Also On: PSN
Publisher: ARC System Works
Developer: ARC System Works
Often thought of as the granddaddy of competitive 2D fighters, Guilty Gear X has had numerous incarnations since it's debut in Arcades and the Sega Dreamcast in the year 2000. Thirteen years later, the zany, over the top fighters of the GG universe are still going strong with the release of GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS, the 4th version (and 9th stand alone game) of the highly popular series. Arc System Works brings this fighter to Xbox Live and PSN, hoping that players aren't completely burnt out on this anime style brawler.
Players familiar with the likes of BlazBlue or even the recent Persona 4 Arena will notice similarities in GGXXACP. That's because this game is the precursor to those mentioned. In fact, some internet sites even state that the characters from GG are ancestors of the characters found in BlazBlue. Whether you believe this or not is up to you, but since both games share so many of the same elements, it's kind of cool to think of GG as a prequel to the current fighters.
In GGXXACP, you select one of 25 characters and dive into one of the many modes offered. Story mode is relatively new to most players and features well over 300 different scenarios you can experience. Arcade mode is a straight forward fight to the end type of game where you play to see your characters ending. M.O.M. or Metal of Millionaire is a just like Arcade mode except you are rewarded with power ups and health boosts for landing good combos. Other modes include versus, mission (where you complete various tasks), survival and new to most American releases, Online Mode.
Mastering moves and combos may seem like a difficult task at first, but the developers redesigned the play mechanics with new players in mind. A few matches against the CPU and you'll be smashing through opponents in no time. Mastering the characters on the other hand will take time and many replays due to the insane mount of combos available. Terms like "Force Roman Cancel" and "Aerial Dust" may seem like a foreign language to you now, but once you get into the core of the game, you can become a master player. Controls are tight and responsive for even the most complex movements, and feel really fine tuned compared to other versions in the series. All the Characters have their own little quirks, but balance between them has been refined to the point of almost perfect values. While some may seem a bit overpowered over others, it's all in how you handle them and with practice, you'll get everything right. The visuals are nice and animated really well. The hand drawn sprites the series is known for are intact and a real eye pleaser, especially when you are unleashing a 50 hit combo. Backgrounds range from gothic to a little goofy, but all fit in with the games style. The music is a fitting hardcore metal style that will get you pumped for each fight.
While this is a fantastic fighter at its core, I do have some minor gripes with this release. First off, there is no 16:9 viewing mode. The entire game is stuck at 4:3, which may seem like a minor issue to some, but after seeing the beauty of BlazBlue's wide screen presentation, it's strange that Arc System Works didn't take the time to at least include an HD filter. The filters that are included aren't helpful, and the included borders are sort of lackluster. The best set up is to keep the graphics sharp and turn off the borders. Also, the online code is a complete mess. It's extremely difficult to get an online match going, and keep it going when you finally connect. I spent less time playing and more time lagging and timing out each time I tried to go online.
Another gripe is the news that an add on update is coming to change the game to "Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R" which will change a few balance properties. I simply hope that it is a free add on that is not mandatory to be able to use certain modes, but with Arc's track record with updates like this, it seems unlikely. With my minor gripes aside, this is a fantastic 2D fighter for fans of GG and new players who are looking for a fight. The horrible online mode and the somewhat high price tag (1600 MSP, $15 PSN) are speed bumps that might put off some gamers, but, if you do decide to take the plunge and download this one, you will like most of what you get.