As some of you already know, I’m not proficient at fighting games. I’m okay at best. Hand me a Ken, Kazuya or any other “K” character and I can do a decent job. What I’ve come to accept is that most fighting games don’t go beyond a surface level story. Their primary focus tends to be core mechanics and, lately, online connectivity. Imagine my surprise, then, when Guilty Gear arrives. Equipped with a myriad of modes and a completely cinematic story mode that’s essentially just a huge anime show with no fighting to break it up. At first, I was skeptical, but upon reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that this was a great idea for a great game overall. As such, we bring you our Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator review.
Look and Feel
The game’s overall presentation is fantastic. With an incredibly-detailed anime art style and truly unique designs, it was bound to capture my attention. These qualities bleed in to the various move-sets, including flashing finishing moves that cause instant death to your opponents.
Each character has their own elaborate entrance and victory pose for matches. The entrances, in particular, are more impressive than most other games. The dialogue adapts to characters that have a connection in the lore. For instance, Ky Kise will acknowledge his victory over Sol Badguy in his ultimate move differently than he would, say, Jack-O. All of this makes the as-you-would-expect fighting portion more enticing. It’s a welcome cherry on top.
The menus are sleek, the voice actors are amazing and the game just screams quality for the most part.
We get it. You love it. Is it perfect though?
It’s not without its flaws, however. Though the voice acting is well done, I can’t say the same for the general audio. The soundtrack is fine, but the sounds of attacks hitting, or set-pieces in the Story Mode lack presence. As if they’re entirely absent of base. There’s no punch to an explosion. No heft to an ultimate move. For all the visual spectacle, the poor sound quality at times breaks the immersion. That’s a damn shame for such a good game.
Add to that the equally-poor effects for beam attacks, backgrounds and explosions of all kinds. Not to mention, for as amazing as the character models are, the way they move in the Story is jarring. You can see that a great deal of the budget went towards the models themselves.
A final issue is the subtitles. They’re often hard to read. Lacking a prominent drop shadow or stroke to make it stand out from the background. Given that it’s Japanese audio only, subtitle visibility is essential.
The game rides an impressive, visual high for the majority of its run, especially in the arcade modes, but the lows hit pretty hard. Harder than Sol himself. Though often only for a moment, it’s still there throughout the story, and with no gameplay to distract you from it, it becomes more apparent.
Again; I’ve never played a Guilty Gear game before, so I don’t know if this is a regular occurrence, but a Story Mode without gameplay shocked me.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator apparently picks up from where the previous Xrd game (SIGN?) left off. It offers a summary of the events that led up to where we are now and then dives right in.
Rough Plot Summary, anybody?
From what I understand (at the risk of being crucified by the fighting game community), Gears were developed to aid humanity. Eventually, they rebelled, led by the first “conscious” Gear; Justice, and humanity was pushed to the brink of extinction.
The next century was spent at war with the Gears. It became known as the “Crusades”. The Holy Order, an elite unit of knights, was formed and they worked alongside the only Gear to escape Justice’s domination: Sol Badguy. Sol defeated Justice, and all was well…. for a while.
The Xrd Rough Summary
With peace restored, naturally these people need a reason to keep fighting. A girl claiming to be “Valentine” declares war on the world. Because it’s a Wednesday night. What else are you going to do? After numerous failed attempts, Ky Kise – the First King of Illyria – and Sol Badguy unite to take down Valentine and restore peace once more, but the second close-encounter has left the foundation shaken.
Ramlethal (the aforementioned “Valentine”) is captured with the help of El, but she refuses to talk about who she’s working on behalf of. Sin grows close to Ramlethal and she eventually sides with the humans. A cradle emerges from the sky and wipes out the forces that attempt to take it down.
It seems the Cradle’s aim is to resurrect Justice. They do, and the united forces of Illyria come together to stop the plot of the Conclave by killing Justice once again.
It turns out El is actually Elphelt Valentine, activated after Justice’s resurrection. Sol makes a heartfelt speech to her and wakes her up from whatever brain-washing stuff she’s going through. She’s swept away in to the sky, aware she’s being torn from her friends. Remlethal sees the value of frienship and vows to save El, stating that “Mother was wrong. You and I are not tools”.
