By William Haderlie / June 3rd, 2016
|Title||Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-|
|Developer||Arc System Works|
|Release Date||June 7, 2016|
|Genre||2D Air Dash (Anime) Fighting Game|
|Age Rating||ESRB T for Teen|
There was minor trepidation on my part when I first booted up the newest title in the Guilty Gear universe of games, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-. This has nothing to do with Guilty Gear itself, or even the previous entry Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, which was wonderful. No, the apprehension was due to the history of this franchise, and as much as I love GG (possibly my favorite among all fighting game series) Arc System Works has been known to milk this franchise a little bit in the past. For as much flak as Capcom gets for milking Street Fighter, one only has to look at the release history of GG to see a far more glaring example. So I had two major concerns going in, was this just a cash grab to introduce 5 more characters (eventually 6 when Dizzy gets introduced) and bring it up to speed with the arcade edition? Or were there enough changes to make up for the full asking price of $59.99 MSRP? The answer turned out to be almost entirely yes, this is worth the full asking price and is not just merely an incremental upgrade. I was pleasantly surprised.
First I’ll start out with the new characters. Even with a lot of other content, this will always be the highlight of new releases. First up, especially for me, is the return of Jam Kuradoberi. She has always been one of my favorite characters from the Guilty Gear series. Her Engrish (sic) translations may put some people off a bit, but it’s because she is Chinese and is speaking Japanese, and not very well. But she has a very positive and infectious spirit, her character is really fun, especially her Destroy Finisher. As for as the way she fights, she is a fairly speedy character with fast move speed and dashes, and she can cover a lot of ground with her kick specials. She can charge up her three primary kick specials and also combo them together. She can be a little advanced because of needing to hit confirm a lot of her combos and not having the greatest okizemi game, but I love having her back in the roster.
The resident husbando of the Guilty Gear universe, Johnny, has also returned the cast. He is part of the pirate crew that May is also a member of, and he is the only male, so that is basically his harem. While he is an outlaw, he also has deep ties with many individuals both shady and royal, especially the King Leo Whitefang. He will initially seem to be a cool and easy character to play, certainly against a Normal level COM opponent you should have an easy time. His sword strikes are very quick and directional, including in the air. However, he has some very serious weaknesses, especially against constant pressure. Keeping your opponent at mid-range is very important. He can also use his coins to power up his sword attacks two levels.
That last quasi-returning cast member is Raven. The reason I preface it that way is that he was introduced in Guilty Gear 2 Overture, and has never appeared in any of the fighting game entries. So while not new to the world, he has a completely new playstyle and move set to the series. He also now owns the prize for the most accurate character name in the series. He fights like… a raven. Projectiles, between his quick deadly nails and the larger spinning ball of death, are a major part of his game, but the secret to success with him is his flight. He has some very quick dives and strange angles when you are used to the normal GG air dashes. And he is extremely fast in general, so it can seem like you are fighting against a bird when you go against him. He is not initially unlocked but you can spend 200,000 of the game dollars (earned within any mode of the game, including tutorials) to unlock him.
The first of the entirely new characters is Jack-O, and she figures very prominently in this newest phase of the story. She is also part of the Valentine series of created humans/androids, just as Elphelt and Ramlethal are. She has more of Ariel in her, but her personality is also a lot more unstable and she is quite the trickster, as her name would suggest. Jack-O is also a very strange character for the GG fighting game, almost everything she is great at is indirect damage. If you thought Faust’s toys were annoying, wait until you get a load of this girl. On the lower left you can see 4 icons, and on the far left you can see 3 gauges. The 4 icons represent her P lantern, K lantern, S lantern, and Shield. She can use each of these in sequence, but if the lanterns are destroyed they have a cooldown before they can be cast again.
You can also pick them up and throw them for repositioning or damage, and you can also recall them so they maintain their level but don’t get destroyed. The longer they are out, the more minions they send after the enemy and the more their level rises. With each level the minion’s attacks grow more powerful and the lanterns gain more health. The minions can attack from above, straight, or below, so having all 3 sets up can be super annoying for the enemy, especially if you are also harassing them with Jack-O herself. She is a very advanced character, because her normals are frankly not the best in the world and her supers really suck. But those minions can do quite a bit of damage at level 3 and they are the worst kind of interrupters.
The last of the new cast members (until Dizzy is released) is Kum Haehyun. By all appearances, especially in the Story Mode, he appears to be a giant and wise sage called a Tuner, and he seems to use those tuning abilities mostly to heal others from a devastating illness that is attacking the people of Japan. However, it is revealed that the body is more of a mech suit for a small girl that is commanding it from inside. Apparently she is the real Tuner. He is a DLC character that you can obtain for free if you pre-order the game. However, he was not included in my Review copy, therefore I have only seen him/her in the story and in some fight footage from Japan. He seems to be a solid and unique addition to the cast, his playstyle reminds me a lot of Heihachi Mishima from the Tekken franchise, only with limited distance fireball projectiles.
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