Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Simply put, this is the ultimate Guilty Gear experience. If you already tried your hand on Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- then perhaps you can pass on this, depending on your loyalty to the series. That being said, Having had plenty of experience with Xrd, I still found REVELATOR an absolute joy to play as it stands head and shoulders above pretty much every fighting game on the market today.
To say that I was a fan of Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- would be an understatement. I feel that it is important to establish this because it creates a baseline for where we are at with this game – which is even better. And that is better in just about every way, which is no small accomplishment.
For starters, this game is absolutely gorgeous. The characters are detailed, environments are visually engaging and the smooth 60 frame per second animations are a delight to behold. This is without a doubt the best-looking fighting game I have ever played. The 3D character art layered against gorgeous 2D backgrounds made for a stunning effect in -SIGN- and it remains similar if slightly honed here. The music is spot-on with metal riffs that accentuate the jarring action. If there is a complaint to be had on the presentation front, it is that you are not getting any English voice acting here, meaning that there is a lot of reading to be done.
However, there is some silver lining on even this – because there is a lot of reading to be had. Where as Street Fighter V made the mistake of being a bare bones game upon release, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- is far more fully featured. Want to learn about the characters? Play the arcade mode and read their interactions between matches. This is a much more rewarding format than the entirely too brief story mode Street Fighter V offered up. Want more narrative than that? Check out the story mode, which is basically an animated visual novel. There is no control to be had, but it is a great way to sit back and learn more about the characters and their motivations and the unique world that they inhabit. Heck, you even get a trophy for finishing it.
Since narrative is not usually the strongest aspect of fighting games, it is great to see Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- at least making the effort. These features help to give newcomers some context to the characters that they will be using. Speaking of newcomers, the training mode provides you an easy and effective way to learn the game’s basics but also the title’s more complicated systems. It is great, because a lot of fighting games will have you work on combos by exactingly timing specific move sets. I find this to be frustrating, since many times the button inputs simply do not seem to be what I initially expect. Here everything from basic movement to more complicated chains of commands have a more open, freelancing feel to them during training that I appreciated. Need just a little more assistance? Switch up control schemes so that more stylish and flashy moves can be performed with simple button presses. This helps to accelerate the learning curve, but is no substitution for the more technical control scheme that allows you even greater command over the characters and their moves. On top of all of this? There is a missions mode that gives you specific goals to complete and serves as a low-stress way to get to know your favorite characters without the pressure of competitive play.
And there is a lot to learn here. Roman Cancels, overdrives and the use of the tension gauge are all excellent layers of strategy added to the button mashing mayhem that really allow you to dig in deep and pull out another technical level from the game’s buttery smooth combat. I have always loved the fact that the Guilty Gear games tend to prod players towards aggressive play, and that remains true here today. That is not to say that a turtling strategy cannot work – but I seldom see it as successful as those that are hyper aggressive. However, you have to learn when the right time to pull off a specific move is. If you go in just doing jump kick, low kick followed by a special move, your opponent will quickly figure it out and make short work of you.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- gives you plenty to do with the arcade and mission modes offline, but at the end of the day a fighting game is going to live and die by its online modes. There are not a ton of different options here as you have the traditional ranked and quick matches, but also a rather unusual lobby mode that has you walking about an arcade of sorts to wander about and interact with others in. Best of all? It just works. The gameplay is smooth and I had no connectivity issues to speak of. More than anything, this is the heart of online competition and Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- delivers the goods.
As mentioned in my introduction, the biggest issue with Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- is that it is so similar to -SIGN-. We have some new characters and a new narrative, which is always a great thing. However, the core engine and gameplay are almost identical. This makes this latest game in the series feel more akin to an iterative upgrade than a true sequel. As a full priced game, that could prove a difficult pill to swallow for those who already own -SIGN-. As a result, your mileage may vary. That being said, on its own merits, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- is a fantastic game and one of the best fighters I have ever played and absolutely worth a look if you get the chance.Score: 9.25/10