As a scrubby and forever-in-training fighting game player, I’ve always had a soft spot for Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear series. They have always been that type of game that look and play beautifully, with finesse. It’s the type of game that I can never get any good at, no matter how much time I put into it, even if I have fun playing.
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- was a weird pick for me to stop and try out at the show floor during E3. Mostly because I passed by the booth and never really stopped to read the visual cacophony of words that were plastered on the name sign for this game. One look at the screen, though, had me glued to it, controller in hand, button mashing furiously.
Like previous entries in the series, Xrd is a gorgeous game. Just about any move you pull off is a series of effects and colors that really pop out. And now that Guilty Gear is running off of the Unreal Engine, all characters are actual polygonal models fighting in a 2D plane. The resulting overlay of this art style works extremely well in tricking you into thinking you are doing well in fights even if you hardly know how to play the game.
And that’s how Xrd called me out to it. What grabbed me, though, was one new character in particular, called Foust, a paper bag wearing psycho who has no particular fighting style but managed to be quite deadly — in my untrained eyes, anyway. That was mostly due to his tricks and juvenile antics, like the anime honed tradition of sticking fingers where they don’t belong.
Aside from the crude humor, it was clear that Arc System Works is going for an even bigger sense of drama during fights. Dynamic camera shifts take place during special moves, as well as taunts between characters that help expand their personality past just their flashy visuals.
It’s that kind of charm that should build a fighting game, along with the underlying depth that Guilty Gear is known for. Xrd shares the same complexity the series has always offered. After a quick look at the moves list, it was clear I was nowhere near the sheer absurdity the later combos in the game can get, as the demo video shows.
All in all, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- is shaping up to be yet another fantastic option for fighting game fans looking for something to play on PlayStation 3 and 4 later this year.