Anyone experienced with fighting games, and Japanese games in particular, should be familiar with the common practice update titles. Back in the day, games couldn’t be easily patched or added to in the way they can now, so if developers wanted to expand a game, it would usually mean releasing an all new version of it. One of the earliest, more notable examples of this was with the Street Fighter series, with years spent updating and changing Street Fighter II, eventually leading to wacky titles like “Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix”.
Capcom might have strayed from this practice with Street Fighter V, and now Arc System Works are breaking the mould with the release of Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2. Instead of just being released on disc, it’s also out as a cheaper DLC update for owners of the original Revelator release. It’s a convenient strategy, but is it as good a deal for Revelator veterans as it is for newcomers?
Perhaps the biggest additions coming to Rev 2 are the two brand new playable characters: Baiken and Answer. Fans will recognize Baiken as the pink-haired samurai from older entries in the series. After making a cameo in the Revelator story, she comes back into the fold as one of the most versatile characters in the game.
If you’re already familiar with Baiken’s playstyle, you’ll be happy to know that a lot of those mechanics and moves are carried over to Rev 2. She is a master of “Offensive and Defensive Unity”, with a suite of abilities that can help her control any situation. Her most notable tool is Azami, a counter-stance that lets you absorb an enemy blow and immediately follow up with a number of different attacks. There’s also a far-reaching forward dash command that similarly chains into a variety of moves.
While none of these moves deal as much raw damage as similar characters, like Slayer, her ability to chain these attacks into meaty combos and throws is astounding. Her counter will constantly keep an enemy on their toes, not to mention her Tatami Gaeshi, a projectile attack that shoots a tatami mat out from her feet and can even be used in-air to set up mixups and maintain pressure. While she has an incredible array of tools, she also has pretty low health, so you’ll have to know when to opt for defense over offence.
The other brand new character, Answer, was first introduced in the story of Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, but was never playable until now. He’s a ninja and a businessman. He’s a business ninja. He’s also miles more complicated to master than Baiken.
He’s an agile, quick-moving character who’s entire strategy revolves around his ability to place floating scrolls all over the screen. By jumping to any of these scrolls, you can hang onto it and then launch into a number of different attacks. By utilizing his lengthier combos, you can seamlessly put down and cling to scrolls to create an endless array of unique mix ups and combo opportunities. Casual players might have a hard time getting a good grasp on his playstyle, but Guilty Gear masters are guaranteed to be able to pull off some crazy moves.
Beyond the two brand new characters, Rev 2 also includes the DLC characters released for Rev 1, Kum Jonryoku and Dizzy, giving more of an incentive to make the purchase for players who never bought them for the previous game. Kum Jonryoku, Dizzy, Baiken, Answer and Revevelator characters Jam and Raven each have a new Arcade story mode to experience in Rev 2. They’re short and sweet, with just a handful of cutscenes and character interactions, but they help flesh out the motivations of these characters a bit more as they head into the main story, which also has a bundle of new scenes included in it. There’s talk of a much larger story expansion coming to Rev 2 in a future update, as well.
Other modes in the game have seen similar updates and expansions, but on the smaller end of the scale. M.O.M. mode, which sees you fighting characters to obtain loot drops, equip stat upgrades and new moves, received a small amount of new items, while Combo mode and Mission mode have also been expanded with a few new challenges. The game also maintains the same weird and complicated open world lobby system for online play, with the addition of a few new customization options for your player avatar.
The last major addition in the package is the fact that every character in the game has been tweaked and rebalanced. This usually isn’t something that you need to pay for in a fighting game, but with update versions, Arc System Works like to really shake up the way characters play and operate. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes just because they can. Online play does let you swap the game back to the balance of Revelator if you’d like to play some rounds with somebody who’s playing that version of the game.
While most of the balance changes in Rev 2 are standard fare, a lot of characters also received totally new attacks, or have had the properties of existing attacks altered completely. My initial reaction is that a lot of the changes are necessary quality of life alterations, but time will tell if any of these changes were for the worse.
Finally, you have to look at the game’s value, comparing retail and DLC. Many players will probably simply want this for the new characters, and while $20 for all 4 DLC characters is a fair price, $20 for just 2 completely new characters is a much harder sale to make. There are other additions, sure, but they’re so minor, and if you’re a player only interested in the competitive scene, they don’t matter to you at all.
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is an fantastic game, there’s no doubt about that. Revelator was already an incredible fighting game, and for anyone who’s yet to experience it this is an easy purchase to make. When you look at the game simply for what’s new and compare price points, things start to get a little dicey. There are other additions, but they’re so minor, and if you’re a player only interested in the competitive scene, they don’t matter to you at all. Rev 2 is an amazing all-around package, and deserves just as good a score as the last game, but as an add-on it’s a bit too light for the premium price-point it’s boasting.