Game: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed)
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
2017 is smack dab in the middle of a fighting game renaissance. Big time heavyweights in the genre and new up and comers have been spread out across the year as new releases. Fighting games that have been around for a good while now have been receiving updates and one of those examples is Guilty Gear Xrd. Arc System Works’ metal infused, stylish and balls to the wall 2D fighter has steadily improved over time with the addition of new characters, system balances and more. Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 arrives with those very same items and does an incredible job of polishing a game that continuously evolves.
The biggest attraction for this latest update are its two newest characters – Baiken and Answer. Baiken is a legacy character who fans have requested ever since the Xrd series came to be. Longtime fans will be pleased to know that Baiken retains her past moveset and also arrives with some gaudy new specials. Besides her ability to cut through her rivals with her samurai sword, Baiken can KO opponents with a slick follow-up grab and catch enemies off guard with a counter-stance. As a mid- to close-range combatant, Baiken covers herself well through great offensive and defensive options. Anyone who chooses to rush in on her will most likely run into her tatami mat (Tatami Gaeshi), which is an old maneuver that looks even cooler thanks to the game’s strong visual sheen. As for her Instant Kill, it harkens back to the same one she utilized before and also updates it for the current era of Guilty Gear.
On the other hand of the spectrum is Answer, a ninja businessman who’s a lot more complicated than Baiken. Answer is a setup character who plants scrolls all over the stage. Once they’re placed into your chosen position, you’ll be able to quickly transport Answer all over the place and catch everyone off guard with varied attacks. The more casual crowd will find themselves more akin to Baiken’s simpler playstyle, but it’s also worth their time to take Answer into the lab and figure out his intricacies. Besides those two, the rest of the cast actually returns with a few new moves of their own. And thankfully, both characters have their own Episode arcs, which is a nice bonus. These short, simple and sweet story moments provide a fun Arcade Mode like playthrough and some beautifully animated cutscenes in the beginning/end.
Besides this update’s newer characters and additional Episodes to play through, everything else in the game still feels relatively the same. M.O.M., Mission and the Online modes have received a few changes, but none of them are truly noteworthy. If you spent hours with the first Revelation update, you won’t find a lot to new things that will rekindle your love for REV 2. While this is the best version of Guilty Gear Xrd, it’s not some major update that will get the more hardcore crowd too excited. With maybe two more characters and some spinoff modes that break the norm of fighting game cliches thrown in, REV 2 could have been even better.
Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 manages to keep its scene alive with the return of Baiken and the playable debut of Answer. Both roster additions stand tall thanks to their interesting playstyles, cool character design and new Episode arcs. They present a fresh slate for those who are looking to master a new main for themselves. Casual newcomers who’ve never spent a second with Guilty Gear Xrd need to adopt this version of the game. Longtime fans may find themselves slightly disappointed with REV 2 after they’ve exhausted their time spent with the new characters, though. The lack of some meaningful new modes or noticeable changes to existing modes is an oversight that’s hard to overlook. Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 is still worth adopting, though.
- The return of Baiken and debut of Answer are great roster additions
- Welcome balance adjustments and new moves for some characters are commendable
- This is the most complete edition of Guilty Gear Xrd
- No new mode additions
- The game’s other modes haven’t received any meaningful changes, either