One of the best stories of the last couple years when it comes to the fighting genre has been the rebirth of the Guilty Gear franchise. While it wasn’t something I was personally on board with at first (you can blame a silly BlazBlue vs. Guilty Gear turf war for that), the XRD line has made me a believer over time, and has become one of the absolute best series the genre has to offer.
Now a year after the initial release of the stellar Revelator, ArcSys has bestowed more of that classic rock infused goodness upon us, with two new characters and a host of other new features. But in a season where other heavy hitters like Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 are either already here or on the horizon, just where does Rev 2 fall in place?
Let’s just get the obvious out of the way, this literally is just Revelator with a green coat of paint, some new story bits, and two new characters: Chipp Zanuff’s personal business ninja, Answer, and the highly requested and beloved one-armed samurai, Baiken. Hearing “Revelator with a new coat of paint” should tell you exactly what to expect though.
Despite having almost four years to get used to the visuals, it’s still one of the most visually stunning games out there. Team Red manages to seamlessly blend 2D visuals and gameplay with gorgeous 3D models and dynamic camera angles, and it still blows my mind. It still has all the old favorite themes mixed in with some new tunes, which fit in perfectly. Between the XRD series and BlazBlue Central Fiction, Ishiwatari has been cranking out his best work in years as of late, with Baiken’s theme “ROKUMON” and the opening theme “Break a Spell” being the biggest standouts.
And most importantly, you’re still gonna get one of the absolute best fighting experiences you can get on any system right now. Rev 2 is still not entirely newbie friendly; it still requires more dedication than most fighters to really get good at it, which may scare off newcomers and casual players. However, the reward you get for that time and effort is more than worth it, and it helps that Rev 2 keeps Revelator’s absolutely fantastic tutorial mode intact, making learning the game far more fun than most series’ tutorials do.
The new additions to the roster are lovely as well. Baiken’s counter-based gameplay is a very refreshing addition, especially as someone who really enjoys counter characters in other games, see you next week, Ms. Kazama, and as such, ends up being more than worth the wait. Also, her intros and win poses are worth a special mention just for how they play with the game’s established aesthetics, especially the over the top period drama narration in her intro, and the shamisen that plays over “HEAVY DAY” in her Instant Kill animation. They’re such small details, but they really help flesh Baiken out, and I appreciate them greatly. Sadly, I don’t have as much to say about Answer. He may not be AS cool, but he’s still fun, playing a bit like a mix of BlazBlue’s Hibiki and Bang. As weird as that is to say, given how different those two are in both personality and playstyle, it’s a rather enjoyable combo, and he fits in well with the veterans of the cast.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are a couple issues with the game. While story marks like myself will appreciate the new After Story ArcSys has included, picking up from Revelator’s cliffhanger ending, there’s still no actual gameplay in the story mode. While it’s cool if you just wanna sit back with some chips and watch Sol be Sol or rabidly ship Ramlethal and Sin because they are the most innocent burger enthusiasts and deserve happiness– Sorry, that slipped out. Anyways, the point is, while it’s a neat way to experience the story, I’d rather actually fight these battles instead of just watching fights happen.
The big gripe I have is that for those upgrading from Revelator, there’s not really enough that’s new to justify the asking price. While it’s nice ArcSys finally gave us a digital upgrade option instead of forcing people who want to stay up to date to buy another $40-$50 release, and the content we get is quite nice, it’s still $20 for just two characters, some balance and interface changes, and a small chunk of story, which feels a bit too steep to be honest, especially with other completely new fighters out this season. On the other hand, if you skipped out on Revelator for any reason, at $40 for the full version with all the DLC, story, and just general fighting game greatness, this is absolutely the best value for your money.
At the end of the day, Rev 2 is still an absolute gem, and still the second best fighting experience this generation, only slightly behind its azure baby brother. What makes this a tough call is that it all depends on what kind of player you are. As someone who has basically done all there is to do in Revelator, I honestly can’t say there was enough to justify such a high upgrade price. Maybe another character and another mode, maybe a traditional survival mode or time attack, and the addition of fights to the story mode would’ve made me more comfortable. Unless you absolutely have to have Baiken more than your next breath (which, I won’t lie, I can’t blame you there), I’d honestly advise waiting for a price drop.
However, if you skipped Revelator, or haven’t played Guilty Gear at all and are curious, get Rev 2 as soon as you can.
And then you can come join me in RamSin shipping hell.
- Despite an influx of new titles in the genre, Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2 still manages to hold onto its spot as the PS4’s second best fighter, although upgraders from Revelator won’t get much bang for their buck.
- If you get Addicted to this, try BlazBlue Central Fiction.
- A better name would be How Does Your Kimono Actually Work Within the Laws of Physics and Gravity Baiken?
- Buy/Rent/Avoid: New players? BUY, immediately. Upgrading from Revelator? Still BUY, but wait til the price drops.
- Baiken? More like Baeken,