Guilty Gear fans have been praying for a home release of Arc System’s work’s latest version of the Guilty Gear franchise since it debuted on Sega’s RingEdge2 system board last year. The release brought the most balanced version of the series yet to Japanese arcades. As I said before, I have some good news and some bad news regarding the recently released Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (ACPR) on the PlayStation Vita. The good news is that the Vita version of the game is pretty much a one-for-one port of the game. As for the bad news: the Vita version of the game is pretty much a one-for-one port of the 2012 arcade game. As for which one it is to you, that depends on your familiarity with the franchise.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you likely know what Guilty Gear is about. This is Arc’s marquee fighting series alongside BlazBlue and it is filled to the brim with character (I mean that literally and figuratively). This release represents the latest arcade release which brought a variety of changes to the game in terms of its gameplay. The entire roster has been extensively re-balanced; depending on who your character of choice was / is, this can be a good or bad thing because every single persona in the game has been altered. Perhaps the most notable alterations were made to Kliff and Justice, as both characters were previously ruled illegal for any and all sanctioned play of the game. That isn’t the case as they are now legal characters.
The problem with this release is that Guilty Gear, as a whole, also happens to have as much depth as it does character, which is why it has been so popular amongst the hardcore fighting game fans. There is a lot to learn in order to be successful in the game. Unfortunately the game does little to help newcomers learn the ropes. Perhaps we’re getting spoiled by the variety of features that have been included in fighting games recently, but if you are going to be a game that prides yourself on depth, you should at least give players a means of learning / exploring that depth. There are no tutorial options in the game, although they were included in the previous release of Accent Core Plus
that hit the XBLA and PSN.
Thankfully, although you won’t be given instruction on how to effectively use them, you can access each characters complete move list from the pause menu; you just have to know how to read Japanese in order to make anything of them. That is right: all of the character move lists (and even some of the character names) are written in Japanese. No translation. No indication of their meaning or purpose, Nothing. This is yet another hurdle that rookies will need to overcome if they wish to experience the title.
It seems odd that things were left this way in porting the game over from the Japanese arcades, especially when all of the other modes have received localization treatment. Whether you choose to play the arcade, story, survival, or mission modes, there is plenty of English text and voice work. However, when it counts the most, you are stuck with the original Japanese script. How does that make any sense?
What I am saying is that unless you are extremely familiar with this franchise, this game is going to overwhelm you and frustrate you above all else. There is a lot to do, and it is an incredibly gorgeous piece of art to see in motion, but without truly welcoming you into the world and helping you embrace everything that makes it so good, it will leave you feeling cold and confused. Fans of the franchise however will find plenty to love. They don’t need to be taught the intricacies of the series, therefore they can simply dig in to the buffet of content included in the package. As I said before, there is a lot to do here. The story mode is deep and includes hundreds of branching scenarios and the updated mission mode will challenge even the most skilled Guilty gear faithful. It is just like having the arcade game right in the palm of your hands.
That being said, don’t expect to see any improvements or addition to the base arcade game either. There are a couple of other modern amenities that have been left out of this port, including widescreen display and online play. It is truly a crime against the genre to release a fighting game in 2013 without online functionality; alas the only multiplayer option that you will find here is ad-hoc / local versus battles. I thoroughly enjoy firing up ACPR while I am on the go, but I know that is because I have a bit of a history with the series. My fear is that anyone who doesn’t will not see or appreciate the finer things this game has to offer. Depending on which camp you fall into should make the decision of whether or not you want this game a simple one. Fans simply must buy it while newcomers would be better offer starting with an earlier entry in the franchise, like Accent Core Plus