whine about, and those that I do are mostly opinion-based. I say that if you're looking for a great, fun fighting game to pick up, and you've never tried a KoF game before, BUY THIS, you will not be disappointed. I may update my review after I rack in more hours. Hope this review was helpful!
EDIT: If you would like to talk to me or play the game with me, go ahead and add my PSN: Kuban_Kevin