Following up from my review of Guilty Gear, we take a look at the game’s latest two-dimensional sequel. As with the 1998 original title, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R was recently re-released in honor of the series’ 20th anniversary. With the liked of BlazBlue and Dragon Ball FighterZ already making their way to Nintendo Switch, it was only a matter of time before Guilty Gear did the same.
Can this decade-old game attract a new generation?
When it comes to gameplay, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R aged like a fine wine. Though released 10 years before it, the game plays about on par with Arc System Works’ latest game: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. As expected from the renowned developer, the game offers smooth controls and quick combos. The simplest of commands include punch, quick, and weapon attacks. Rather than using their fists, most combatants make use of their trademark weapon. Outside or “clone” characters such as Robo Kai, no two weapons are alike.
Fans of other ArcSys games will likely feel most comfortable starting with the series’s protagonists: Ky and Sol. Ky’s attacks over time inspired those of Jin and Yu in BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena respectively. Sol, meanwhile, feels like a template for the BlazBlue main: Ragna the Bloodedge. Outside of these sword fighters, the roster includes a plethora of weapon choices. From chains and guitars to anchors and yo-yo’s each fighter brings unique yet balanced gameplay to the ring.
Unlike the simultaneously re-released Guilty Gear, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R offers a buffet of tasty treats. As expected, the game prominently features an Arcade mode. It is here that players may view an abridged story and battle a line up of foes. For those more interested in the zany narrative, the game also offers a Story Mode. For those looking for a challenging single-player experience, the game also includes a M.O.M Mode. No, this isn’t a parental control gimmick involving Bowser and Bowser Jr. Rather, Medal of Millionaire Mode is a challenging mix of a Survival Mode and Score Attack. Not only is outlasting opponents imperative but so is finishing them in the flashiest way possible.
In addition to the single player options, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R also has some great multiplayer options. Unlike most modern fighters, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus offers both Team Battles as well as single combat. Changing up between VS. 2P and TEAM VS. 2P adds a nice layer of depth to any fighter. A playtest between two Ky mains was especially enjoyable during team battles.
Whether selecting one character or a team of three, players can duke it out with their friends in person and online. The game’s online modes are stable but imperfect. Gameplay, at least, is mostly unaffected by lag. As with the Switch release of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, the game suffers noticeable lag within the lobby menu and during a fights opening taunts. With the said, the online play feels just as responsive as any ArcSys fighter on Switch.
An odd matter to point out is the game’s button layout. In battle, the mapping is essentially identical between this and the original 1998 title. Out of battle, however, the button layout us set up like a PlayStation. The B is yes and A is no. Because of these, it is awkwardly common to leave menus or the character select screen when attempting to start a battle. As this was never a problem with any other Arc System Works port on Switch, it feels like an unfortunate oversight.
Angels & Demons
With the announcement of an ArcSys game porting on Switch, it’s sometimes hard knowing what to expect in terms of graphics. They have presented everything from the SD and HD sprites of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue: Central Fiction respectively to the cel-shaded models of Dragon Ball FighterZ. The graphics of Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R sit somewhere between the prior. The sprite quality is something between PlayStation 2 and 3. While the graphics are not high definition, they about as close as they come.
Compared side to side, the graphics are almost on par with those of BlazBlue. The main difference being all the extra bells and whistles such as 3D rendered backgrounds and character cut-ins are nowhere to be found. Due to this, special attacks just aren’t as flashy as the ArcSys games of late. That being said, there is a night and day difference between this and the 1998 release. Whilst the original game looks outdated on all fronts, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R is still one of the best handheld fighters on the market. Rest in peace PlayStation Vita.
In the genre of fighting games, there is no composer like Daisuke Ishiwatari. From Guilty Gear to BlazBlue, this man has composed track after track of blood pumping energy. His music has a distinct sound to it. That’s not to say that it all sounds the same, but there’s a certain familiarity that comes about when hearing each next track. During combat, the game features a total of over thirty tracks to choose from. These vary from character and stage selection themes. No matter which tune you choose, your earbuds are bound to have a good time.
With the odd exceptions of BlazBlue: Central Fiction and Guilty Gear Xrd Rev, Arc System Works has been known to dub their recent works. This, however, was not the case back in the PS2 era. Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R only includes original Japanese voices. While this certainly isn’t a negative thing, it may scare away some potential players. Speaking of potential, it does feel as though there is some wasted here. Despite using Japanese audio, very few parts of the game are subtitled. With subtitled anime all the rage these days, Japanese audio is actually preferred for a large number of players. Without the use of subtitles, however, the fighters’ personality becomes somewhat lost in translation.
Overall Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R is a great addition to any Nintendo Switch library. With tight controls and in-depth gameplay, Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R one of the best Arc System Works games to date. With a low entry price, this port is certainly worth taking a look for any fighting fans online or off.
HEY! HEY!! LISTEN!!! gives Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus R 8.8 duels out of 10!