Guilty Gear was hands down the best 2D fighting game back in the day. I remember losing countless afternoons as a kid, enjoying the guitar-riffing soundtrack, the amazing anime-like visuals, tight controls and addictive gameplay.
Since then the core series has been in a hiatus for over 10 years, only returning recently with Guilty Gear Xrd. Now with Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- we can safely say that this franchise is back for good.
Guilty Gear Xrd is slowly but surely rebuilding its once imposing character roster. -SIGN- had a total of 16 characters, 12 returning characters and 4 completely new ones. -Revelator- expands this by introducing long time favorites such as Jam Kuradoberi, Johnny, Dizzy and Raven, as well as newcomers Jack-O’ and Kum Haehyun. Characters that were previously part of a DLC are now available for free, namely Elphelt Valentine, Leo Whitefang and Sin Kiske. It is unfortunate however, that Dizzy, Raven and Kum Haehyun are DLC only characters this time around.
Like always, each and every character is totally unique both in personality and playstyle. Ramlethal Valentine is a gun wielding bunny girl obsessed with marriage. Jam, the cute little Chinese waitress, has you playing defensively until you charge up on your specials after which you are unstoppable. Jack-O’ the candy loving maniac with a mask, puts on the pressure by placing ‘Ghosts’ that spawn minions, making the opponents fight against her as if they were in a tower defense mini-game.
Despite the numerous improvements, one aspect that didn’t take a step forward is the non-interactive story mode. Making the entire story mode a long cutscene is not an awful idea by any means. It allows players to solely enjoy the world and story of Guilty Gear without the tension of missing out on content if you cannot get past a challenging battle. At the same time, I cannot but feel a bit disappointed, especially since Arc System Works proved time and time again that they have what it takes to make an engaging story mode with multiple paths and interesting scenarios.
For those that might feel overwhelmed by the all the characters, events, timeline and terms the game nonchalantly throws around, there is GG World. Here newcomers and fans alike can browse an encyclopedia worth of lore, covering everything from the main events of the previous game, to the intricate facts detailing public transportation, culture and education, and even weird things you never knew you wanted to know like how Robo-ky is powered by a Hercules Rhinoceros Beetle. Despite the amount of content, everything is neatly sorted into sections and cross-referenced together, allowing for easy navigation between similar terms.
The sheer number of modes in Revelator are bound to keep you entertained for a long time. The arcade mode features a few cutscenes depicting events for each character before the main game. Its deeper than what you might expect from an arcade mode in a fighting game. M.O.M mode has an RPG-like leveling system and character customization, where you can make use of the medals you collect through your battles to buy upgrades.
The core gameplay is tight as always. The fast paced combat, filled with air dashes, long ass combos, and screen filling specials are all here; everything you’d expect from a first rate 2D fighting game. Revelator even offers the options of battles between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners, not splitting the player base.
Despite how intimidating it may seem at first, Arc System Works has done a great job of making Revelator extremely accessible to newcomers. From the Tutorial mode that teaches the very basics of fighting games, to combo mode, mission mode and the obligatory training mode, the game makes sure players will constantly improve no matter their skill level. And even if you are not the person to slowly and diligently study all the game’s systems, Revelator offers impatient players the possibility to play a bit of the game and at any moment pause and read from a handy set of FAQs for the given situation. Don’t know how to block or run? No problem, just select that from the FAQ and read up just on that segment of the game and get back into the action and try out what you have learned.
There are a number of changes in Revelator. Players who just want to enjoy the game and are not too good with fighting games can now enable the long awaited stylish operation type, which allows them to cast complicated specials with a single button, at the cost of getting 20% extra damage from incoming attacks. There are new attacks called burst overdrives, which consume both 50% of your tension gauge and your burst gauge but have an invulnerable start-up and deal 25% more damage. Revelator also now has throw breaks, which happen when both characters throw each other at the same time.
If there is one thing that goes without saying, it is that Guilty Gear Xrd – Revelator- looks gorgeous. The effort that went into recreating a 2D game into a fully functional 3D title is absolutely astounding. Characters look and play like their old selves, effects look like they have been ripped out of an anime. Everything looks so good that it makes us wonder why exactly no one tried to do this before.
Dynamic backgrounds are another thing that make the game stand out. In one example a stage has you fighting on the street in front of a bustling hotel, after one round you can see the employees clearly annoyed by your antics, who ultimately call the police to intervene in the final round of the match. Its these touches that make Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- an absolute blast to play.
Guilty Gear Xrd – Revelator- is an amazingly polished game longtime fans of the series as well as newcomers will be able to enjoy alike. It may not still have the massive character roster of Guilty Gear XX, nor the interactive story mode, but what is here is near flawless. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- is the best fighting games have to offer and should not be missed out on by anyone.