Will #KOFXIII Trials Videos affect the success of #KOFXV?

Ever since King of Fighters XIII became free on Xbox Gold, interest in the game seemed to be revived. Already seen as one of the greatest entries of the series, all it needed were new eyes on it for the hype to come back. Sure, the online is still abysmal, but it’s a fun game with some of the best mechanics a fighting game can have. Mastering the movement of KOFXIII was always fun, but when you threw in the Hyper Drive system that allowed people to chain special moves, the combo potential seemed to shoot through the roof… for better or worse. Recently, that interest has caught the eye of many a content creator and they’ve all had the same idea: “Let’s try the trials!” Anyone who’s tried those trials can tell you that they are difficult. Very difficult. But with public faces venting their frustrations with titles like “THESE TRIALS BROKE MY FINGERS!” or “You weren’t joking KOFXIII trials are HARD”, it’s going to make the game seem daunting with too high of a skill barrier. To be honest, if someone like Justin Wong is saying these combos are hard, then it must be even harder for an intermediate player, right? Well, let’s start with the first immediate problem: the opinions of pro players. Pro players and casual players don’t play the same ways for the same reasons. Often times, they don’t even think the same as more casual players. So to take their opinion as fact instead of with the grain of salt it deserves is already something that should change.

It always confused me why people took their word as gospel, especially international players. Now I won’t say their word is useless. Pros are usually good for visualizing changes in games, learning the basics, and character specific knowledge. However, their opinions shouldn’t be what molds or sways your own. For example, have you seen Justin Wong’s now infamous tier lists? You want to agree with THAT? The next point I want to mention is that, like in most games, those trials will rarely ever come up in a match. Look at the demonstrations of the hardest trials, then go look at tournament footage and see how often you see those combos.

Trials are meant to be hard because they want to show you how deep the game CAN be and how extensive the combo system is. They’re there to help mold your ideas of how to play a character. I played a lot of Ash Crimson, but if you think I can do his trials, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. But I didn’t need them. No one needs to do those trials to be good with a character or enjoy the game. I’ve already discussed this, but execution doesn’t make a good game or a good player. KOFXIII is no different. The game is fun to me and if you like KOF, you should give this a try to see if you like it. The game is gorgeous and the combo system is fun to play around with. The high execution is there, yes. But like in most other fighting games, you don’t have to engage with it.

There always seems to be this idea that if you can’t do fancy combos in a fighting game, then you’re bad at them. Fancy combos are great to do, and they can be an important aspect of fighting games. However, the greater portion of them is always going to be fundamentals and overall knowledge. Is it annoying that the rise of KOFXIII has mostly been about these high profile players groaning that the trials are too tough? Yeah, but when aren’t they just hamming it up for the camera? Go look at Punk’s channel and see how many characters he calls “broken.” Same with Smug, Brian_F, Infexious, and so on. Those videos are just entertainment. If anything, you should look at those videos and go “that’s possible??” Especially in this era where everyone thinks fighting games are becoming too simplified and homogenized, big combo games like that should be exciting. Check out KOFXIII, or any other fighting game that looks interesting. I won’t tell you how to, but there are always ways. Just play them.

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