Review: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 [PS4]

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Fair play to Arc System Works that if you already own the original Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator you can purchase Rev 2 as separate DLC and, no matter what version you upgrade with, the game will carry over all your progress from the previous version.

 

 

Release Date: 26th May 2017 (NA), 26th May 2017 (EU)
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Genre: Fighting
Player(s): Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating: ESRB T, PEGI 12
Publisher: PQube
Developer: Arc System Works

While the Rev 2 update introduces two new characters, my personal favourite Baiken and ninja chief of staff, Answer, little else has changed and that puts Rev 2 at a disadvantage in these modern times. It is not the early 2000’s anymore and while Guilty Gear was ground-breaking, (and I really do mean ground-breaking, fighting games would be totally different today if not for Guilty Gear) Rev 2’s age shows through despite the great pains taken to minimise it.

Not saying that Rev 2 looks old, Nick Cooney has already spoken about Revelator and how gorgeous it is and Rev 2 is exactly the same. What is old is the core structure of the Gatling Combo system that is still the same as it was back in Guilty Gear X. What this means in less geeky terms is that Guilty Gear still feels faster than say Street Fighter and smoother than KOF but clunkier and more complicated than, say, Blaz Blue or Under-Night. That puts Guilty Gear in a weird position compared to back in the day when it was one of the faster fighting games you could play to now being in the unusual middle and thus might feel too fast for people who are used to Street Fighter and clunky to those of us who like to play Under-Night (all six of us).

Rev 2 is also behind in how it tries to integrate its story into the game. While there is a small story attached to the arcade mode the main story is just a long movie that can be watched in as many sittings as you might want. It does seem an odd decision, but it certainly provides a more complete experience than the old Guilty Gear story modes. Comparing it to the recently released Injustice 2 story mode and the story mode for Central Fiction that was released last year, it is rather odd to see a story mode be so completely lacking in any player interaction. That said it is far better than the dull mess that whatever Tekken 7 was trying to be, as stuff actually happens.

How the story mode’s presentation lands is up to personal taste (I don’t mind just watching a long movie, that’s how I prefer to experience the Injustice games) but what is a legitimate disappointment is the actual content of the story as Guilty Gear’s story has now become exactly the same as Blaz Blue’s.

Blaz Blue was Guilty Gear’s spiritual successor, and while some superficial elements were similar Blaz Blue was definitely its own game. Now Blaz Blue has finished its story, for the time being, that being Ragna’s effort to free his sister from being cloned and used to bring about the apocalypse while she was sealed away in a dimension that provided nearly all the supernatural juju in the setting.

Guilty Gear Xrd has a lot going on too but the story of Sol in his effort to free his old lover, Aria, from being cloned and used to bring about the apocalypse while she is sealed away in a dimension that provides all the magic in the setting.

Do you see the similarities? A lot of the characters are different but the skeleton of the story is the same. I stated when reviewing the last Blaz Blue game (http://www.jcuri.com/archives/13977) that it was messed up that so many characters are little girl clones of a helpless character who is held in near perpetual captivity. Yet Guilty Gear has done the same thing! Three playable characters are all clones of Aria, they at least all look somewhat different but if Guilty Gear and Blaz Blue weren’t made by the same company we would be totally calling out Guilty Gear‘s story as a complete rip off of Blaz Blue‘s.

That being said if you look at the two fighting games to come out at the same time, Injustice 2 and Tekken 7, Guilty Gear still has them beat. Rev 2 doesn’t have an absurd loot system that forces you to grind or pay more money for cosmetic items like Injustice 2 nor does it seem completely without innovation or story like Tekken 7. So until the next Under-Night In-Birth comes out, Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 wins… by default.

Verdict

75% Good, not great.

Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 is worth the purchase as DLC if you already own and like Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator. But in a niche market that is getting a bit crowded I cannot recommend it be at the top of your list. Only when compared to fighting game releases of this year does it come out on top and that will not be for long.

This title was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by PQube.

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