It’s always hard to review fighting games. Granted, when going from one numbered title to the next – a la Street Fighter IV to Street Fighter V – it’s fairly easy to articulate what the latest title in a fighting game series brings to the table, but when you bring re-releases and roster updates into the picture – things get a little messier. Just how much does this re-release of Guilty Gear Xrd change? Does it bring anything new to the table, that any casual fighting game player would care about? Exactly how much has the gameplay changed from the previous title?
In Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-‘s case, most of what this re-release brings to the table is thankfully more than just fluff. Although -REVELATOR- is more or less mechanically the same game as it’s predecessor (Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-), Arc System Works has taken the time to polish Guilty Gear Xrd and make the series that much easier for newer players to introduce themselves to. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-‘s tutorial was better than what most other fighting games have on day one to begin with, but -REVELATOR- takes it one step further, by including obstacle courses that make use of game mechanics to teach players the ins and outs of the game’s important movement system.
Additionally, the title borrows a feature from BlazBlue by including input training, teaching players how to input different moves, specials, and even guides them through some combos for each character. Pausing during single-player gameplay even allows for players to read some FAQ bubbles answering potential new player questions on the side of the game screen.
Besides introducing more beginner friendly content, -REVELATOR- includes all of the single player content from -SIGN-. These include modes such as Arcade Mode, Versus, and MOM – a mode acting like a cross between a standard “Survival” mode in most fighting games, and the RPG-like “Abyss Mode” from Arc System Works’ own Blazblue. To sum MOM up, players fight on one health bar for as long they can, using medals they gain from defeated enemies to power up their character, and buy special items that they can use in combat. Replacing -SIGN-‘s anime-esque story mode, -REVELATOR- adds an all new story that resolves many of the conflicts from the previous games story.
Just by virtue of being an Arc System Works fighting game story mode players are bound to be more than a little confused – especially if this is their first outing in the Guilty Gear franchise. Thankfully, the title includes an expanded glossary that goes over nearly every event, term, and character in the Guilty Gear franchise. Chances are players that aren’t in the game for the story mode won’t care, but the glossary exists for players that are genuinely interested in the series lore. One notable omission from Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- is the removal of an English dub option, as players only have access to the original Japanese audio for the story content.
Speaking of which – Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- uses the same engine as Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, unique art style and all. Besides rendering the game to look like 2D while using 3D models, the game also includes a variety of new and old music tracks to accentuate the game’s story mode and combat. As far as both visual and sound design go, much like Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, everything is top-notch.
Likewise, as far as fighting mechanics go, the game is more or less the same as its predecessor. You’ve got Punches, Kicks, Light and Heavy Slashes, and Drive attacks rounding out player move sets. Movement options include jumps, double jumps, high jumps, jump cancels, air dashes, and more. If you’ve already played Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, you already know what to expect. Fighters are more or less identical to their -SIGN- counterparts outside of a few balance changes here and there. -REVELATOR- includes six new playable characters, rounding up the playable cast to twenty-three fighters, though a few of them are unfortunately DLC. It’s hard to defend it, but on the bright side, players can “purchase” characters on the Playstation Store for free for the first two weeks that they are listed, and they don’t even need to own the game yet to do so. It’s easier to defend the myriad character colors DLC, since due to Guilty Gear Xrd‘s unique art style, even a simple reskin is undoubtedly a lot of work.
Each of the six new characters (or, at least of the new characters that are already released and playable) introduce their own unique mechanics to the gameplay, from Ravens masochistic tendencies to Johnny’s affinity for gold coins. The game’s more-or-less flagship character Jack-O is especially interesting with her mechanic to summon and use helper monsters, though some players have reported that because of it, the PlayStation 3 version of the game might chug when she is being played. That being said, I can’t personally vouch for those claims as TechRaptor was only supplied with a PlayStation 4 version of the game for review.
Online play is handled via a lobby system, regardless of what mode of play you want to use. Players are granted a blocky 3D avatar that they can customize, and Online Lobbies, while perhaps a little bit obtuse at first, are full of charm – and getting into a more traditional menu for queuing up matches is only a Triangle button press away. Netcode is solid, with the game even telling players exactly how much frame delay is present at any point during a match, and much like in -SIGN- cross-platform play between both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 is supported.
Rounding it all out, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- adds enough new content to appeal to both hardcore and casual fighting game fans alike. Although the game isn’t as much an evolution of the franchise as Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- was at its release, it’s still more than easy enough to recommend.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Rounding it all out, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- adds enough new content to appeal to both hardcore and casual fighting game fans alike. Although the game isn't as much an evolution of the franchise as Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- was at its release, it's still more than easy enough to recommend.