There are really a few different types of fighting games that are currently on the market. We have arcade fighters (Street Fighter, DOA) and then we have the UFC titles which feature real people with real rules, and then we have the K-1 genre which is now being discussed. The K-1 genre for a better use of words has been pretty disappointing throughout the years. Now Konami has taken its K-1 series to the US in hope to try their luck. Well K-1 World Grand Prix has been released and it is a title plagued by a lot of shortcomings.
When I first put the game in my PS2 it immediately reminded me of a UFC game. There are a number of modes in K-1 but there really isn’t that one main mode that you will spend more then an hour playing. The modes of K-1 World Grand Prix include Revival, Trial, Exhibition, Champions Revolution, and Grand Prix. All of these modes are really just the same modes with different titles and different types of idea behind them.
The Champions Revolution is considered the career mode of sorts for the game. And in fact there really isn’t much depth in the mode at all. While I was playing it I just felt like I was playing through a number of the same matches over and over again with the difficulty setting being pushed up ever so slightly after each match. There are a lot of attempts to try and get some strategy behind the mode but in fact you basically train and fight, and then you will be on your way.
When I started the game up I just went straight into an exhibition bout and then straight onto the Grand Prix mode. You will find right away in K-1 that the game feels a lot like the UFC titles. When I say this I am not saying this in a good way, this makes the game feel extremely slow and everything just doesn’t seem to flow very well. When I say this I am not talking about the graphics because that’s not the problem. The problem is that the game just feels so tight that moving around the ring can be a pain.
When you get past the bulky controls the game is really quite fun to play and that is because of all the action happening in the ring. Instead of going for headlocks or submissions like in the UFC titles, in K-1 you get to do whatever you want to do I in order to knock your opponent down. K-1 is pretty similar to boxing, the only difference being you can use your feet and the ref doesn’t get in the way all the time. So basically you have two guys in a ring that just want to kick the living daylights out of each other, and this is what will keep people interested in K-1 for a long period of time.
The face buttons on the controller are for two kicks and two different punches (which means one button for each arm and leg). Then you have the R2 button which allows you to set up combinations of kicks and punches. The one thing that took me a while to get used to was the recovery time the fighters have to endure while throwing off a big punch or kick. These punches and kicks leave you pretty wide open if you happen to miss, so throughout the game you really have to learn when to and when not to throw the big stuff.
The one thing that I found really nice about K-1 is that it’s a really good multiplayer friendly game. This is a title that you can be successful on your first attempt. Heck I beat the Grand Prix mode on my first try. This means that you can really get friends into the action right away and really have a good time with the game.
Overall although I was disappointed with the career mode, but the combination of the rest modes does get the job done. The game does feel a little sluggish but for the most part you will be having a lot of fun fighting around the ring punching a kicking your way to victory.
When you look at a game such as K-1 there aren’t many things to really work with on this sort of game. Unlike other sports titles where the environments can change quite a bit, in K-1 you are playing in doors in a boxing ring. This means that you would expect some pretty good graphics from a game like this and Konami came through with a solid looking title.
The character models of K-1 World Grand Prix are some of the best fighter character models there have been on the PS2. The character models are really sharp and have a lot of detail to them. They have a nice crisp clean look to them that will be sure to impress most of us. The environments on the other hand are pretty bland and boring. There is little to no variety at all during the game so you will basically be fighting in the same boring ring over and over again.
Overall there is really nothing wrong with the way K-1 looks but there is still nothing about the game’s graphics that are going to standout from other titles. This is just a good looking title that does a good job of making things look presentable.
The one portion of the review that K-1 stands out would have to be the Fun Factor. This is a game where you can easily take out all your frustrations and anger out by playing a few matches in the game. The single player is not the only fun portion of the game, but the multiplayer mode is also quite enjoyable. The one problem is there is not enough replay value to hold the fun factor for very long. There are quite a few different modes to choose from but they all seem to end up feeling the same.
K-1 World Grand Prix does a good job of making a pretty solid fighting title. With decent graphics and decent gameplay you end up getting a pretty decent game. There is a lot of fun to be had playing this game but I would find it being a better rental then it would being one to purchase.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.