Mixed or average reviews - based on 57 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 57
  2. Negative: 5 out of 57
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  1. King of Fighters XII is a balanced, beautiful game to witness and a fun start for the franchise's next generation, but it absolutely is a case of unfulfilled potential, especially considering it's supposed to be "the year of the fighter."
  2. The core game is spectacular, even if the presentation framing it is awful, and it's got the potential to be well worth the money. So should you buy it? That depends on what's most important to you, but I'm going to say you most certainly should.
  3. There is a definite lack of content, which leaves the game feeling like a $60 downloadable title. Still, this is King of Fighters, the fun incarnate. The way it works out, the game is a good pickup for fighting game fans.
  4. A great series addition for fans and newcomers. [Sept 2009, p.79]
  5. All in all, SNK PLAYMORE has more than fulfilled expectations of what would be expected from this series.
  6. Though the game is lacking from a strictly consumer perspective, there's lots of value is in the fighting itself.
  7. Games Master UK
    A superb fighter, but it's too easy and there just isn't enough to do to recommend this. [Oct 2009, p.71]
  8. Sadly, while King of Fighters XII shows shades of brilliance now and then the game manages drops the ball a few times too many.
  9. The arcade mode gets a bite boring after a while and the game generally offers few gameplay options. The online mode is nothing more than a small addition.
  10. If you like online play, King of Fighters does it extremely well. However, with only one single-player offline mode, this title feels a little empty overall.
  11. While the game is a bit thin on play modes and the online battles are a complete write-off at the moment, the fundamental gameplay is still fun and true to the series.
  12. King of Fighters XII looks good, has great sounds and plays really good, but isn’t a top game. The arcade mode is entertaining, but a little to short. The rest of the modes are boring or missing. In the end we can say that King of Fighters XII is only interesting for the few hardcore players who aren’t satisfied with Street Fighter IV.
  13. 70
    Most gamers may not want to pay full retail price for only a handful of light features, despite how pretty the game is, but if you love your fighters old-school and 2D, The King of Fighters XII is probably worth checking out.
  14. In the end, the sparse content maims Kof XII. Next time around there better be more stages, characters, modes – more everything. You can’t just rip the five-minute-per-play arcade code straight to consoles and expect people to invest the full $60 over a few coins.
  15. 70
    King of Fighters XII is still a beautiful looking game, that will easily keep fighting fans satiated if only for some couch fisticuffs, but those looking for King of Fighters XII to be the best KOF yet are going to be disappointed.
  16. Right now, there’s way too little here to recommend a full-price purchase to anyone. Die-hards should only buy it when it hits the $20-30 range, and everyone else will likely be satiated by a rental. What’s here is done quite well, but there just isn’t enough of it.
  17. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Yes, it feels disappointing when compared directly to "Street Fighter IV," but the fighting feels fresh and exciting, while the new characters will please fans of the arcade original. [Issue#49, p.86]
  18. KOF XII isn’t a unanimous game, and it isn’t really the reborn of the series that most devoted fans would expect. Although amputated, it's beautiful to see and plays well.
  19. The biggest problem with The King of Fighters XII is that it feels unfinished. The combat is fun and robust but not particularly innovative.
  20. 70
    King of Fighters XII proposes to be a new start for the series, and it manages to do it half and half. The graphical change is positive, but it stalls midway, and the price to pay has been losing characters, scenarios and music.
  21. 68
    King of Fighters XII is not a bad game; it just came out at a bad time. The re-birth of the franchise really feels like ten steps backwards, and it wouldn't be so bad if the competition wasn't so stiff right now.
  22. King of Fighters XII would be a great game had it been made a few years back. Unfortunately, sleek and very well-drawn characters are not enough to make up for a 2D fighting game nowadays. Yet if you like this kind of gameplay, you’ll most definitely appreciate the huge list of attacks and combos, and the rich backgrounds.
  23. Problem is, the aesthetics are disconcerting. [Aug 2009, p.76]
  24. King of Fighters XII is just not ambitious enough of a project. If this were a highly successful series with millions of sales, maybe SNK could get away with this middling revival of classic action.
  25. King of Fighters XII attempts a new fresh start for the series, but beyond the new character sprites, not too much else has changed.
  26. So when it’s all said and done, The King of Fighters XII isn’t going to be placed on a mantle above all other fighting games. It lacks proper net code and not everyone is going to enjoy the pixilated graphics.
  27. With a little extra love in the practice mode, some online love and character development, KoFXII could have been a charming fighter for old and new fans alike.
  28. I love the animation and look of the game and some the technical fighting aspects, but there's not much else.
  29. At the price point of $60, The King of Fighters XII is a hard sell to anyone outside of the fanbase. Renting or borrowing is the best entry point for the series as a blind purchase may lead to one angry gamer.
  30. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Get Street Fighter IV first. If you love that but want a change, get this. Cheap. [Oct 2009, p.91]
  31. KOF XII is a bad attempt to bring a fan favourite onto next-gen consoles.
  32. 60
    King of Fighters XII is fun to play when you're fighting a buddy locally, but everything else about the game is seriously lacking.
  33. The fighting at the center of King of Fighters XII is totally fine, but with everything surrounding that action coming off so half-cocked, there are a lot of annoying little barriers to enjoying that fighting.
  34. KoF XII is a bold step in animating 2D fighters but completely average everywhere else.
  35. As it stands, it's just another fighter that tries – and fails – to knock Street Fighter IV off its mighty throne.
  36. Whilst this game seems an improvement on the PS3 version it is still unplayable online, which is disappointing really.
