Arc System Works, as far as I’m concerned, are the best developers when it comes to making a fighting game. If it wasn’t for their niche style of fighting games, they would easily dominate and own the fighting genre over the likes of game series such as Street Fighter and Tekken that sell well on their respectable names alone. This is a real shame because the Guilty Gear and Blazblue series deserve more credit and recognition for the ultra fast and super slick fighting components with the most imaginative unique fighting characters that all play differently from each other. I’m a huge fan of the Blazblue series playing from the very first instalment but not too keen on Guilty Gear, and although both games are made by the very same developers, it goes to show how different both games are even if sharing familiar mechanics.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is an updated version of 2014’s Guilty Gear Xrd Sign featuring updated graphics, refined gameplay balancing, and six additional new characters including two fan favorites from earlier Guilty Gear games; those two characters being Jam Kuradoberi and Johnny. The game now stands at 23 characters strong. All 23 characters are unique in terms of appearance and abilities, so no two characters play the same which results in a deep learning curve to know and understand each characters’ ins and outs. You can play as them or defend yourself against them. Luckily, there are some intense training and challenge modes that teach you the fundamentals and basics of the game.
Guilty Gear has the few standard game modes that we all know and expect from any fighting game. There’s arcade mode in which you pick a character and fight the AI controlled opponent on a difficulty setting of your choosing. Once you’ve defeated the enemy, you advance to the next stage with a tougher opponent. Versus mode pits you against a friend for some offline couch fun. Medal of Millionaire mode (MOM) pits single players against AI opponents to earn medals which strengthen your character with a nice progression system. Then there is a very deep story mode, and its anime styled visuals are gorgeous as they bring the game and story to life, but sadly the voice acting is only in Japanese with English subtitles. I just couldn’t get into the story because of the lack of English voice option and gave up caring, especially since you don’t get to do any fighting whatsoever. It’s a bore sitting through hours of cutscenes and heavy text dialogue, although it’s great that Arc System Works have put the effort into the character and world building. However, this story mode is one for the most hardcore Guilty Gear fans.
Before you dive into any of the more competitive modes online, you should take your time getting to know and understand the game. Luckily, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator has you covered with a tutorial that teaches you the very basics. This is the best training mode I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. It’s done in a simple way that’s fun and easy to learn. Combo mode teaches and shows you how to pull off each character’s bread and butter combos, as well as more advanced combos that only the really skillful will be able to pull off, and, of course, special finishing moves. To finish off your training, you should test your skills and everything you’ve learned in mission mode. This mode gives you real fight scenarios and character match-ups with certain parameters you need to meet to pass each trial. This way, you’ll learn techniques that can mean the difference between winning and losing. Important tools like how to poke an opponent, air throw, roman cancels, and plenty more advanced moves you’ll need to learn to become a master at the game, but that’s only the beginning, there are still dust attacks, faultless defense, overdrives, shield blitzes, and instant kills.
With a roster of 23 fighters, you’d forgive Guilty Gear if a few of them looked the same or were carbon copies of each other using the same move-sets. That’s not the case as Arc System Works take great pride in their characters’ designs making them all look unique and creative as possible. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator looks unbelievably stunning running at a smooth 1080p/60fps, making the game run and flow like a river downstream, beautiful and elegant thanks to some wonderful fighting effects when dishing out chaos on-screen. Using characters’ specials and instant kills fills the screen with a sea full of bright colors that you’ll never get bored seeing, along with different fighting stage arenas full of personality and stuff happening in the background whilst you fight. All this is accompanied by a heavy metal and rock soundtrack that’s so fitting for the game.
As well as looking the part, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator certainly plays the part too. Arc System Works are masters at the fighting genre, each character has been finely balanced, and whilst some characters are higher on the tier list than others, if you have the skill and ability you can win with anyone. This game is fast. Characters fly and dash across the screen at breakneck speeds, but Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator isn’t going to be for everyone. Whilst the game is very accessible to newcomers to the series and players new to the genre, the anime-esque style isn’t going to be for everyone, and you can’t go into the game half-hearted. Play with the intention to learn and become better or don’t bother at all. There’s a huge learning curve, but the progression feels rewarding once you go from a beginner to expert. Long time Guilty Gear fans and Blazblue players will already feel accustomed to the mechanics of the game.
It’s the online challenge from players around the world that should be your main draw to a fighting game now. You have ranked matches where you fight people who are around your same rank and skill level, gaining exp with each win to increase your rank. There are player matches where most of the fun is to be had. You can create your own room and set your own rules for the lobby with up to 8 players being able to join or just group up, have a social chat, or become a spectator and watch others fight. The net-code is fantastic. Fights play out for the most part smoothly and lag free, and you won’t find much, if any, lag fighting someone in your own region. It can get a little slow when facing people in Japan, causing fights to become unplayable.
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
Platforms: PS3, PS4
Release Date: 10th June 2016