Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 Review Let’s Rock!
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB Rating: Teen
Platforms: PS4, PS3, PC
MRSP: $39.99 USD Retail ($19.99 Upgrade on all platforms)
(Review Copy Y/N) A review copy was provided by Aksys for the PS4 and we are grateful for the opportunity given to us.
We’ll be tackling a powerhouse in the world of fighting games today with “Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2.” Created and developed by Daisuke Ishiwatari and his team at Arc System Works, and published by Aksys Games; as of now Rev 2 is the 17th entry in the Guilty Gear series. From the previous entry, Revelator, to Rev 2, the game has received numerous changes and new additions to boot which will be gone over along with the mechanics. So with this short introduction out of the way, will we see Rev 2 exceed expectations as an enhancement, or will it succumb to being an unnecessary coat of paint over an already exceptional game? Only the Heavens and Hell will decide, so without further adieu…
Before we really get started, let’s talk button layout. Guilty Gear is one of the unique fighters to use five buttons: Punch, Kick, Slash, Heavy Slash, and Dust. Roman Cancels are still the same with the Red, Gold, and Purple cancels; same goes for the Burst gauge. The core mechanics have not been touched, minus some balance changes such as changing some character moves, damage values, and the frame data to some animations (the number of frames per second that make up the animation for characters). Along with these balance changes we get to see two new stages: Jeon Ryok Residence, and Ogre Valley. That’s not all still! We are introduced to two new daredevils to the Rev 2 roster for a grand total of 25 playable characters; the “Business Ninja” Answer, and a returning veteran, the “Lone Samurai” Baiken. The options mode in Rev 2 is fairly standard except for one of the best parts being the ability to switch between the Rev 2 and Revelator versions.
As for our solo play options, we have quite a bit to go over, so let’s dive in! First and foremost we have the traditional arcade mode, called Episode, which follows the selected character only days away before being part of the cinematic Story Mode, which plays out a story that continues where “Xrd: Sign” left off on. Not sure what some terms mean or want to look more into the expansive Guilty Gear world? You’re in luck, because the game features a sort of compendium that explains terms used throughout the Story Mode. M.O.M. Mode, a unique mix of light RPG elements , and a traditional survival game mode makes a return (this mode is best explained through experiencing compared to explaining it). There’s the standard of fighting games: Versus mode, where you can battle it out against a CPU , or those sitting next to you.
Rev 2 features a very in-depth tutorial that teaches you the fundamentals of playing a fighting game and more so a Guilty Gear game. With the next two singleplayer modes it’ll definitely put a spotlight on this game’s singleplayer content! Mission mode is not exactly like other fighting game mission modes that give you tasks to accomplish; it’s more so tasks that are to give you various practical match-up knowledge that will aid you in player vs. player matches. Combo mode, simply choose your character of choice and get thrown in game with the tasks of executing specific strings of moves and special moves to understand what combos your character is able to do. The game spikes up the difficulty after accomplishing each tier, which are: special moves, basic combos, and advanced combos.
Now usually this is where most fighters end their singleplayer content, but again, Rev 2 surpasses all others in this regard with a vast Gallery mode that lets you use your hard earned in game currency to purchase various pieces of artwork, voice clips, musical works, and character colors; the only thing not purchasable in the gallery are the movie clips for completing each character’s Episode. Now heading to our last two singleplayer oriented modes: Figure mode simply lets you use any collected character models, colors, and poses to make spectacular diorama sets; you may be wondering, “How do I get these models and such?” well that’s where this next mode fits in. Fishing, (yes, fishing,) let’s you use your mass amount of in-game currency to fish out loads of possible unlockable items at a time ranging from colors, artwork, music, and even to unlocking Raven, one of the possible playable characters!
Now that we’ve wrapped up the singleplayer options for Rev 2, we can begin our dissection on what the majority of players may be interested in: the online of the game. Rev 2 features three key online options: Ranked match, Lobby, and Player match. Ranked is as simple as it gets, get paired up against another player to compete for the top spot in the global leaderboard. Player matches lets you create or join a small virtual lobby of eight players where you can battle one another, or spectate ongoing battles. Lobby mode will throw your avatar (yes, you have an avatar as well,) into a massive 64 player lobby where you can chat, play, fish for items, and queue for player and ranked matches as well. Now how do you acquire stuff for your avatar such as head pieces or body colors? Why, fishing, of course! This little mode grants you so much for just a set amount of in-game currency each time you decide to hit the pond! Most readers may be wondering about the elephant in the room, I’m speaking of the netcode. To satisfy those wanting a quick answer, the netcode feels the same as the console version of Revelator. To elaborate on this, after playing roughly 20 consecutive matches that were America coast-to-coast games I only experienced at most 5-6 frames of input delay, which is about the norm for most online experiences unless you and your opponent are a short distance away from each other. Overall I’d say the netcode is just as fine as it was in the console releases of Revelator.
For the most part, I’ll definitely say the graphics aren’t cutting edge in Rev 2, but what they are is innovative. All the characters are 3D models that appear 2D through various camera angles and a excellent cell shaded art style. Not only are the characters and stages stylish, but the menus and HUD as well having a special flair to give them that extra bit of presence. While the graphics may be what some will suggest to be lacking, the music on the other hand has always been one of the biggest parts of Guilty Gear. Nearly all; if not all the soundtrack is written by series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari, not only is he the creator, but the character designer, and storyline designer to add! Most of the tracks have an overall rock and roll vibe, and not to mention the influence some can see from a sensational British rock band.
Overall, Rev 2 is a great step above other fighting games available in terms of content. While I enjoy the addition of a fresh face and that of the veteran, I don’t see the justification of making a whole new version, but the several new additions found around the game and new balance patch definitely helps ease my concerns towards Rev 2. Now before I close out this review of Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 I’d like to go over just what makes this game phenomenal and what could leave a bad taste for some.