  37. KOFXII's biggest problem is that the fighting game bar has been raised considerably in the last 12 months, with the release of Street Fighter IV in particular showing how reboots should be done.
  38. Die-hard fighting game fans only need apply.
  39. It contains a very competent and entertaining fighting mechanic and appealing graphics. But the content is extremely limited with only 20 characters, no career mode, few alternative game modes and the online mode barely works.
  40. Although a competent beat ‘em up, it lacks not only the accessibility but the depth of Street Fighter IV, the classic gameplay of Mark of the Wolves or Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and the hardcore technical side of Blazblue.
  41. It’s $60 hors d’ouvres passed off as a main course.
  42. It's neither as interesting as Street Fighter IV or BlazBlue, or as infinitely playable as Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.
  43. In the end, calling this a "rebirth" or even a "reboot" just doesn’t cut it. If one looks hard enough, they can see the ambitions SNK had with this game, sadly outstripped by time and budget.
  44. The years go by, and unfortunately The King of Fighters brings them really bad. Certainly the developers have not focused on quantity to entice the user, but even then the quality seems so bland. The graphics, which, if although renovated, it has become obsolete, goes hand in hand with a longevity virtually nonexistent, if the multiplayer could salvage something, everything is thwarted by an unstable Netcode. We recommend it only to fans of the series.
  45. A lot of fans were probably waiting for The King of Fighters XII with open arms, but lag during the online matches, the small number of available fighters and stages ruined what could have been a really nice and welcome addition to PS3 and Xbox 360's libraries.
  46. 55
    The King of Fighters XII is a brilliant fighting game at the core, courtesy of its fantastic new graphics engine and a solid 2D combat mechanics but the home version really could have been so much more.
  47. 50
    KOF12 fails to seize the windfall in online matchmaking. It uses an archaic, even backwards, system that serves only to frustrate the player.
  48. The King of Fighters XII is the latest chapter in 15 years of fighting game history. It's also a disappointment.
  49. KoF XII is exactly as average as you can be, being neither wholly unplayable, nor the best of the best.
  50. The King of Fighters XII deserves to be in stores, specially if you are fan of the series. The only hope for the future is a good number of patch and DLC (with new characters and arenas), to improve the game to reach at least an average level of quality.
  51. Thinking positive The King Of Fighters XII is the first, timid, step of SNK in the next generation and ony a launch platform for a better future. Despite that the game offers really poor game modes, bugged online playing and the worst graphic design of this generation.
  52. King of Fighters XII isn't a bad game per se but and should please die hard fans of the series who will lap up anything SNK throw at them. Yet anyone else is going to perhaps look at the game in disgust and see a title that should have been placed on the XBLA at a low price point and been done with it.
  53. 47
    The King of Fighters XII doesn't offer you enough for the price of 60 euros. It feels like an old arcade game, that could have been downloaded from [XLA] for a cheaper price. The game should have taken an example to Street Fighter IV, but unfortunately it doesn't.
  54. Don't get me wrong, the game does handle fairly well, and with friends this could be a fun one to share, but single-player is worse than most. Combine a three-player team with the smallest roster KoF has ever had, and you'll have your faves chosen like a routine in no time
  55. This is a sad day for The King of Fighters. The combat is as taught as ever, but everything else is a comedic misinterpretation of “less is more.”
  56. With only 22 characters, no unlockables, and a broken multiplayer component, King of Fighters isn’t just a feature-poor package, it’s an unfinished product.
  57. 30
    KoF12's online play is (to put it mildly) atrocious.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 43
  2. Negative: 20 out of 43
  1. NathanK
    Sep 19, 2009
    After I played this game, I cried on the inside. Not because of the lack of Mai, not because of the lack of Story Mode, NOT because of the After I played this game, I cried on the inside. Not because of the lack of Mai, not because of the lack of Story Mode, NOT because of the lack of a final boss, but that SNK is going dowhill and it's taking KOF with it. The graphics are great and the gameplay has that solid, classic feel to it. But seeming as There's no final boss at the end of the 5 level Arcade mode, the gallery has barely any pictures in it, and every Character has only 1 SUPER MOVE, it ruined it. The online lags like a motherf**ker . The roster cut all of KOF's cast down to size. Plus there's a lack of a certain MAI SHIRANUI!!! I mean WTF? She's like the best female character in the game, boobage and ass aside. Anyways, I recommend this only for rental and not straight up buy. Full Review »
  2. RodC
    Aug 13, 2009
    The worst disappointment I've had in YEARS. They wasted a ridiculous amount of time drawing each frame of the characters' The worst disappointment I've had in YEARS. They wasted a ridiculous amount of time drawing each frame of the characters' animation, and even though animation itself looks fluid, the sprites look AWFUL on a decent HD screen. All that energy could've been better used into content for the game itself... I mean, what's wrong with modern animation techniques? Full Review »
  3. Guy
    Aug 1, 2009
    This has to an insult to any kof fan around. They've changed a fast-paced game into a touch-of-doom turtlefest because of critical This has to an insult to any kof fan around. They've changed a fast-paced game into a touch-of-doom turtlefest because of critical counters. Duo Lon became a zoning character and many characters lost at least one DM (which could be attributed to it being a throwback to kof 94-95). Playing most of these characters will make you feel like they've been raped from their older versions, like Leona from 2002 to 2003. Because of the lag, nobody would really want to be playing online, which then comes the offline mode. The computer is too easy to beat, throwing random moves and generally standing still, even if you chose "hard". For the first time in kof history there's not even a boss or a survival mode. They did what they could, but even hardcore kof fans will find it hard to pay so much for so little. Get 98 UM or XI or even the 02/03 bundle instead. Full Review »