“Why am I still playing this game at 1AM? It’s late. I have work tomorrow. Why am I still playing?”
I still remember those days when I would slave away on the arcade stick at a friend’s house, practicing until my eyes couldn’t stay open anymore and driving became a potential hazard. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core was that addictive and I was that competitive. Naturally, I am elated to see any new Guilty Gear release. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator builds upon more than just the name of its predecessor, providing a wealth of new features and characters to keep competitive fighters entertained, albeit a few months too late for the master race.
For anyone who follows the fighting game scene, Guilty Gear is clearly the most complex and difficult to pick up title among 2D fighters like Street Fighter and King of Fighters. Before anybody raises their pickaxes and torches, let me qualify that statement – it is the most difficult to pick up. The cast of 23 seems par for the course compared to others, but the issue is the uniqueness of each characters and learning curve associated with even playing at a mildly competitive level, much less not going 0-2 at a tournament.
Thankfully, the game’s combo dojo and tutorial system can both introduce players to characters and the game system itself. With the wildly different characters and high learning curve for the characters’ combos, it’s helpful to have this type of feature that has become expected in any major fighting game release. Players should spend ample time in here before they take the fight online, because it is the bare minimum that will be necessary before players will have a chance of surviving a fight. Thereafter, the character variety becomes both a strength and weakness of the title. While it is amazing to see 23 vastly different characters in a fighting game title, the unfortunate consequences of that is players will have a hard time playing anything other than their main picks. I’m still reeling back from the devastating loss of Testament from the title. I haven’t played the game in a tournament since.
The core necessities of any fighting game are all found in Revelator, as they are in all modern fighting game releases. Players can jump in Arcade mode, play head-to-head with friends offline in versus mode, or the online mode, which you’ll definitely need because chances of finding a competitive partner offline are slim to none. For the most part, players will find matches to be much more playable than other online fighters on the market, especially when there are only one to three frames of lag or so, which is conveniently displayed before and during each match. Occasionally though, if players find matches that inch upwards of five or more frames of lag, the game feels practically unplayable, perhaps simply due to its frenetic pacing and precision required for combos. Despite the potential for stellar online matches, the PC release is marred by the fact that there are few players who picked it up and, therefore, fewer matches than the PS4 counterpart. This problem could have easily been solved with the inclusion of crossplay between the two platforms, which would have vastly improved the playerbase on PC and this version’s longevity.
Aside from the meat of the game, which can be found in the versus and online modes, the title has a wealth of features that will keep both competitive and casual players entertained. Most importantly, story mode makes a return, giving Guilty Gear fans the anime that they will never get. Get over it, guys. The animated visual novel presentation is as close as fans will ever get, fully voiced in Japanese and an absolute treat for anyone who takes time away from their virtual fisticuffs. This method of presentation is a massive improvement over the character stills and the mindless battles that abruptly interrupt visual novel sequences in the BlazBlue series.
As with Xrd, Revelator is absolutely breathtaking. It still features the same visual style as its predecessor, using polygonal models to create an animated aesthetic that resembles the anime all Guilty Gear fans wish they had. Despite the beauty of the title and the constant 60 FPS, my GTX 570 still ran the game fine. However, even though the title looks amazing, some kinks could certainly have been worked out. It has the curious issue that almost all Japanese-developed PS4 exclusives have – for some reason, the GUI features support for Xbox buttons and keyboard commands, but not PS4 buttons. I seriously do not understand why existing assets are not integrated into the game. Audiophiles who have been loyal Guilty Gear fans will also appreciate the ability to buy tracks from the older games using in-game currency, even though there is no English voiceovers, but that is hardly a knock against the title.
Released half a year too late, Revelator is still a great title for any fans of anime fighters or just fighters in general. Its complexity is unrivaled among 2D fighters and will test even the most seasoned veterans. Considering the delay in its release, however, it is quite a turn off to see it at $49.99 with DLC characters that still range from $1.99 to $4.99. Hopefully, players will be able to see this. If not, then hopefully Arc System Works will wise up and release the title in a more timely manner for the next release.
- Something to satisfy both casual and hardcore fans
- Absolutely stunning to look at
- Combos are incredibly satisfying to pull off
- Very easy to run – even my old 570 can still run it
- It’s odd that the GUI only support Xbox and keyboard keys
- There’s nobody playing…on PC
Reviewed on: PC; Also Available on; PS4; Publisher: Arc System Works; Developer: Arc System Works/Team Red; Players: Multiplayer; Released: December 14, 2016; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $49.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher