Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 45
  2. Negative: 3 out of 45
  1. 74
    Though it does suffer from its own share of balancing issues, chain favoritism, and a welcoming for button mashing newbies, it really grew on me with its high-speed action strong accessibility.
  2. It's unlikely that anyone other than King of Fighters fans will find much interest in Maximum Impact, but even they will be disappointed by certain key aspects of the game.
  3. The AI may be a little suspect, and the animation a little stiff when compared to similar fighters, but KOF: Maximum Impact is a major step forward for the franchise.
  4. Plagued by rampant balance issues, miserable AI, and more focus on attacking prone, defenseless opponents than I've ever seen, Maximum impact makes a lot of rookie mistakes. [Nov 2004, p.158]
  5. 50
    On its own merits, though, it's simple, fun, and fast, and this would be enough... if it existed in a void.
  6. Mastering each character will take some time, but that just adds to the game's replay value. Nothing can be more satisfying than beating the socks off of a friend so I strongly suggest picking up this one.
  7. The game tries to get by riding the coattails of its 10 year legacy, but it doesn’t offer enough to compete with the likes of "Soul Calibur 2" or "Virtua Fighter" and has lost any edge it might have had over 2D games like "Guilty Gear."
  8. Initially fun, but it wears out its welcome pretty quickly.
  9. 40
    Maximum Impact isn't a failure, per se, but it was an ill-advised move that SNK will hopefully learn a lesson from. It's better to be king of a flat empire than become a polygonal pauper.
  10. A good first attempt at bringing The King of Fighters franchise into the realm of modern 3D fighters, but it does not quite go far enough. At the same time I fear the changes will alienate some of the core KOF fans.
  11. Not broken, just woefully mediocre... No doubt someone will like it… we just don’t know who. [March 2005, p.102]
  12. The story mode is lame with no real endings and the challenge mode will probably only appeal to huge fans of the KOF franchise. There's also training, character profiles and a versus mode and that's just about it folks.
  13. The action is intense and the combat remains fun, but the game just doesn't feel as crisp as what I'd expect from KOF. [Nov 2004, p.71]
  14. I highly recommend a joystick, though - one thing that hasn't changed is that super moves are tough on a controller, especially the PS2's fragmented D-pad. [Dec 2004, p.160]
  15. It’s not a bad game per se, but it’s just got a lot of nagging issues that make it almost a chore to play.
  16. There’s a minimal amount of modes, the fighting is too similar to just about every other fighting game on the market, and it doesn’t even look all that nice.
  17. It's still as fun a fighter as the previous iterations of the series have been, but with weak graphics and bland new fighters, there's definitely room for improvement.
  18. So many games have done 3D fighting better that SNK might have been better off making this a 2D game.
  19. There are not any major faults, but there are not any really good ideas, either. [Aug. 05]
  20. But if there is something to be salvaged in the personality department, amidst the corpses of loveable gesticulations from the old guard and anything at all outstanding from the new - it's kitsch.
  21. Some will find it frustrating, others irrelevant, while a small number of people will no doubt relish it for the very flaws we pointed out.
  22. In this day of deformable environments, realistic injuries and true physics, it's just a light, fun experience, and a perfectly acceptable beginning to the new KOF franchise. I can only hope that next time around they try to accomplish something truly new, rather than just new to them.
  23. Novices can string combinations together within moments of picking up the controller, regardless of their familiarity with the series, but there's not much depth for fighting fans to plumb. [Dec 2004, p.118]
  24. A nice selection of familiar characters. [Dec 2004, p.88]
  25. It’s too fast with not enough panache behind it to make it worthy of your time, compared to the now cheap "Soul Calibur 2." It has nothing that you cannot find elsewhere, and done better.
  26. A decent fighter, but it doesn’t really compare to the other 3D fighters that are out now. It looks real good, but it seems most of the effort was put in to the 3D conversion. This left other areas of the game to suffer.
