Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Guilty Gear Xrd: Revalator

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.5

(+) Pros: - Excellent visuals that are both extremely flashy and beautiful to look at, - Diverse cast of characters, - Core fighting mechanics are fun and pack a ton of depth, but remains beginner-friendly with its godlike tutorial, - Amazing soundtrack from my man Daisuke Ishiwatari, - Great set of online features, - Tons of unlockables that encourage more play time, - Story mode is a blast to look at.

(-) Cons: - Story mode has no need for you to play at all, - Single player is slightly lacking to other Arc System Works games.

Gameplay time: About 3-4 hours for Story Mode, Infinite for everything else

Here we are with the game that I consider to be the 2nd best looking fighting game in the market at the moment (only behind Tekken 7, which looks absolutely godlike). Sure, it might be debated as not many people favor the heavy anime styled visuals that is present in "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator", but nonetheless, it still looks absolutely amazing for what it is, that man you cannot disagree. I've never really had the chance to jump on the "Xrd" train during its first installment as I hadn't got myself a PS4 at the time, and I was probably hooked onto some other games to bother too much about it. So when "Revelator" came out in 2016, I had to give it a go, there's no way I was going to skip this one out. Needless to say, as someone who's loved Arc System's fighters since "Blazblue: Calamity Trigger" (and a little bit of Guilty Gear XX back on the PS2 era), "Xrd Revelator" was an absolute blast to play. Being very similar to its older games, it feels very familiar to fans of the franchise, and even someone like me who had always been more of a "Blazblue" guy...I found the game extremely easy to jump into. If we're looking at the most visually appealing fighting game in the market right now, I'd say "Xrd Revelator" takes the cake.

As I would expect from Arc System Works, they bothered to include an actual story mode into "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator", just like in their "Blazblue" games. Since I never had the opportunity to play "Xrd", it helped a lot that "Revelator" included a "previously on..." prologue episode before the story even begun to fill me in on the events of the previous game. Because of that, I never really missed much, and was able to get into the story rather quickly. It takes place after Elphelt was captured by Ariels, the mother of the Valentines that disguised herself as the supreme will that was even of a higher position than Ky Kiske, the king of his country. She apparently wants to fuse Elphelt with Justice to creature an omnipotent gear that could end the world. Of course, Sol is not going to take that lying down, so he collaborates with Ky Kiske and many others in order to try to find Elphelt and bring her back.

Now THIS is what I'm talking about!

Right off the bat I'm going to get the obvious out of the way, "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator" looks absolutely amazing. I know I know, I pretty much gloated that off at the very beginning, but I have to stress on that fact. It uses 3D  models that mimic those of the old school hand drawn sprites of older games, and it looks great. Characters are incredibly expressive, both in and out of battle, the animation style allows for some very vibrant character expressions on the models. It really looks like a well done CG anime during many sequences. During game play, character attacks look visually impressive, and visual impact when hitting an opponent feels extremely satisfying with giant orange flicks that flash on screen. Stage backgrounds look good too, though they don't do much to interact with the game itself.

With "Xrd: Revelator", the game has a decently healthy selection of 23 characters, 2 of which are DLC characters, which means its a 21 character in the base game itself. That itself is not too amazing, but considering its Arc System works, they do their magic on their character designs. If you've already known GG for awhile, then you should know, the cast is extremely diverse, in both their character designs and styles of game play. Almost everyone feels different from one another, with completely different move sets and fighting styles, ranging from the simplistic close quarters combat of Sol or Ky, to the extremely complex, micro managing combat style of Zato...or even a fighting style centered around kiting enemies from afar with Axl Low. The game has a ton of choices, and while some characters are most definitely a lot harder to use than others, there's always someone that's perfect for any player.

The dynamic camera that zooms in on you when you
launch your enemies into the sky for an air combo is great.

