Two open beta tests were held over the past weekend, both with their ups and downs.
Yesterday marked the conclusion of a couple of open beta tests for some of next year’s most anticipated fighting games. The King of Fighters XV held its second multiplayer open beta test, adding in the re-imagined fan-favorite character K9999 (pronounced kay-four-nine) as the enigmatic Krohnen for players to fight as. Arc System Works also held the first open beta test for DNF Duel, their latest fighting game venture which brings the characters from Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online into the classic 2D Fighting arena. After playing both over the weekend, we’ll give you the ups and downs of each.
Both games used this release as an opportunity to test the strength and stability of their online play. DNF Duel’s beta was laser-focused on this aspect, only offering network play to those who chose to participate. KOF XV, however, offered not only online play but full access to training and local versus modes. This was a godsend for players both new and old, who were able to test out their favorites before making their teams and going online with them. While this test was the second outing for the seasoned KOF series, the difference in play options made a big difference this past weekend.
The training mode made it easy to try everyone without the pressure of going in blind online, as does the local versus mode. While the online play is the focus for both of these tests, KOF XV’S made it easy to make the comparison of just how much the network delay from playing online can affect the gameplay experience. Though the roster was small, these features made it easy to try all of the characters and explore the robust mechanics at your own pace. The game also takes a similar approach to online matchmaking as Street Fighter V. You’ll build a fighter profile to pick your preferred characters then use the menu to queue up for some matches.
DNF Duel, however, offered only one way to play: online multiplayer. This also meant using an elaborate lobby system that Arc System Works fighting games are notorious for making. While the game was mechanically easier to pick up and play than KOF once the action started, connecting into awkward 3D social lobbies to sit at a virtual arcade machine to find players always took forever. Network instability made this feel even worse. Trying to find a lobby you were kicked out of felt impossible, and being booted back into the lobby risked the chance of not finding another opponent. It made the time not fighting against other players incredibly frustrating and each disconnect felt worse than the last.
This made The King of Fighters XV the preferred experience for the weekend. With multiple modes to explore the mechanics of the game and each character on top of online matchmaking that gets you right into the action solidified the position. It was always easy to find matches with a stable connection and because of its team-based nature, it was easy to see every character the beta had to offer. However, this isn’t to say DNF Duel left an awful first impression.
While the lobby system felt cumbersome, especially with a fighter profile that wasn’t as meaningful as the competition, DNF Duel was an absolute blast to play. While connection issues made it hard to experience the entire cast, you were able to spectate any match in the room you connected to. This made it easy to at least see the entire cast in action if you weren’t able to play as them all. While it was easier to put more time into DNF Duel, matches took significantly longer to find because of the cumbersome visual lobby system.
While KOF had the better overall experience, DNF Duel was no doubt the flashier of the two. Next time, we’ll compare how the two games are played to see which is right for you.