King of Fighters PlayerXIV Spotlight: TSS Atma

It’s been several years, 6 to be exact, since The King of Fighters last seen a release. SNK’s staple fighting game franchise almost seen its end with the change in direction within the company and many fans feared that the next time their beloved characters made an appearance it would be on the front of a pachinko machine. Fortunately this was not the case and SNK have resurrected the series in a new direction, focussed on 3D models and as a Playstation 4 exclusive to be published by Deep Silver in the EU.


KOF XIV announce screenshot 2Previously the King of Fighters games were released months in advance on arcade machines in Japan and they would eventually make their way to the Western market several months later, although with King of Fighters 14 things are working a little differently – much like Street Fighter V – and we are seeing a more condensed release during August with Deep Silver publishing the European version of KoF14 on August 26th. Another different approach was the invitational events that many players were invited to partake in from all across the world, the most recent of which being Stunfest in Rene, France. These events allowed players from all over Europe to attend France’s largest fighting game event and try out the game ahead of its release and we were fortunate enough to catch up with Dylan “TSS Atma” Bryson to discuss his time with the game.

For those of you unaware of Dylan’s Accomplishment, Dylan has placed top 32 for KoF at EVO, always finished extremely high at Hypespotting, travelled the world to play KoF including America, Morocco, France, and a whole host of other areas of the UK, and most importantly placed in the top 3 of the King of Fighters 14 invitational at Stunfest – making him the highest placed European player, only losing to the legendary XiaoHai. Dylan is always a constant in our local scene and is making noise about KoF, be it convincing other to play or the incessant rattle of an arcade stick as he perfects the Iori infinite. It’s safe to say he is an authority on all things King of Fighters related in the UK, including obscure lore references.

KOF XIV announce screenshot 1Q. First off, congratulations to you on an excellent run in the invitational! How did it feel to come up against, and almost beat, a player like XiaoHai?

A. Thank you! Honestly, it didn’t feel like much if anything. I’d played some casuals with him at EVO a few years ago already and have played a lot of famous players throughout my time travelling for KoF so I don’t see it as anything special. Beyond that we had played casuals a little throughout the weekend on 14 and also sat down with him to figure out some combos for Kim with some of that time. What was really nerve-racking was being on the stage however. It’s the first time I’ve been on one so big and with it being the main stage I didn’t want to disappoint. In some ways I think it made me play better because of that even though before I’ve tended to crumble in front of that pressure, I was confident after the match I had with him earlier in the day.

Q. King of Fighters has been going for almost 20 years and through that time there have been a whole load of different installments, does 14 feel like any of its predecessors? And what one would that be?

A. In a way it feels it is most similar to 13 without a doubt. In how it plays, I’m unsure if I could compare it to any KoF game but maybe a more dangerous KoF 2000. Any clean hit can lead to quite a chunk of damage and it makes the ground game incredibly scary.
I think the game forces you down the route of what high level KoF is because the “scrub killer” aspects of the game have been toned down significantly. In some ways this messed me up as I expected characters who were hopping over me to have crossed up already when in fact they were still in front because it takes such a long time to pass over someone, so to speak. This led to me eating a lot of j.B’s from Iori for example as I stood up and blocked the opposite direction before he even made it over.

Q. There was originally a lot of concern regarding the early alpha footage of King of Fighters 14, but it has obviously come a long way since then. How do you feel about the graphics and do you think they can contend with modern gaming expectations?

A. The graphics are a touchy subject for a lot of people and my opinion is incredibly mixed. I think the skin textures in the game are very poor and this makes some characters look quite bad. However, I think the visual effects and the clothes all tend to look pretty good with a few exceptions. The graphics are certainly something I can deal with but it won’t be the same for everyone.

Q. It has been noted that there was the distinct lack of audience in the stage backgrounds. Is this something you think fans will miss?

A. I’d noticed this too and I can think of a few reasons why it might be the case. I did like the audience and all the little funny things in the stages, like the Esaka stage guy in the window with his 3 sided sign, the character cameos and the changes to the stage as the rounds went on. I will miss them all but I think it’s due to the transition to 3D, and I can accept that for now.

Q. Out of the selection of characters available we seen the professional players fall back on old favourites in tournament, do you think these characters are stronger than the rest of the cast?

