Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 Review, A Mixed Blessing
The Guilty Gear franchise has a convoluted game history that is difficult to decipher for most cursory fans of the franchise; it is often difficult to understand if a new Guilty Gear game is a sequel, an update or a port and that is certainly the case with Rev 2. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 isn’t entirely a brand-new game but an expansion to the Guilty Gear Xrd games, just like Mortal Kombar XL was to Mortal Kombat X and Ultra Street Fighter 4 was to Street Fighter 4 games.
While the game is the 17th entry in the Guilty Gear series, Rev 2 is, in fact, the 3rd game in the Xrd series and a direct update to Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator. As such it is available as both a digital DLC update for owners of Revelator on PS4, PS3 and Steam, as well as a standalone PS4 disk release that includes complete base game and the expansion content.
Gamers have often given Capcom a bad rap for producing multiple variations of a fighting game, however, most don’t realize that forget that Arc System Works has been much worse in that department. Guilty Gear X2 alone had 6 versions of the game.
Unlike Super, AE and Ultra Street Fighter 4, all of these Guilty Gear versions were only available as a full price separate game; each featuring next chapter of the narrative, requiring fans to buy multiple versions to continue the story, instead of allowing them to experience the whole story with purchase of latest title.
With Rev 2, Arc System Works seem to have changed their tune and treated the update like an expansion rather than a sequel. This is, in fact, the first time when players have been given the choice of updating their current Guilty Gear game with an expansion content.
Full Game Impressions:
As a standalone game, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is an amazing package that is filled to the brim with quality content.
Part of what makes Guilty Gear great is its cast of peculiar fighters and Rev 2 has no shortage of eccentric characters; the game’s roster is an eclectic collection of fighters including a katana wielding cowboy pirate, a dandy immortal vampire, a spunky brawling chef, a saucy guitar wielding witch, a headstrong ninja politician, a mad doctor who wears a paper bag and an assassin that attacks with his shadow.
The game contains enough character variety to cater for all gameplay styles; featuring that roster ranges from hulking grapplers and nimble slashers to stay away zoners, pressure heavy fighters and everything in between.
With the ability to select from 25 varied characters and fight in 22 beautifully realized stages, players can partake in Guilty Gear’s classic fast-paced, air-dash and combo heavy gameplay with mechanics that reward aggressiveness and forward momentum.
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 continues with the Guilty Gear series’ traditional 5 button game mechanics; and while these deep and complex of its game mechanics have history resulted in a steep learning curve that deterred new incomers, Rev 2 fully embraces the needs of the new player without ever compromising on the depth of its gameplay systems.
Rev 2 not only allows players a choice between conventional Technical controls and Stylish type that allows for simpler blocking, combos, and moves with a limited moveset, but also features an in-built FAQ for the game as well as a fun in-depth tutorial mode called Dojo.
The Dojo is one of the most comprehensive sets of learning tools that contains Combo mode where players can individually learn each character’s special moves, overdrives, and instant-kill attacks as well as a Mission mode that teaches practical techniques and actual Match-up tutorials that trains players against different characters in the game.
Players can utilize what they have learned and apply their skills to locally challenge their friends locally in a one-on-one battle in the versus mode, or take the fight online with its assortment of Lobby matches, Ranked Matches, and Player matches.
However, if multiplayer is not your bag, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 also features a features a good amount of singleplayer content that can satiate any one player fighting game fan.
Aside from the usual vs CPU match in the versus mode, players can partake in the returning M.O.M mode; 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$, which can be used to unlock content like art work, system voices, music tracks and additional colour palettes.
Rev 2 also features an Episode mode that is an arcade styled vs. CPU 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, which is essentially 5+ hours of OVA anime episodes that continues the Guilty Gear story after the stories in each character’s arcade mode/episode.
Unfortunately, just like Revelator, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 features only Japanese voice acting for all its characters and cutscenes, which means Rev 2 players will have to contend without any English voice track and rely on subtitles.
However as far the game’s audio-visual presentation goes, that is where all the negatives end.
