About the Game

Guilty Gear Xrd (pronounced like Zerd) released on February 14th, 2015, is the latest game out of the Guilty Gear franchise since the last major console release seven years ago. The game is a 2D/3D fighting game has set itself apart from other games due to it is style focusing heavily on Rock and Metal music and really unique characters thought up by the game’s creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari, taste, and vision.

Plot: Yes, in a fighting game.

Right from the start the intro to the game sets up the plot. Ramlethal, a being sent from the Backyard, has declared war on the world. The plot has 2 parts: Arcade and Story, which I cannot tell you what happens or what it is about. Arcade revolves around each character’s personal life and how it is affected by Ramlethal. While almost all of these arcade stories involve defeating Ramlethal, the only ending that will follow up on is Sol’s, who is the game’s main protagonist. The game even tells you that it is best to do Arcade before going into Story. Even though Sol’s story will be the once carried over, all the other character’s will be still important.

The only information I can give about Story is that you will be expected to watch a lot and play little. It falls more as a visual novel. It has a very nice use of animation so you won’t be sitting there seeing  pictures the whole time and even gives out very nice cut scenes as well to mix things up and not keep it too plain and simple.

That is the face you will hate so much in arcade mode.
That is the face you will hate so much in arcade mode.

Presentation: It’s so pretty, hardcore.

“When are you talking about Gameplay!?” Patience my children. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3 and like I said it is a 2D/3D fighting game. What do I mean by that? While you fight in a 2D plane and the characters look like they’re 2D, they’re actually 3D set to fight in a 2D plane. This style bundled with Unreal Engine 3 enhances the anime form the game has and brings more out to each character’s personal design choices.

The main menu follows most of the Guilty Gear games I’ve played with it using a vertical scroll and horizontal selection. Although, it was a bit tricky at first but after scrolling around and messing with things, I’ve adapted and loved it. It even has a nice metal overlay and the sounds when scrolling is wonderful. Most of the time when you pick something on the menu, the announcer actually comes out through your controller’s speaker. All those cute quirks and perks.

While everything is so appealing the main issue I have with is the character selection screen. I feel that it is a bit too squished together, especially some parts of the screen where I actually end up picking another character instead of the one I wanted. Customizing your buttons and even changing character skins are simple and quick to do, which is great because that is the first thing you see once picking your character and they’re literally a click up or down away. Arena selection is great along with the choice of choosing whatever song you want with the stage even including random buttons and auto buttons to assigned a character’s theme music.

The music in the game still holds to the edgy rock and metal. Ishiwatari not only such a great director but is an even greater composer and good on him for being like that. Audio has to complement the visuals and all the music is unique especially with a game like Xrd. They don’t overshadow one another unless you get really into the specifics of what songs you must have.

No one denies me Bedman’s theme.

Gameplay: you happy now?

Hands down, the gameplay is tight and smoother than before. Arcade mode’s boss is still frustrating and incredibly unfair, which is what makes me love it so much. The game’s Practice section and that is all you need to do to learn how to play. It fully introduces you to the game’s mechanics, from moving to canceling to instant killing (Which are more badass than before). It’s friendly and encouraging, even playing with my friends who only play  GG: Midnight Carnival praised it for the smoothness they feel out of it. The game offers, even more, things there is Challenge, which allows you to practice character specific abilities and combos. Still has it’s M.O.M (Medal of Millionaire) it has a bit of an RPG aspect to the fighting. Even including a mode where you can practice actual fighting scenarios that you could be placed in (having to close in, countering a certain move, closing a gap with abilities.)

It brings a lot to the table for introducing people to fighting games and the style of Guilty Gear and how it is played. The Roman Cancel system was something I had to adjust since I never really used counter systems before but it is a great offensive tool and a life saver. It has three different uses, Red for canceling in mid combos and reset. Yellow to quickly save yourself from whiffing(missing), and purple which is literally your last second chance to recover from whiffing. Everything is tight and responsive, still simple to pick up and play. I just have one problem…

The roster is as small as small can be. It only has 14 characters, excluding Sin Kiske which you buy with hard or soft money and the two DLC characters: Leo and Elphelt. It sucks because Guilty Gear’s rosters are quite large and have a lot of fan favorites that were cut out, mostly due to being pressured on their deadline. It would have been great to play Baiken, Anji, or even Jam again but with the inclusion of three characters mentioned before plus Ramlethal and Bedman being in the game, it’s not that bad.

Everyone is still different, both fighting and personality wise. Introductions, cutscenes, taunts and even win quotes are made to flesh out each character and their interaction with one another. Only a larger cast would have been way better.

Except for Bridget. I hope he never comes back.
Except for Bridget. I hope he never comes back.

Unique: Does it have anything to stand out?

Well, the game has some nice charms that help it be different. The game modes I mentioned are very great for its friendliness in bringing in newbies but online play is where it really shines. With so many different types of servers for one to access, making it way easier to have more stable matches, it also has cross-platform. Yes, you read me right, this game HAS cross-platform. Anyone with a PS3 and PS4 can play with each other which is great if your friends decided to stay on the old generation and you upgrade or vice-versa. I play on the PS4 and all the matches I had, there was not a single difference in telling who was playing on the old consoles and who was on a new one.

Is it worth it?

Yes, many times yes. I’ve been a fan of the series since I was a child, only being able to play a few of their titles because I was a poor child. Arc Systems has shown their fans the love of the franchise (even though they focused on BlazBlue for so goddamn long, hate that game) and gave us a wonderful sequel. It isn’t buggy, there are no glitches, nothing bad. It came out as stable as stable can be and has stayed that way.

The game’s price finally dropped, which I never expect  since it has been running $50-$60 since its release and is just now dropping now to $30-$40 for the physical copy (still $50 on PSN) and is even the first PS4 game I’ve seen in the PSN store that can be rented. If you have a bit of extra cash I suggest dropping it on the limited edition version of the game which comes with: a keychain, a codex of the game with character bios, artwork, and the case is the book of the Backyard that you see in the intro.(Not actual book.)