A. With only 3 days to play the game it’s natural to fall back on the older characters. I don’t think these characters are stronger in particular but given the fact that most players will have years of experience with them, especially those that played 13, they will look stronger in such a short time frame.

KOF XIV announce screenshot 4Q. Out with the tournament did you try any other new characters, how did they feel?

A. I tried all the new characters at one point or another. I’ll give a breakdown of what I’ve gathered for those that were not in 13:
Chang: Chang seems weak. He is slow, I couldn’t figure out how to really combo with him and his neutral game is very poor against any projectile character. I played maybe 2 matches as him and was just lost on how he was supposed to play.

Choi: Choi is my most hated character in KoF history. I don’t think that will change any time soon. Playing him he seemed ok and with my limited Choi knowledge he looks like he could be good but time will tell. He doesn’t seem too ridiculous so far, he isn’t 2002 Choi.

Sylvie: She seems sort of annoying but strong. I think played right she could be very effective. I managed to find a solid combo for her as the second character that does about 45% for 2 bars which is really nice. She is one of the better new characters for sure.

Nelson: He is complicated to learn in such a short time but looks strong. He seems rushdown based and is similar to Vanessa who I played in 2002 but that might just be the bias talking. I think he can go either way between really bad or really good. I’ll definitely spend some time with him when the game drops in August.

Banderas: I seen a few people play him this weekend and I played him once or twice myself. He lacks range on meter-less combos; he lacks a solid anti air and a reversal. What he does have though is an amazing st.B and a command grab. I think he needs to convert all his light hits to max mode with his current design which isn’t great as it means he requires a lot of meter to be continually effective throughout the match. He has room for development but 3 days wasn’t enough to figure him out.

Luong: She is very strong and within those 3 days for sure the strongest of the new cast. Her snap kick move is incredibly good for keeping the opponent in place and hard to deal with. She has room to improve even though we have already found some solid combos for her. I’ll give her more of a shot when the game launches but I think she will definitely be a strong new character.

King of Dinosaurs: He is absolutely terrible. I don’t understand him at all and I think he has no room to become better. He is too slow in everything he does. I really don’t get it. Maybe he will be changed in the later builds.

Tung Fu Rue: I think Tung is strong. I played him only a little towards the end but he is very solid and hard to deal with. I don’t know what else to say than I think he is very solid and contender for one of the strongest new characters.

Q. Out of the remaining cast who else has caught your eye? Will you try and add them to your current team?

A. Out of the cast not available in the build I’m looking at Alice, Angel, Ramon, Shun’Ei, Love Heart, Geese and Gang-il. Of the current build I think Athena is really strong and I look forward to playing her when the game releases. I just hope SNK doesn’t get afraid and nerf her, as I don’t think she is so strong she needs that to happen.

Q. Have you got plans to travel and compete when King of Fighters 14 comes out?

A. 100%. I’m looking to make it to as much as I can. I can’t say anything solid yet but I will be attending Revolution 2016 in London and NEC17.

Q. Did you enjoy your time with King of Fighters 14 and does it feel viable for competitive play based off the time you had with it?

A. I enjoyed it a lot more than my time with 13 at Stunfest. I think it is viable but I also think the game is a bit crazy, but in a good way for KoF. It’s fresh and interesting so I look forward to how competitive play develops.

Q. You are known for finding interesting (broken) stuff in King of Fighters 13, did you manage to find any similar tech in 14?

A. All I found was what still worked from XIII in XIV. Really I don’t find much in the way of broken I make publicly available in XIII. If you can make use of the buffering system in XIII to OS then it will work in XIV, just know that a lot of stuff isn’t whiff cancellable any ore so the whiff OS has been heavily nerfed. I look forward to finding ways to abuse XIV’s system when it drops but so far I haven’t found much other than if I did CD > Max Mode in the corner with Athena, there is a small window where if I cl.C I will keep the character on the ground and can do a full max mode combo. I don’t know if it’s intentional but it’s difficult regardless and very powerful.

The King of Fighters 14 is set to hit the EU on August 26th, Asia on August 25th, and NA on August 23rd this year. The wait isn’t far off and if you stay tuned to ReadersGambit we will have more interviews from the players who have played KoF14 in the coming weeks.

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