I really should dig deep to try and find some outrage regarding the iterative model of fighting game releases. I mean, we just got a new Guilty Gear Xrd last year, yet here’s another one. A solid decade or so of fighting fans being mad at just about everything has kind of wrung me dry when it comes to outrage, and frankly I just love me some fightin’ too much to get upset about them.
With that in mind, I don’t hate Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. I kinda like it, actually. In fact, I really like it, and as a continuing fan of the ever-expanding Xrd series I think it’s worth a look.
If you’ve played last year’s Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- or 2014’s Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- then things haven’t changed too much and you can safely upgrade if you enjoyed those games. If you haven’t: this is a fighting game in the same hyperkinetic style as BlazBlue with a focus on special character mechanics and glorious cel-shaded graphics. There are a bunch of wacky fighters to choose from that support all the various playstyles, from zoning to rushdown, that we know and love; if you’d rather not fight, you can sit back and watch the story mode, which is literally just an OVA or visual novel that doesn’t include any combat.
What’s new in REV 2? Well, you’ve got your new characters, as per usual. This time we’ve got Baiken and Answer; Baiken’s only “new” in the technical sense, as she’s been around since the original Guilty Gear. She’s all about counterattacks, powerful katana strikes and knocking people into the air by stomping a tatami mat – y’know, the usual samurai stuff. Answer, meanwhile, is a business ninja, by which I mean he’s a ninja in a business suit who’s perpetually on his phone while smacking people down using business card ninjutsu.
It’s cooler than it sounds, though I found that Answer’s a little tougher to pick up and use than most characters thanks to his focus on positioning and setup for his attacks. The new characters are great, though for my money the best fighter in Xrd continues to be gun-wielding bride Elphelt who was introduced in Sign.
Other than that? Well, you’ve got all the DLC characters from Revelator, so that’s nice if you haven’t bought them already! The story mode’s got more content; you might recall that you don’t actually play the story mode, so that’s not going to appeal to everyone, but it’s there. There are some new backgrounds to fight in, there’s been a balancing pass all around as expected and you’ve got new Episode Mode fights for characters that didn’t previously have those. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to have the latest and greatest if you’re interested in having people to fight with, as it’s expected that most players are going to migrate to REV 2.
If you’re a fighting game fan and you haven’t tried any of the revisions of Guilty Gear Xrd yet, you’re really missing out. Even if you end up disliking the mechanics or failing to find a character that clicks for you, it’s impossible to deny that Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 remains one of the best-looking video game series available on PC or console and it’s worth taking a look for that alone. Newcomers with the cash and vets should certainly cough up for REV 2, the best iteration on the series yet. For those a bit more wary, you can pick up -Sign- for around twenty bucks these days, so give that a shot to find out if you’re going to enjoy the more recent and expensive titles.