The core mechanics of the game itself are fairly diverse, as expected of a game from Arc System works. If you've played and are mostly familiar with the GG games of old, you should be fine, otherwise, its a game that's fairly similar to "Blazblue", though here, its slightly more complex. You've got your advance guards, your counter breaks and your rapid cancels, but unlike "Blazblue" where you have a button dedicated to a specific character trait, in GG, its all simply just another attack button, so there's certainly going to be a little bit more complicated when it comes to chaining combos and attacks. Still, GG focuses a lot more on using the tension meter on canceling than using special attacks, much more so than BB. Even if you know next to nothing about the game, the tutorial mode is fantastic and should quickly get you up to speed with its various training methods.

Even IF you're already somewhat decent at the game, the game further tries to educate you by providing match-up tips against other characters with the character you are playing as! This is rarely seen in other fighting games, and I'm glad to see Arc System works apply this to "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator"...though this is strangely missing in "Blazblue". Even after ALL that and you STILL want to take it easy, the game has a "Stylish" command input, which pretty much turns the game into "Persona 4:Arena" and lets you blindly mash buttons for standard bread and butter combos. I highly do NOT recommend you to play the game this way though. There are plenty of ways to practise, ranging from the standard Arcade Mode with character intros and outros to training missions in the dojo, which teach you combos for certain characters. All this, combined with an excellent rock-based soundtrack, makes for some damned, good fun.

Ride the f**king fire, Ky.

Alright, now let's get on to the main meat of what GG does really well, its online features. Going online to kick some ass in "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator" is relatively simple because of its online infrastructure. Now, the netcode is decent, but what's really good here is the feature list. They've made a very charming lobby where you get to move a relatively cute avatar around to challenge others. The standard list of to-dos here in a fighting game online lobby are here, you can challenge others one on one, you can go into ranked queues for increasing your rank, you can queue up in individual private lobbies to fight against others as you spectate...the list goes on. The game spots a nice replay theater for you to view past games against players you went up against, and you can keep track of your stats.

Playing the game earns you world dollars, which you can use to purchase many other things in the game store. These include custom themes, character system voices, character color pallete swaps, character icons to use to edit your online profile, items to dress up your online avatar in....and many, many more. There are a metric f**k ton of things you can buy, and you'll accumulate the money quite quickly anyway. Most important is the fact that one of the DLC characters Raven, can be purchased in game with in-game currency (sadly, Kum and Dizzy are still paid DLC if you didn't manage to get them for free during their release windows). Of course, you could technically fish for those...but fishing is incredibly RNG heavy and you usually get useless stuff from it anyway.

Dizzy is bae.

Finally, let's talk about the game's story mode. Its really quite refreshing to see Arc put so much effort into the story. Unlike "Blazblue"'s visual novel styled story telling which is starting to look a little bit aged and old now, "Guilty Gear" uses full blown cut scenes with their characters moving around and talking to each other. In a way, its almost like a full length 3D CG anime film, complete with fully voiced dialogue and its individual arcs within the story that the game splits itself into. I'll be honest, the story is pretty straightforward, but at least its a blast to look at and quite fun to watch from start to finish. Honestly though, after you're done with it, there's no real merit to revisiting it, but at least it was fun while it lasted.

Yeah, these story segments are really great to look at.

Now let's talk about what the game could have done better. For one, the story mode, while fun, is very much just you watching how it plays out. At least in "Blazblue", you could make choices for a more branched out story, and you had to play the fights out yourself. Here in "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator", the story is STRICTLY a movie ONLY. There's no fights that you have to play out, no QTEs like in "Mortal Kombat", nothing. They really could have done something more interactive so that we could feel like we were a part of this story that was being told. Secondly, which is the more important point that I have to get to, is that the game feels a bit light on content compared to other Arc System Works games. Considering this is "GUILTY GEAR", their first and possibly most well known franchise, they could have put more stuff into it, like its own Score Attack mode with insane AI settings or something like that...

Anyway, that's "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator" for you. It's a damned good fighting game that looks freaking amazing, its a game that well deserves its asking price. Now that GG has come to steam, hopefully it gets an even bigger community so that we get more games. With that in mind, "GG Xrd: Rev 2" is coming soon, with Answer and Baiken (f**king finally) on the way. Since we DON'T have to pick up a brand new retail game for the update (thank god), I'll probably be getting that one too...and I can't wait to play as Baiken, who looks incredibly sexy in her new look.

Happy gaming!