Review: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
  • Arcade

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (9.90 GB)
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 exists in an odd place somewhere between an expansion and a full release.

Available both as an upgrade to last year’s Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator and as a standalone title, Rev 2 adds a few things to Revelator for those who upgrade or the combination of everything for the standalone version.

Gameplay:
Nothing has changed from a true gameplay perspective. All of the base level systems from Revelator, and by extension Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, are here.

The main reason for this expansion is to add a couple more characters and balance the existing cast.

There are a few minor upgrades too, and of course some new story to flesh out Revelator’s Story mode. This review will focus on the new stuff. For the Guilty Gear Xrd Sign base gameplay read my Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- review.

The game’s new characters are Baiken and Answer, both of which have appeared in some capacity in past Guilty Gear games. Baiken was a boss character all the way back in the first Guilty Gear and appeared as a playable character in most games until the Xrd series. Answer is Chipp’s assistant who appeared only in the Story mode in the previous Xrd games but makes his first playable appearance here.

Baiken is a one-armed, one-eyed samurai who hides a variety of weapons in her empty sleeve. In past games, one of her main mechanics was the ability to input certain moves while blocking. She operates much the same here, but now in order to get those special moves, she has to block using a special command-block.

Having tried her out in past games, I found it pretty easy to fall back into playing. A lot of Baiken’s moveset is pretty similar to her last outing which helped. Her blocking mechanic was the part that took (is taking) some getting used to. Not only because of the button change but because the timing took me a little practice to get.

Answer, on the other hand, I found a little tougher to play. Like Chipp, he seems to fall into the fast-ninja archetype. But where Chipp focuses a little more on getting in and staying in the opponent’s face, Answer seems to have a lot more zoning and keep-away options. Though I found him tough to play, I like a lot of the options he has.

… The Xrd series still continues to dazzle with the graphics …
The rest of the cast have minor changes for balance reasons but otherwise should play similarly to how they did in Revelator. I’m curious to see how these balance changes shake up the professional metagame but admittedly I’m not good enough at it to notice most of the changes.

Modes are pretty much the same as Revelator as well. The Arcade mode adds the ability to play not only as the new characters, but also the DLC characters who didn’t previously have an Arcade mode. Story mode is still the no-gameplay story as before but it adds some more to the end. Suffice it to say, outside of the characters, Rev 2 doesn’t add a whole lot of content.

Visuals:
The Xrd series still continues to dazzle with the graphics. With a super cel-shaded style, the game evokes the feeling of the old 2D games but with extra flare that is afforded by the move to 3D. The ability to have the camera fly around the combatants after a match or to zoom in and rotate while watching a replay just wouldn’t be possible with sprites.

Baiken and Answer look great, of course. Interestingly, it seems like they’ve kept one of Baiken’s quirks from the 2D days. Because the games would simply flip the sprites when characters swapped sides, it would appear that Baiken’s missing arm changed sides. That’s still the case here, either as homage to the past or just to ensure that hit boxes and things all work out the same regardless of side.

Audio:
The music in the Guilty Gear series is always great and Rev 2 continues the trend. This game only adds a few tracks but what is there is already incredibly solid.

To the chagrin of some fans, Rev 2 does not add back in the dubbed English voices that Revelator took out. My only complaint with the Japanese voices would be that there were a few occasions where the subtitles went by too fast to read in the Arcade mode.

… I was at least able to enjoy myself and the lag was tolerable …
Online/Multiplayer:
Again, Rev 2 doesn’t really change much from Revelator when it comes to online options. The one minor change is that players no longer need to sit in the large 64 person lobbies in order to create smaller rooms to play with friends. Other than that, the netcode and options remain much the same. And unfortunately the PS4 version still doesn’t have the ability to invite players, instead relying on passwords to help players find one another.

I played a good twenty matches online against an opponent on the East Coast and the experience was acceptable, at least for my level of play. Delay hovered between five to six frames, for a connection the game considered either one or two bars out of four. Obviously connection strength can vary wildly, but I was at least able to enjoy myself and the lag was tolerable.

Interestingly, the game includes the ability to roll the version back to Revelator. Since most of the content is also in the Rev 2 side, this probably won’t be necessary too often. The exception is online, in which Revelator players can only play with Revelator and Rev 2 with Rev 2. However, by rolling back to Revelator, Rev 2 players can play with those who haven’t upgraded though obviously without the new characters.

Conclusion:
The Guilty Gear Xrd series is still great. The fighting is tight and fluid, with a large array of characters with different playstyles to choose from. Rev 2 adds some new characters to the roster and some other more minor upgrades but doesn’t change the excellent gameplay. In that respect, Rev 2 is fantastic and well worth picking up.

But the question of upgrading is more nuanced and really comes down to whether the price tag is worth two new characters, some small balance changes, and the ability to continue playing online – as I anticipate the Revelator servers will slowly dry up as players upgrade. In a way, more characters is more content for a game like this but in terms of actual content, Rev 2 does not add much.

This is a really hard kind of thing for me to review. In one sense, this upgrade route is an improvement over the PS2 era Guilty Gear games where each balance update had to be a full retail game. Here it’s a more expansion-priced upgrade for those who stay up-to-date with the series. For those who don’t, the retail package is budget priced and is a great value for anyone who passed up on Revelator the first time.

The score below reflects my opinion on the overall Guilty Gear Rev 2 package but individual mileage may vary for those not interested in paying for a balance update and a couple of extra characters. In the end I think the quality of the Guilty Gear series speaks for itself and I’ll leave the question of ‘worth the price for upgrading’ to personal preference.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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