Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- Video Game Review

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- Featured Game Review “Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-” is set arrived on the PlayStation 3 and PS4 on December 16th, courtesy of Aksys Games. Fortunately, we here at Okaku USA have gotten our hands on a PS4 copy a little earlier than expected! We, like many, have been anticipating the day we could finally gets our hands on a full copy. We quickly popped open the jewel case and began a marathon gaming session, learning the combo system and mastering each characters overdrive and instant kill techniques. We then set out to completed the story mode with all 16 playable characters in the game. So far, we’ve managed to clock in over 35 hours of gameplay in just over 2 1/2 days!

So, is the fifth instalment of this fighting game series heaven or hell compared to past installments?

This heavy metal-inspired fighting series delivers the traditional over-the-top action, while updating its graphics for the Next Gen audience. Utilizing the Unreal Engine 3, all the characters appear as 3D cel-shaded models in-game, which closely mimic the classic 2D sprite animation used in the past. Despite a small amount of animation lag seen in the character introductions, the cel-shaded graphics are mind-blowing . Landing punches has never looked this good in any other fighter game franchise. Performing a characters “Dusk Attack” causes the camera to zoom in on the foe you’ve just sent flying, and follows as you pursue him in the air with anime styled attacks. When the final blow is delivered, the camera rotates around the fighters, capturing the last hit in all its brutal glory.

All 16 fighters have their own unique designs, gameplay. and animations to go with them. Ramlethal Valentine, the alluring dual sword wielder, jumps from cold to psychotic when her finishing move is unleashed. The Jellyfish pirate May continues to be the most adorable fighter, with her moves taking advantage of her pirate theme and childish attitude. Bedman, a new addition to the roster, lives up to his name by competing attached to a weaponized medical bed. Faust, an insane medical expert with a slouched posture, brings lots of laughs with his cartoonish-like move set and specials.

Digging deeper in to the gameplay mechanics, fighters have a tension gauge at the bottom of the screen, determining how much energy the player can expend on special attacks. The tension gauge also fuels the games finishing move system called “Instant Kill” that does exactly that. Instant Kills can end a match at any moment if performed in the correct manner. However, failure in execute the move properly results in the removal of the tension gauge, limiting the player to only regular attacks. Other mechanics from previous versions of the series return, such as the “Roman Cancel,” which returns the player to neutral state, and briefly slows down time for an attack. “Bursts,” used to break out of a heavy assault, or create one yourself, are also here in different colored forms and attributes.

Compared to Ark System Works’ previous release, “Persona 4 Arena Ultimax,” “Guilty Gear Xrd” isn’t as easily accessible to casual fighters, but new players can still participate without getting completely annihilated. Practice and challenge mode are great tools to educate players on what needs to be known, one lesson at a time. A single-player mode named “M.O.M.” has the player entering matches under certain restrictions and dealing with new threats, such as bombs bought with medals earned in the game. Of course, there’s online versus mode, which is running smoothly for the most part, with the exception of one match that lagged so poorly the fight abruptly canceled.

If there’s one aspect the game that is faulty, it would be its half-assed writing and English voice cast. There is a story being told in “Guilty Gear Xrd,” but trying to make sense out of it is nearly impossible. The basic premise is that a secret organization is plotting an attack capable of massive destruction. If you’re disappointed by the anti-climatic arcade endings from 10 months ago, don’t worry, as the new story mode shows what happens next. You just have to get through the confusing narrative and poor English vocal performances. Luckily, the option to listen to the game’s original Japanese cast is available, and that’s how we choose to play. The forgettable storytelling is a downer, but it didn’t kill the joy of playing “Guilty Gear Xrd.”

Story: 5/10
Characters: 9/10
Sound/Music: 8/10
Graphics: 10/10
Control: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8.5/10

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-” will be available on the PS3 and PS4 on December 16th in North America. This review is based on the PS4 version.

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