Fighting games have a reputation of not being friendly to those new to the genre, and it’s one that is completely deserved. The vast majority of fighting games don’t have tutorials, let alone in-depth ones, and a lot of games in the genre expect players to just figure out the systems it has in place. This has negatively impacted the appeal of fighting games, and it’s something the genre needs to overcome in order to stay relevant. Thankfully, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- has set a new standard for accessible play, and has taken the genre to a new level.
Before we get into what’s so exciting about –REVELATOR-, it’s worth noting that it’s largely the same game as its predecessor. It’s using the same engine that -SIGN- did, and the graphical style (which actually uses 3D models despite looking like a 2D game) is still amazing to see in action. There’s six new characters (raising the total to 23), although three of them are locked by default (which is pretty lame when you consider that’s a large reason why people are buying the game). One needs to be bought with in-game currency, and the others are DLC (which is completely ridiculous). In fact continuing the grand tradition of fighting games having a ridiculous amount of DLC, there’s over $40 worth of character colors, online avatars and system voices for the game. It’s gross to see especially on day one.
While the six new fighters are a ton of fun to use (especially Jack-O Valentine, who can summon annoying ghosts that attack the opposing player), they aren’t the star of the new package. Instead an amazing suite of training tools make this one of the best fighting games for beginners. That’s saying a lot, since Guilty Gear is on the more complicated end of the fighting game spectrum, but some of the simplest fighting games don’t even have a basic tutorial in place.
Show Me Your Moves
The original Guilty Gear Xrd had a solid tutorial, but it still wasn’t ideal. It basically consisted of about 40 minutes of going through menus and practicing specific inputs (which granted was still leagues better than most fighting games). This time around Arc System Works have upped the bar even further, and teach basic concepts like movement and combos through short obstacle courses.
They’ve managed to make learning the game’s ins and outs enjoyable, rather than a monotonous grind. This goes a long way in order to introducing the player to the game’s many systems. Sure, veteran players will know all about air dashing and high jumps, but popping a balloon out of the air is a great way for newcomers to learn why they want to use these advanced types of movement.
That’s just scraping the surface of what the veteran gaming developer has done here, though. There’s step-by-step instructions on how to use each character’s special moves (and how to incorporate them into combos) in a special combo mode. Plus, 90 different missions that will slowly teach new players about fighting game standards (such as poking) and specific match-ups. I even learned a plenty from these in-depth tutorials, and I’ve been playing fighting games for two decades now.
All of these tutorials are stellar, but they aren’t even the game’s greatest addition when it comes to accessibility. Instead, there’s an incredible FAQ that is brought up when players pause the game. It’s written in a casual tone (devoid of the fighting game lingo that litters any guides players will find online), and it’s just an incredible resource. It goes over a lot of questions that gamers would probably get laughed off of fighting game message boards from, such as explaining what all of the on-screen bars do. This is such a huge monumental step forward for the fighting genre, and I really hope more developers follow suit.
Finally, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- has a fantastic stylish control mode for beginners. This isn’t new to the series, or Arc’s games, but it’s implemented differently here when compared to BlazBlue. While the mode will allow players to unleash combos by simply hitting the same button repeatedly, they’re still using the same layout as far as button goes. In addition, players can also pull off proper combos while using the stylish mode, so they can slowly add new abilities to their arsenal. This means that skills can be learned over time, and they can be carried over to using the regular technical controls.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- offers up a solid offering of single player modes for players to hone their craft. There’s a standard arcade mode (that even offers up a decent story for all of the characters), a versus mode, and a survival mode called Medal of Millionaires (where you can equip items like bombs to help you survive). I had a good time playing all three, and there’s six different difficulties to test yourself against.
A proper story mode returns, and it’s really nothing to write home about. If you’re already interested in the Guilty Gear lore then you’ll want to watch it, but otherwise it’s easy to skip. It’s presented as a visual novel, which means you’ll be purely reading here since there’s no fighting. It’s also worth noting that unlike -SIGN- there’s no English voice acting this time around, so you might want to get your reading glasses out.
Finally, the feature rich fighter is rounded out with several online modes. It’s a bit complicated to navigate at first (largely due to how it puts you in a virtual park), but there’s online matches of both the ranked and unranked variety. Gamers can also create rooms with their own custom rules, so it’s relatively easy to find a match. It’s really not doing anything groundbreaking here in regards to network play, but the netcode is solid and the basic functionality is there.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- will hopefully help usher in a new era of fighting games. One where new players are encouraged to learn what makes the genre special, and feel invited. It’s training tools raise the bar at which other fighters are measured to, and it’s a real triumph in that regard. Whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer, there’s a lot to learn here.
Review code for Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here