It hurts to have to bring up Street Fighter V every time we talk about a new fighting game, but lest we forget: Capcom’s latest came out earlier this year. It had essentially no single-player content and drastically buggy online play at launch. It still has no story mode. Games from ten years ago did better on that front, and games today also manage to pull out more content with less time and a lower budget. Street Fighter V was a travesty.
The punctuation-abusing Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, released in late 2014, was most definitely not a travesty, and its expansion/sequel Guilty Gear Xrd – Revelator- hammers another nail in the former king of fighting games’ coffin by being amazing.
The real reason you’ve been waiting for this version of Xrd are the new characters, of course, and they deliver just as you’d expect from a Guilty Gear game. When I say that, I mean that they’re completely off the wall. Take Jack-O’ for instance, a masked girl who turns the game into a bizarre fusion of fighting game and RTS; along with using Jack-O’ herself to attack, you’ll also need to set up little “bases” and sic ghosts on your foes. It’s not easy to get the most out of her and she definitely demands more than your average character.
Other newbies include Raven and Kum Haehyun. The former is your typical badass character who wields throwing knives and has spent the majority of the series as a side character. His most useful tool is a short-range projectile that floats in place momentarily after being thrown, serving a defensive purpose as well as being valuable for traps. Kum, meanwhile, is a huge old man that looks a bit like Gouken from the Street Fighter series…but is actually a mech suit that looks like a huge old man being driven by a ninja girl. Yes, really. Despite this, he’s got the sort of attacks you’d expect from the old martial artist trope, including plenty fireballs, whirlwind kicks and so on. Revelator also reintroduces samurai cowboy Johnny and kung-fu waitress Jam and will later include fan favorite Dizzy, as well as including Sign’s three DLC fighters.
Along with the new fighters, Revelator includes plenty of content to help ease the pain of that $60 price tag. There’s a fantastic series of tutorials, for instance, and a bizarre anime-style story mode that remains something you watch rather than play. You’ve got prologues for each character to check out, but the story mode itself is more of an extended cutscene just as it was in the original Xrd. Still more than Street Fighter V has, I suppose, and of course there’s an arcade mode because every fighter released in 2016 should have one of those without question. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Online play is here as well, naturally, including a strange sort of lobby system with customizable avatars and such; this is cute, but more importantly the game works where it matters with minimal lag and input delay while fighting others over the Internet.
Revelator continues Sign’s legacy of being the best-looking fighting game out there, of course; as with Sign, the graphics are 3D models designed and animated to look like cel-shaded sprites. The effect is striking and distinctive in a way that few games can match, and naturally all the new fighters look just as fantastic as the returning cast. Sound design is fantastic as well, which is something we’ve come to expect from the Guilty Gear series. All that hard rock you’ve come to know and love is present and accounted for.
While the $60 price tag for what is essentially Super Guilty Gear Xrd Turbo might cause a little bit of sticker shock, there’s no denying that Guilty Gear Xrd – Revelator- is worth it. The new fighters alone would be worth a look, but the fantastic tutorials make this a great buy for gamers new to fighting games and the story is, well, it’s more of what the people who like fighting game stories want. In particular, if you’re a dedicated fighting game fan and you haven’t already bought Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, then Revelator is a must-purchase.