Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator Review0 Comments
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also available on: PlayStation 3
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
It’s no secret that fighting game expansions have been relatively frowned up on by fans for years. Arc System Works’ (ASW) Guilty Gear series is no stranger to this, and when Guilty Gear Xrd: -Sign- was released in 2014, many wondered how the inevitable sequel would top it. Fortunately, Revelator surpasses its predecessor in every way imaginable. ASW added six extra fighters (Dizzy’s release TBA) to bring the roster to a grand total of 23 characters. The graphics have been polished, and new tweaks were added to balance accessibility and flexibility, for the benefit of newcomers and aficionados alike. The online lobby was overhauled for the better, and best of all, story mode was revamped to be a full length movie instead of a visual novel. Overall, Revelator is everything Sign wanted to be. I’ll just say it: Revelator is worth your money, whether you bought Sign or not.
The first thing I noticed about Revelator when I booted it up was the main menu’s makeover. It’s much more streamlined than before. Even better, players can now apply shortcuts by binding any mode to the L1 and R1 buttons. For example, if you want to access training right away, just press one of the buttons you bound the mode to, and that’s it. This is a really cool feature that lets players dive right into the action without navigating through layers of menus. It’s a subtle change, but it saves a lot of time. Frankly, more games should feature accessiblity tweaks like this. Speaking of accessibility, the tutorial has been changed to be a bit more interactive by making it more of an obstacle course than a glorified input tutorial. Although the lessons themselves aren’t anything new, the way they're presented keeps this fresh and helps it stand apart from its predecessor.
Speaking of features, Revelator has added several new mechanics. The biggest one is the new Stylish Type control system. This new feature introduces an extra button (SP) for performing specials and overdrives with ease. It also adds auto-guard and allows players to execute combos with just one button (a la Persona 4 Arena). However, those who choose this option will take 20 percent more damage from attacks, so it does come at a price. Although I can’t see how this feature would help newcomers adapt to the complex mechanics, I can see how this could be a great feature for those looking to play for fun, especially against skilled players.
Another major change is the Burst Overdrive mechanic, which can be activated by pressing the Dust button during the command input. These are augmented overdrives that cost both 50 percent tension and the entire Burst gauge. Keep in mind that only the character’s cinematic overdrive can be augmented. This is a high risk/high reward feature for many reasons. Burst Overdrives have fully invulnerable startup, deal twenty five percent more damage, add additional benefits (depending on the overdrive), and landing one restores a third of your Burst gauge. This is especially deadly when the character is in a hellfire state, as it can add that extra “oomph” to beat your opponent when it counts. However, losing your entire Burst gauge on a whiff is very dangerous in Revelator, as it’s absolutely necessary to escape corner pressure and deadly combo strings.
The Blitz Shield mechanic has also been altered. A successful rejection now slightly refills the Burst gauge, and if the input is held down, it turns into a Blitz Attack. It doesn’t do much damage, but it’s a great “get off me” tool to give the player some breathing room while catching the opponent off guard. Additionally, upon glowing red, the attack can no longer be rejected by a Blitz Reversal. If you can read your opponent well enough, this is a great alternative to the Burst Gauge, although it still costs 25 percent of your tension.
Revelator’s roster is more robust than ever, featuring a grand total of 23 characters thanks to the addition of Raven, Kum Haehyun, Jack-O, Johnny, Jam, and (eventually) Dizzy. The first three offer completely new playstyles to experiment with, and although the last three are returning favorites from the Guilty Gear XX series, their playstyles have been altered to match Revelator’s changes.
Raven, despite his macabre demeanor, is absolutely hilarious. Because he’s an unapologetic masochist, it’s only fair that his playstyle reflects his pleasure for pain. Raven uses a multitude of long reaching attacks, and he has a unique special that fills his “excitement” meter. The more he takes damage, the more powerful his specials and overdrives become. When hit, the damage taken turns pink on his health bar, which he recovers if he isn’t hit for a few seconds. In addition, once his “excitement” meter fills up, it doesn’t deplete until the round is over, which can make him deadly in the right hands. Raven also has one of the best forward dashes in the game, as it covers ground very quickly and floats slightly upward (but not as high as I-No).
Kum Haehyun, on the other hand, sets herself apart from the rest by being the only character that doesn’t rely on Gatling combos. Her playstyle heavily relies on wall bounces, as her special attacks have multiple follow up moves that the player can choose, depending on the situation. She can also use projectiles, which can be very good for spacing and pressuring her opponent into a corner, especially her Tuning Ball overdrive. Her axe kick is definitely a core part of her meta, as it’s necessary for her okizeme game and wall bounce pressure.
Jack-O is a very fun character to use, and absolutely deadly…if she gets her ghosts set up. Jack-O was heavily inspired from RTS games, so her meta involves placing ghosts on the screen to apply pressure and using her disparate Dust attacks. By using the P, K, and S buttons, Jack-O can set up a ghost hut for her servants to attack from. Although the huts have limited HP, they level up as time passes, from one to three. Not only do the servants get stronger, but the huts gain more HP, making it harder to destroy them. To compliment this, Jack-O has a special that summons an organ for her to issue four different commands: Recall, Boost, Explode, and Aegis Shield.
Recall teleports her ghost huts safely while retaining their level. Boost clocks up their spawn rate, attack, and movement speeds. Explode turns the ghosts and huts into a three second time bomb, and the higher the level, the more damage it causes. However, it can hurt the summoner too, so keep your distance. Lastly, Aegis Shield sets up a large circular field around Jack-O that nullifies all projectiles for a short time. Although these commands can stack, they also have a cooldown timer, so beware. Jack-O is a very tricky character to use, since her Dust commands consume tension, and needs ghosts to apply pressure. However, if she does get all three huts at max level, it’s very difficult to take her down.
The online lobby was completely revamped to be more interactive than Sign, which now features adorable 3D avatars in Illyria Castle’s garden. Players can customize their avatar with different colors, character heads, and emoticons to express themselves. Little arcade cabinets are scattered throughout the lobby, and players can walk up to these and challenge each other in casual or ranked matches. There’s also training cabinets for players to brush up their skills before challenging others. If you don’t feel like fighting, you can fish at the pond to score some in-game items for cheap. You can also access other game modes while you’re in the lobby, which is nice for those who want to take a break. As for the netcode, I’ve experienced little to no issues, connection-wise.
Revelator’s story mode also changed for the better, as it completely discarded the visual novel dialogue scenes and opted for a full length CGI film instead. This was a boon for the narrative, as the constant action kept me on the edge of my seat. Although the entire game is recorded in its native Japanese dub (which I was perfectly fine with), the voice actors/actresses did a fantastic job at bringing their characters to life. A special mention goes to Junko Minagawa, who voices Ariels, as she delivered the best performance out of the entire cast, in my humble opinion.
In an age of rushed launches and piecemeal video game releases, it’s great to see a title release everything intact from the beginning. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- struck a delicate balance between tweaking the finer details, and not messing with what worked. If you’ve never experienced Guilty Gear, now is the perfect time to get acquainted, as Revelator is the most accessible title in the series, hands down. From its mechanics to the story mode, there’s no doubt in my mind that Revelator is everything that Sign wanted to be. Whether you’re a fighting game aficionado, Guilty Gear fan, or both, you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice for not giving this fantastic title a shot.
Purchased by the reviewer.
One big firework.