Rev 2 features a bombastic sound design that features a mix of hard rock and heavy metal music, which is not only catchy but also serves to amp up the player and lends itself well to the kinetic on-screen battles.
Speaking of battles, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 features a mix of gorgeous cel-shaded graphical style and buttery smooth animations, that not only do a bafflingly amazing job of making 3D models look like high-end 2D sprites, but look so good in motion that it is guaranteed to take the breath away of any person that loves action oriented anime visuals.
Guilty Gear has always been an amazing fighting game that contains everything from gorgeous presentation, feature-rich modes, and deep gameplay mechanics; and now with its character additions, rebalancing and gameplay improvements, Rev 2 is most definitely the best version of Guilty Gear Xrd in the market. Thus, it is hard not to recommend Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 to anyone who does not own Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator already.
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 as a DLC Update:
Unfortunately, as a $20 DLC expansion, the new content provided by Rev 2 seems a little wanting and is more like the underwhelming Arcade Edition (AE) update of SSF4 rather than robust expansion that was Ultra Street Fighter 4.
What that means is that Rev 2 a far less ambitious update that many fans hoped for, and might not contain enough additions and changes to the content of its predecessor to warrant a purchase for players that already own Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator.
Aside from a spruced-up design of the menu screen and user interface, the most overt change in Rev 2 is the addition of 2 stages and 4 new fighters to the mix; two of which, Kum Kaehyun and Dizzy, have been available as DLC for Revelator for almost a year.
The 2 new characters that are exclusive to Rev 2 update are Answer and Baiken.
The answer is a “Business Ninja” who fights in a business suit and throws around scrolls and uses business cards as kunai/shuriken. He can utilize these items to exert fast and constant pressure by either teleporting to the business cards or launching shadow clones from them.
The game also sees the return of the much requested Baiken; a stylish one-handed female samurai, who has been mainstay character since the start of the series and a favorite amongst the Guilty Gear community and fans.
Apart from the introduction to a couple of new characters, Rev 2 also features changes to game systems and re-balancing of the entire 23 character roster from the previous game.
While there are some very small system changes that include time and input buffers for different Roman Cancels, tension gain during Danger Time and properties for charged Blitz attack, the meat of the changes focus on the roster re-balancing that reworks most of the cast while introducing new moves to a few characters including Ky, Mila, Bedman, and Ramlethal.
Though fans of the old character moveset need not worry, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 even has an option that gives players the ability to switch between Revelator and Rev 2, making it easy to go back to gameplay of the old version for a smoother transition.
Additionally, Rev 2 features new story episodes for Baiken, Answer, Jam, Dizzy, Kum Haehyun, and Raven, as well as an additional epilogue chapter in the game’s Story Mode and a new summary to get players back to speed with the series’ convoluted tale.
Aside from the 2 new characters, 2 stages, moveset rebalance and new story chapters, Rev 2 also contains new options for online lobbies and ranked matches, revamped hub menu, chats options, icons and a variety of new cosmetic content including avatars decorations for the online lobby, items for fishing mini-game, more gallery artwork and digital figures.
Considering the fact that Ultra Street Fighter 4 was a $15 update to SSF4 and offered 5 new characters, 6 new stages, a new edition select game mode, new features like Network Simulation and Offline battle logs, as well as new gameplay mechanics like Ultra Combo Double, Red Focus Attack, and Delayed Standing, Rev 2’s updates look a little less impressive for its $20 asking price.
However, despite its seemingly sparse offerings, the Rev 2 upgrade offers enough new content to satisfy any Guilty Gear fan, and is still of better value than the $20 Mortal Kombat XL/Kombat Pack 2 upgrade that only offered 4 new characters and couple of skins.
While Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 might seem like a tough sell for owners of previous Xrd versions, the $40 standalone game offers immense value with its plethora of game-modes, solid game mechanics, breathtaking graphics and bombastic sound design and is a must-buy for anyone who does not own any version of Guilty Gear Xrd.