Sol brushes off the touchy-feely stuff and the group resolve to save El from her Mother.
That’s a beefy back-story. What about now?
So we, the player, learn that the Mother is actually the leader of the United Kingdoms of Illyria. The other characters are investigating Gear anomalies appearing and exploding around the world. Plots are in motion and El is at risk of becoming one with Justice to create the ultimate “human”.
No Spoilers. Don’t worry. Thoughts to follow.
So this is a full, cinematic story in the truest sense. It took me about 3 hours to watch it all, maybe more, and it left me craving more time in this world. All of the characters are genuinely interesting and the looming threat of destruction is well-portrayed.
The various character arcs all come together neatly and the resolution is satisfying. In the Look and Feel section, you’ll have noticed my complaints about some background elements, sound and general walking of character models not being as good as they could. Those issues aside, this story is the best I’ve ever seen in a fighting game and the characters are as good as many I’ve seen outside of the genre. I never thought I’d write so much about a fighting game’s story mode, but here it is. Once again, that general animation is phenomenal.
When you’re not being captivated by the great story, you probably purchased this game to fight. Lucky for you, there’s plenty of that.
At its core, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is a 2D fighting game. Easy to play, difficult to master. There’s a focus on playing to the character’s strengths. Some are better at keeping your enemies at bay, whilst others are more effective with close-range, heavy-hitting combos. Each comes with their own special moves that can be performed by charging the Tension meter (think Super meter).
The game comes with an in-depth tutorial, an additional training section, Missions to give you a sense of reward for learning different characters and more to hone your skills. The training ranges from the very basics of movement to cancels, combos and a wealth of fighting game goodies beyond my comprehension. Even I, stewing in mediocrity, found the basics easy to grasp. Maybe not as simple as Street Fighter, given that the dash mechanics add depth to this game that you don’t normally see, but simple enough once you’ve adapted.
Once you’re confident, you can pick from one of 23 characters (3 of which are locked) and get to brawling. Arcade mode gives you the typical fighting game experience with short story prologues and epilogues from the respective character perspective. The events of Arcade Mode happen 3 days before the beginning of the Story Mode. I recommend getting through Arcade Mode to add context to certain things in the Story Mode. It’s not necessary, but it’ll help.
In M.O.M mode, you’ll pick a character and choose who to face for the reward of “Medals”. Enemies have 0, 1 or 2 stars to indicate a more rewarding opponent. It’s a survival style mode with two rounds per match, but if you win, certain special medals can be equipped for use on your character. The medals may enhance your skills passively or give a helpful boost on activation. This may be the focus for solo players once they’ve torn through the fairly large amount of single player content. The regular medals work as a currency to purchase other items you can equip and customise your favourite character with.
The online portion of the game has a unique twist. You’ll access the a lobby from your chosen region (which I believe you can change) and you’ll be given an adorable little avatar. It can customised, but we’ll get to that later. This avatar hangs around a palace garden and, when you’re ready for a match, you actively sit at an arcade machine and wait for a player two to run up from the lobby. It’s a clever use of lobbies because you can physically see the active members before the fights and the avatars are just a bonus.
In my experience, the network play was smooth. No lag on my end. I failed miserably, but it was definitely my own fault. I think I’ll revisit this mode just by virtue of the cool lobby avatars.
Yes. Collectibles. Throughout the main modes of the game, you’ll earn World Dollars. You can use these to directly unlock art, character colours and other things. OR you could do the fun thing and gamble 2,000 to literally fish 10 random bits out at a time with your cool little avatar (featured in the online segment!).
I’m no completionist, but unlocking everything in the game could keep you busy for a long time.
Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator has a fantastic story, gorgeous character models, great acting and solid mechanics. I prefer the more casual experience of Street Fighter, or maybe it’s a familiarity thing, but the deeper movement elements of this game are impressive and push it beyond my level in all honesty. Still, the game’s extensive training options made even a novice like myself capable of getting through the solo modes and having fun.
There are a fair few fighters floating around the Playstation platforms right now. My novice opinion might not count for much, but the strength of its story makes this an easy recommendation on my part. No fighting game of the few I’ve played has given me this level of investment in its characters, and you can bet your last penny that I’m looking out for future installments.
About this Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator Review.
Game: Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator