As a returning fan from the PS2 days, however, I can say that whilst all the new faces have really interested me (including the goofy businessman ninja Answer, who more often than not rides a giant snake to victory) I was surprised to see my old main, Bridget, was absent. I was amazed to learn that my other two favourites, Jam and Dizzy, only just made the cut last time round. I understand that a lot of players think of Bridget as a ‘meme character’ but I loved her yo-yo based attacks and I missed her regardless of how low she was on tier lists. Here’s hoping she’ll make the cut for DLC (or the inevitable Xrd 3, right?)
After mashing through about fifty fights online, I’m pleased to say that GGXR2 doesn’t dissapoint when it comes to its netcode. Out of all those matches I only had ONE noticeable moment of slowdown, and it lasted all of two seconds. The rest were fluid and stable, and I never felt like I was having to adjust my inputs to account for lag. Speaking of, though, the training modes allow you to play with simulated lag, for practising long combos under the strain of a crappy connection. It’s a really neat addition and I imagine one that will help the online superstars be prepared for anything – but as a complete online peon it was fairly useless to me.
It’s also worth noting that GGXR2 has the cutest lobby I’ve ever found in a fighting game, making every other competitor look sterile and lifeless in comparison. You waddle around a physical arcade as a ridiculously cute box man, emote to strangers and buddies alike, dress up as your favourite characters and even interact in a football mini game whilst you’re waiting for games to start. It’s a brilliant inclusion that literally no one would have missed had it not been there, but that just goes to show how generous and over-the-top Guilty Gear is right now. I may not have always been playing when waiting in lobbies, but I was always having fun.
There’s no polite way to say this and spare everyone elses feelings: Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is the most jaw droppingly beautiful fighter out there. During battles you’d be forgiven for thinking that the characters dancing around on screen are just ludicrously well animated sprites, true to the artful legacy of Guilty Gear. When these characters initiate their special moves, however, and the camera pans in and around to show off these deliciously destructive combos in full 3D you realize that they are some of the best models ever. I’m not sure if it’s cel-shading trickery or some new graphical technique, but GGXR2 bleeds style at every oppurtunity. It really has to be seen to be believed, and this killer look is worth the price of admission alone.
The sound department has cracked out some killer tunes to accompany all this visual badassery, and they’re nearly all corkers. If you’ve been with the series for long enough you’ll recognize plenty of them, and the Japanese voice acting is all stellar too. Occasionally a sound effect feels a bit flat, but it’s a rare occurrence and the battles are so fast you’ll hardly ever notice it.
Your mileage with GGXR2 is going to vary depending on how much of the Xrd series you’ve already consumed. If you’ve already got Revelator you can grab all the new bells and whistles (and two new characters) by opting for the upgrade pack, and it’s well worth doing so. Newcomers, however, should know that whilst Guilty Gear is a tough nut to crack, it’s always eager to help you along the way and its definitely worth the effort.
If you’re looking for the next lightning-fast, ridiculously stylish fighter, you won’t find any better than Guilty Gear Xrd Rev. 2.
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