  27. The problem is, with all the advancements that have gone into 3D fighting games like insanely deep combo trees or ultra-balanced, technique-driven combatants, not to mention multi-tiered environments triggered on the fly or interactive elements, there's nothing here that's terribly compelling, and certainly nothing that would give you reason to play this game over the 2D versions.
  28. Mostly resembles a "Dead or Alive" version for the poor.
  29. Controls like its SNK 2D predecessors but lacks meaningful gameplay modes (besides standard one’s) or stellar graphics that would make anyone but hardcore SNK fanboys (and girls!) take notice of its arrival.
  30. Despite some serious sound issues and cheap AI, the game is still a winner because of its cool modes, blazing gameplay, and unique cast of characters.
  31. 58
    The game's so soundly mediocre I really don't have one thing to complain about.
  32. When it comes down to it, King of Fighters: Maximum Impact isn’t a particularly memorable fighting game on its own merits.
  33. Maximum Impact is trapped in a weird place. It got most of its soul from the series' 2D legacy, but elements of the latest in 3D fighters have been sprinkled liberally on it. [Dec 2004, p.133]
  34. Maximum Impact isn’t a game I would recommend to anyone other than you hardcore KOF fans. There are much better fighting games out there with a lot more to offer for you others.
  35. A mediocre fighting game at best. It offers up nothing new, and really will only be pleasing to people who are already fans of the KoF series.
  36. 60
    Whilst not suited to tournament play in the slightest, there’s plenty of scope for having fun juggling opponents and letting rip with massive combos. Let's hope The King of Fighters: Neowave will take up the tournament reins sometime soon.
  37. I was hoping for a lot more from it.
  38. Something that will prove infuriating regardless is the utter unfairness of the game’s final boss, a confrontation that only serves to highlight the game’s major problems.
  39. 68
    Remove the decade old plot progression, fix up the difficulty, balance out the characters and you would really have a contender on your hands.
  40. It may not be the best KOF game around, but its the most technically efficient and offers a decent fighting game for those who want the latest graphics and technology in your fighting games.
  41. It's got all the bad hair and pretty boys, but none of the fighting soul.
  42. 85
    While it is still a decent game, it is by no means one of the better games within the series. It comes up short in a few places and overall doesn't capture the same level of fun that other games have had.
  43. The addition of an extra dimension makes King of Fighters: Maximum Impact something different from the yearly remakes of the game. SNK zealots will dig this game and fighting fans looking for a 3D alternative from "Capcom vs. SNK 2" will also enjoy this game.
  44. Maximum Impact is a really poor showing for an anniversary game in the series. Visually the game is poor and the implementation of the third dimension doesn’t add that much to the fighting mechanic. [May 2005, p.74]
  45. The only impact this game makes on an already saturated market is decidedly minimum. It'll take a whole load of nudges to turn this spin of the wheel into a winner.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. VictorV.
    Jan 13, 2005
    I think its the best of all king of fighters games.
  2. ZakariaL.
    Nov 14, 2004
    This game sucks. look i love kof but this one suck for real so please do not every buy it ok. just buy kof 2002/2003 those are the best.
  3. JerradH.
    Oct 29, 2004
    I fail to understand why people are knocking this game's graphics. I definitely think its one of the game's high points and the I fail to understand why people are knocking this game's graphics. I definitely think its one of the game's high points and the graphics are really spot on in every respect. Considerably better than I thought they would do since its their first 3D attempt in 5 years. The gameplay is also really nice, though it does lack a bit of polish. That's also better than I thought it would be. Now, as for the sound and story, you can blame SNKNEOGEOUSA for the poor quality of this. The original game had the original japanese voice actors, which sound a million times better than the ametuerish, innappropriate sounding crapola that they added. This is, of course, not their fault because SCEA forced them to add this. However, it is entirely their fault for not leaving the japanese voices as an option, which would've made everyone happy. They also cut out quite a few of the story bits, and as a result, what's left looks botched, confusing, and bad. With any luck, we'll get the newly announced X-Box version here along with Europe, and these problems will be remedied. Full Review »