By William Haderlie / June 3rd, 2016
One of the areas where this game first surprised me was in the menus. There is a lot to unpack here. Battle separates into Online, Arcade, and Dojo. Online is much like you would expect from a modern fighter with a few pleasant twists involving your avatar and tags and a lot of fun bonuses. There is nothing about it that isn’t better than Sign was. Arcade has Episode which is basically the Arcade Mode from a standard fighter only the computer difficulty will raise or lower depending on your performance and you will earn badges for specific style points, Versus is local PvP and is self explanatory, and the last is M.O.M. M.O.M. is a very interesting mode that has a closest mirror in some of the BlazBlue PS Vita releases. It treats the game almost like an RPG where you can equip and use items, and the enemy can as well, you fight them in a quest to gain loot and badges. This is a very interesting and complex mode and seems to have a lot of potential.
Story Mode is also quite a change in the series. One shocking thing that you will find out is that there is zero fighting in Story Mode. That can be a bit jarring at first, until you realize what Story Mode really is. It’s Guilty Gear Xrd the anime series. There are 5 chapters, each with 2 parts, and each chapter is about 30 minutes long. So Story Mode is basically a 5 part anime series that will take you about 2.5 hours to watch. The craziest thing about this, is that it uses the in-engine models for the entire anime and it still ends up looking amazing. The story for Guilty Gear has always been a bit convoluted, but with this Story Mode I now actually understand far more of its world than I ever have before. And I frankly enjoy it even more than I did before, it tells a really good story. It does help to have some knowledge of the series going in, including the events that happened in the non-fighting game Guilty Gear 2 Overture. But, I think that I would still have enjoyed it if I saw it fresh. I don’t want to spoil too much, the PS4 was even locked out of taking screen shots during the whole story, but there are also some great appearances from other members of the GG world that did not appear in this game. That gets me really excited for their possible future inclusion, because they are fully rendered in this game’s engine, and fully voiced.
Combine the inclusion of the anime with all the various bonuses in the gallery mode (especially nice little VA cast interviews) and all of the cool items you can earn in fishing, and this looks like a greatest hits remaster or something along those lines. But that’s not even the largest reason that this game is worth full price to me, and that reason is its Dojo. I am just going to flat out say that this fighting game is the new king of fighting game tutorials. Dojo has 4 modes with the first being Tutorial, then Combo, Mission, and finally Training. Training is fairly obvious although it has a lot of great editions, you can set COM parameters for days, and there are a ton of tools to practice situations and combos. There is also a much more modern view of what you are doing on your controller and what the proper movement should be. But the Dojo truly shines in the other sections. Tutorial is shown above and takes you through a lot of paces with movement and blocking and jumping and normal attacks and short combos, but it does this using a lot of interesting devices like Jack-O’s minions and course obstacles. It ended up working quite well. After you finish all of that Tutorial section you can also do advanced missions that combine all the lessons and you can get further rewards for completion.
With Combo you are given a set of moves that you need to complete against the COM opponent. They start out with the special moves and then extend to the super and instant kills. Once you have finished all that set, you move to the next stage and start on simple to increasingly complex combos. It is mostly common to modern fighting games, but there are some nice touches added to the hints that it gives you and the way it shows you how to perform the moves on the screen. Missions is a much more complicated mode than Combo is. The game gives you scenarios that will help you to learn how to deal with a real combat situation. It gives you 5 tries and grades you according to your performance, getting all 5 tries is an S rank and 2 or fewer tries fails. You can also gain a lot of rewards for performing well in this mode. This game really has a ton of unlockables and it rewards you frequently with almost anything you do.
The music is wonderful and the new songs are great additions to this storied musical history. But even more than that, there are a ton of songs in here that weren’t present for the last title. They really spent time going back and getting every song from the series, not just the fighting game entries, and remastering them to be up to the quality of the rest of the music. As you use your fight money to fish, there are a ton of song unlocks. Then you can then use in your matches and relive the glory of the old games as well. All the stages are absurdly beautiful and are an improvement even over Sign. And, as you can tell from all the screenshots, the graphics still look amazing even on the 2nd release.
So really, I have nothing bad to say about this title. The only minor complaint I have is that the old characters were not changed much in their balance. But with the new systems (a more thorough article laying them out you can find here at Dustloop), they can feel quite a bit different even without any major move or frame data changes. It’s looking like this will probably be my vote for fighting game of the year, even though I’m a vocal fan of Street Fighter V. Your turn Tekken 7 and King of Fighters XIV, you will have to try even harder to impress me after this quality entry into possibly my favorite fighting game series.
Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Pages: 1 22D Fighting GameAksys GamesArc System WorksGuilty Gear XrdGuilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-PS4