Published on January 11th, 2022 | by Abdul Saad
The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate Match Final Edition PC Review
Summary: With the impressive roster, intricate fighting mechanics, nostalgic visuals, and now competent online modes, The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition is an excellent game that can be enjoyed by both modern and retro fighting game fans.
The King Returns
In my reviews, I’ve mentioned multiple times that I’m a massive fighting game fan, especially in recent years where my addiction to the genre became more crippling. One series that I’ve slowly become more accustomed to is SNK’s King of Fighter series, which has some of the best games in said genre. One of its oldest titles, The King of Fighters ’98, is also renowned as one of the best games in the series, featuring a lot more content than most fighting games and having a surprisingly active and friendly community. So it’s no surprise that the title is still being supported even to this day as the latest version, The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition, not only features all added DLCs since the game’s original launch, but it also includes more characters, new stages, movie sets, and most importantly, adds rollback netcode, and online lobbies.
New players are welcomed to the Final Edition’s whopping 64-player roster, each of whom looks vastly different from their modern versions. They’ll be able to use these characters to play through various modes, including the standard Arcade mode, the ruthless Endless mode, and the rage-inducing Neo Geo mode. The last of which challenges players with the tried and true arcade game level difficulty but with a twist: after every defeat, an on-screen pachinko rolls prompting a random buff from the ability to use more super attacks to your opponent having one-third of their health bar. These buffs entice the player to keep trying, and if playing in an arcade, to continue spending money.
Similar to the Guilty Gear series, players also have a selection of fighting styles/ systems to choose from before a fight begins. These include the Advanced, Extra, and Ultimate systems. The Advanced style provides players more mobility by allowing them to efficiently perform dodge rolls, dashes and use MAX Super Special Moves. Extra enables players to charge the power gauge by holding the attack buttons, as well as perform dodge attacks and short hops. And lastly, Ultimate Mode lets players mix and match the two previous systems to create their own unique fighting style. Learning and performing combos is by far my favorite aspect of the game. And thanks to the game’s ingrained retro aesthetic, watching the animations execute fluidly and completing quick counters and finishers is always highly satisfying and visually mystifying.
Despite this, the KOF 98’s main attraction to this day will admittedly still be the rollback netcode, and I’m glad to report that it actually works. Joining or creating a lobby to find players to play against or spectate ongoing matches was incredibly effortless, and the matches themselves were smooth besides the odd disconnection here and there. Additionally, those looking to showcase their skills to the world can also participate in incredibly difficult ranked matches. However, if you plan on getting the game solely for the online multiplayer, be aware that the player base is still far from what you’d expect from most recent fighting games, so I’d personally advise waiting for the upcoming KOF XV in that regard. Besides that, I found no technical issues as the game thankfully ran smoothly on my RTX GPU at 60 fps.
Overall, SNK and Code Mystics have done an excellent job of revitalizing KOF 98 for fans and newcomers by adding even more content and improving old ones. With the impressive roster, intricate fighting mechanics, nostalgic visuals, and now competent online modes, The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition is an excellent game that can be enjoyed by both modern and retro fighting game fans.