It looks like EA has finally decided to set up shop on Steam. The most interesting part of this venture is that the Steam-purchased versions of their games will not contain SecuROM DRM. This deal apparently extends only to current EA releases, such as Mass Effect, Warhammer Online and (unsurprisingly) Spore, but it looks like Mirror\’s Edge, Red Alert 3 and Dead Space will be joining them shortly.

Steam\’s built-in DRM is far less annoying than anything else on the market, in my opinion, so this is a good move, I\’d say.

On to another topic – the recent King of Fighters XII location test.

My friend Perfect Stranger has posted pretty comprehensive impressions over at Orochinagi, so if you haven\’t been following the news go read up on his thoughts here.

While I still like the way the game looks, the game itself is still not really impressing me that much. I\’ve sort of gotten over the fact that the game doesn\’t improve on the tagging system, but there are plenty of other things to complain about.

The main thing is that the game just feels incomplete at this point. I know that it\’s technically not \’complete\’ yet (there are still four months before release) but we can assume that by this point they\’re not going to be adding any more characters or major subsystems since they\’ve already started public beta testing. At this point, not only does the roster feel small, the characters themselves seem to be exhibiting KOF2002 syndrome with small, stripped-down movelists.

A lot of comparisons are being drawn between this game and KOF\’94, but that game actually let you use far standing normals to poke and control space effectively, and had DMs that you could actually combo into. It looks like SNKP is trying to get people to get into close range to use their strong attacks, but what\’s actually happening is that players, noting that their standing normals have been nerfed, have resorted to using crouch Bs and Ds to poke and start combos instead, making for some rather boring matches overall. The minimalist system just doesn\’t really seem like KOF to me, not after SNKP managed to hit two successive balls out of the park with KOFXI and KOF\’98 Ultimate Match (with the upcoming KOF2002 Unlimited Match looking to follow in their footsteps).

The graphical makeover is astounding, but I still stand unimpressed.

One thought on “The King of Steam”
  1. XII definitely looks extremely minimalist, but it was obvious that any real graphical makeover would necessitate less content. Especially considering that the wealth of characters in recent KOFs was due more to clever recycling, rather than a major investment on SNK’s part.

    I’m really not bothered by the size of the roster. To be honest, I think it’s pretty impressive considering how great the sprites look. But the small movelists are a bit discouraging. Still, the game looks fun to me. KOF XI and NGBC were great, and 98UM and 2002UM are also sure to be awesome; but a smaller-scale, simpler fighter can be fun every now and then.

    (That said, I think SNK could have chosen a better time to release XII. Released so close to 2002UM, its small roster is all the more noticeable. Also, the excitement fans seem to feel for 2002UM demonstrates (to me) that the old sprites still had some life in them, although perhaps not from a marketing perspective.)

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