Published on June 9th, 2016 | by Elizabeth Henges0
Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- Review (PS4)
This year was supposed to be a big year for fighting games, but it seems that the first half of the year has been a bit of a struggle for the genre. The launch of Street Fighter V was met with extremely divided criticism, and beyond more niche fighters there really hasn’t been any other big releases yet. During this lull, Arc System Works decided to bring out their next fighter, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-, the follow up to 2013’s Xrd -Sign-. Is this update worth picking up?
Most fighting games don’t have much of story to speak of, or it is mostly an afterthought, but like most modern Arc System Works fighters the story is front in center in Revelator. The story mode is pretty much a movie, though–there are no fights to participate in or decisions to make, the player’s job is to simply watch the pretty graphics as the character prattle on using absurd terminology that no series newbie will even begin to understand.
Revelator manages to close up most of the plot threads left hanging in Sign, as well as even wrap up some things from earlier games. There are some questions left unanswered, though, presumably for plot fodder on a future title. The plot does off very slowly, taking over half the viewing time to really get going, but when it does the action doesn’t slow down. Again, though, the story doesn’t really give any sort of newbie clues other than pages and pages to read in an encyclopedia, so unless you’re actually invested in Guilty Gear’s world, the story is overall less than exciting.
But, any qualms about Revelator’s story melt away when you get into the game proper. Revelator essentially plays the same as Sign, for returning fans. There are five separate attack buttons, one being a ‘Dust’ move that sends the enemy flying, if it lands. There are special moves and instant kill moves that can activate if the moment is right. Players can activate different types of ‘Roman Cancels’, which can stun opponents for extended combos or to break out of a combo you’re stuck in. Guarding is important, but players that don’t play aggressively will get hit with penalties and lost their Heat bar, which is used to activate special moves and the more powerful Roman Cancels. It all plays extremely well and matches are fast, aggressive, and it’s just flat out fun to fight.
Guilty Gear has always been a fighter leaning a bit more towards the more technical side of things, and Revelator is no exception. However, the one way that Revelator has improved over Sign is how to teach the new players the ropes. Sign gave players a tedious and uninformative tutorial to work through, then essentially threw them to the wolves, leaving it up to extensive time in Training or a helpful veteran to help new players out. Revelator, on the other hand, has a far more well-made tutorial, along with additional mini games to test what you’ve learned in new ways. It makes all the various mechanics and bars of Guilty Gear a lot less intimidating. There are even FAQs in the pause menu of each mode, helping players understand what they have to do to succeed.
Beyond the typical Arcade and Online modes, there are also the Dojo and Challenge modes, which help players learn more advanced skills and specific character moves, and M.O.M. mode, which is a bit like an RPG with levels, stats, and loot to gain. There’s quite a bit to do in Revelator, even beyond the online community, giving those who may not want to tough it out online enough bang for their buck.
One of modern Guilty Gear’s claims to fame are its stunning graphics. Sign took the series out of its 2D pixelated route and updated it with gorgeous 3D graphics that work incredibly well with the 2D nature of the game itself. But, at the same time, this allows for more flexibility with the animations themselves, creating some extremely flashy and impressive looking special moves. Moreover, the entire Story mode is done with these in-game graphics, and looks particularly great as a result, a few low framerate issues aside.
Guilty Gear is a series with heavy rock influences, and of course the music in Revelator is no different. Revelator’s tracks are mostly the same as Sign’s, with new tracks for new characters and a few additional songs written for the Story and Arcade modes. The tracks are top notch, and the older themes for available for purchase with the title’s in-game currency. The music is great if you like rocking soundtracks, though that is all Guilty Gear has to offer on the musical front. Also, oddly enough, Revelator only has Japanese audio this time around, though this is arguably an improvement over Sign’s English voicework.
Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- has a good shot at being one of the best fighters of the year. With smooth gameplay (complete with improved netcode) and beautiful graphics, this title strikes a stylish chord that’s bound to get any gamer’s attention. With the gameplay tweaks and the more intuitive ways to teach the ropes, Revelator is more welcoming to newcomers than any of the series’ previous entries, as well. Now’s never a better time to give this series a try.
Summary: Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- is a wondering fighting game, taking its predecessor and improving on the core formula in all the right ways.