Coming out as a sequel to Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, a game that has barely had a 2 year run since its 2014 release, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator has a lot to live up to, not only in terms of the value it adds but also as an addition to the cult classic franchise.
Guilty Gear is a franchise that started in 1998 and contains a series of air-dash heavy 2D fighting games that feature fast paced gameplay mechanics that reward aggressiveness and forward momentum.
Aside from its fast combo-heavy gameplay the Guilty Gear games are also well known for their unique presentation that is a mix of hard rock music, anime aesthetic and stylishly varied 2D character sprites.
Guilty Gear Xrd was the first fighting game in the series to move its visual presentation from series’ characteristic 2D sprites to new 3D models, and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator continues this trend by building on its 3D graphics.
The first thing that every player notices when starting Revelator is its stunningly gorgeous art style.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator features Xrd’s patented cell shaded 3D graphics that have been meticulously designed and shaded to look like 2D sprite based characters.
This cell shaded visual design not only goes a long way in retaining the franchise’s beautiful 2D anime visuals, but also allows the game to pan out the camera in 3D space to show spectacular visuals and animations that cannot be achieved in classic sprite based graphics.
Revelator further improves Xrd’s cell shaded visuals by tweaking its graphics and lighting systems to include changes like a new global lighting system that sees each character, projectile and move act as its own independent light source.
Additionally, the game’s stages have also been updated to better show off the new lighting effects, that not only dynamically illuminate background effects but also enhance the look of the, already gorgeous looking, stages.
Both stages and characters feature silky smooth animation that really compliments Revelator’s unique stage variety as well as the game’s stylish and varied character designs.
The game’s pace and visual style is beautifully complimented by the series’ traditional sound design that features a mix of hard rock and heavy metal music, which serves to amp up the player and lends itself well to the kinetic on-screen battles.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revalator’s roster of 22 playable fighters features a returning cast of 17 eccentric brawlers from Xrd Sign.
These include such characters as a dandy vampire, a guitar wielding witch, a Brit punk with chain linked sickles, an assassin that utilizes her hair for combat and another that uses a demonic shadow to attack his foes.
The 5 new additions to Revelator’s playable roster include 2 favourites from the Guilty Gear franchise; the katana wielding cowboy pirate; Johnny and the spunky chef; Jam Kuradoberi, as well as inclusion of 3 brand new faces.
Raven is an immortal masochist who has grown tired of its immortality. Although he has appeared in the narrative of several past Guilty Gear games, Revelator marks his first appearance as a playable fighter.
Kum Haehyun is a brand new character to the Guilty Gear franchise, who appears as a hulking old martial-arts master. However the man is in fact an artificial body being piloted by a young woman from within.
Jack-O is another new female character that wears a mask inspired by jack-o-lanterns and apparently suffers from multiple personalities. Her fighting style revolves around placing ghosts and summoning servants in battle which help her maintain ranged pressure on her opponents.
The crowd favourite Guilty Gear character; Dizzy, is scheduled to join the cast soon, making Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator’s character roster a total of 23 in the near future.
The game features enough character variety to cater for all gameplay styles. Its roster ranges from hulking grapplers and nimble slashers to stay away zoners, pressure heavy fighters and everything in between.
Some like Sol and Ky are easy to learn all-rounders, while others have more complicated controls that feature set up heavy gameplay and individual sub-systems that require more finesse and mastery over the controls.
Historically, the Guilty Gear series has faced a very difficult time attracting new players due to the depth and complexity of its game mechanics, which results in a very steep learning curve.
The Guilty Gear games require the players to keep track of Burst and Overdrive gauges while using special moves and overdrive attacks, as well as employing advanced parry and counter moves like ‘Faultless Defense’ and ‘Roman Cancels’.
While these systems are the reason for the Guilty Gear series’ gameplay depth and its cult popularity, the sheer breadth of these mechanics is enough to overwhelm any newcomer.
One of the main reason why learning the game looks like such an uphill task is because new players are often unable to distinguish the, easy to learn, bread and butter mechanics from the, hard to master, advanced manoeuvres.
While most videogames have their game design built around training their players how to play the game, fighting games have notoriously ignored this crucial element and Guilty Gear series is no different in this aspect.
However, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator tackles this issue with a vengeance and fully embraces the needs of the new player without ever compromising on the depth of its gameplay systems.
The game starts this off by allowing players to choose a basic play style between the conventional Technical controls and Stylish type; where blocking as well as performing combos and special moves is made simpler. This is balanced by a relatively limited move-set and cost of taking 20% more damage.
Additionally, Revelator includes a Dojo mode, which allows players of any skill to benefit from the unprecedented amount of learning options it features.
Not only does it include a conventional Training mode where players can freely practice and simulate various situations, there is a full-fledged Tutorial mode present in the game that takes players through the game’s mechanics.
This Tutorial mode is not a mere show and tell feature. It is full game mode that sequentially takes players through the very basics of the game to advanced techniques, all the while simulating each hurdle through intuitive mini-games and control based puzzles.
Instead of treating instructions as bland rote-learning exercises, the game makes a lot of effort towards making the act of learning game mechanics a natural and fun endeavour.
In addition to the Tutorial mode, the Dojo also contains a Combo mode where players can individually learn and practice each character’s special moves, overdrives and instant-kill attacks.
Furthermore the Dojo also includes a Mission mode. This not only includes 50+ trails that teach practical techniques but also contains actual Match-up tutorials that train players how to tackle fighting against different characters in the game.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator even includes a built in FAQ that can be accessed anytime through the pause menu.
This is, without any exaggeration, the most intuitive and complete tutorial ever to grace this genre and no other fighting game has ever come close to the level of comprehensive set of learning tools as featured in Revelator.
While the game does not feature any changes to move-sets of the 17 characters returning from Xrd Sign, it does feature some slight changes to the system mechanics, which along with the addition of the new cast of characters, adds some variation to the gameplay experience from its predecessor.
Players can take this experience to the versus mode to locally challenge their friends in a one-on-one battle or take the fight online with its assortment of Lobby matches, Ranked matches and Player matches.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator also contains an improved net code that makes matchmaking and online play a much smoother experience than what was possible in Guilty Gear Xrd Sign.
Aside from the core multiplayer gameplay, Revelator also features a good amount of singleplayer content.
For the players interested in the game’s story, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator divides its narrative experience into two parts.
One portion of the story is presented in the game’s arcade menu as ‘Episodes’, which is basically an arcade ladder that tells each character’s individual story as he or she battles through 8 or 9 opponents.
Another portion of the game’s narrative is told in a separate Story Mode.
The content in Story mode takes place right after the stories in each character’s arcade mode/episode.
Just like the story mode in Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, this mode is devoid of any gameplay and acts like a complete OVA anime miniseries which can be considered a 5 hour long season of episodes telling the Guilty Gear Xrd saga.
Unlike Xrd Sign however, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator does not feature any English voice track. While that might be a turn off for some players, the Japanese voice acting with subtitles is actually very faithful to its anime presentation and aesthetics.
In case one is not appraised on the rich history and lore of the Guilty Gear series, the player can make sense of the story by browsing through Revelator’s GG World.
GG World acts like a repository of all the backstory in Guilty Gear universe and is essentially an encyclopaedia filled with Guilty Gear lore and history of each location, organisation and every character in the game.
In addition to all the story related content, Revelator sees the return of the Guilty Gear staple: the M.O.M. mode.
M.O.M. is a souped-up survival mode with RPG elements, which grants medals for players to level up their characters; allowing them to tackle more challenging fights as well as earn in-game currency called W$.
W$ can also be earned by playing through any of the aforementioned online or offline game modes and it allows players to unlock content like art work, system voices, music tracks and additional colour palettes.
On the basis of updates to its presentation and gameplay, Revelator may be considered a glorified expansion of Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, however the amount of updated content it contains justifies its moniker as a proper sequel to Xrd Sign.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is a gorgeous, feature-rich fighting game that contains unprecedented amount of accessibility, without compromising on its gameplay depth and is recommended for anyone who likes anime visuals and is a fan of fighting games.