Guilty Gear has been a staple of the fighting genre for almost as long as one of its closest rivals, the Street Fighter series. As this fighter sees its twentieth anniversary the great team over at PQube Games have teamed up with master developers Arc System Works to bring us something special in the form of the aptly named Guilty Gear 20th Anniversary Edition pack. Releasing on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 we are here to see if this offering is Heaven or Hell.
As the title might suggest this pack aims to bring us something special, included in the bundle is the original version of Guilty Gear and additionally, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. Even its overly long and ludicrous title would do Capcom proud. The pack is only available as a physical cart and comes complete with a decent artbook but both games can easily be downloaded from the eShop individually. Both games are presented in their original square ratio meaning that there are thick edges both left and right. It detracts a little from the field of view but at least on the newer edition, you can mix it up with a choice of backgrounds.
The original Guilty Gear by today’s examples is a little bare bones. You have the choice of ten playable characters from the off, each with accompanying stages and unique move sets. That’s not to say some won’t cross over but it’s very much a case of finding the right fighter for your style of play. In the visual department, the game is looking a little dated comparatively but it still holds up well. Characters are very pixelated but animated to a decent level giving a slick and smooth feeling, at no point did the game have any performance issues. There’s even a neat zooming in and out effect which was jaw-droppingly impressive back when it was originally released. Attacks and special moves are where the real fun is at and provide deep, crunchy thuds from the speakers when contact is made. Everything is boosted with the sparing use of digitised speech effectively building up the tension during battle.
As alluded to previously Guilty Gear includes a limited number of gameplay modes, standard arcade, versus and training which most definitely comes in handy as this is a hardcore fighter. So far, so good then! but overall of this what we really need to know is how the game plays and you know what Guilty Gear is as fun and frustrating as it has always been. The controls are tight, even when using the relatively restricted Joy-Con, so it is more just a case of putting the time into mastering each character. Using a pro controller is highly recommended when docked. Guilty Gear doesn’t deviate from the formula as you face off against each opponent in a series of classic match-ups working your way to the end boss. This edition is a solid fighter that can hold its own but really is more for the dedicated fans of the series.
Where this package really gives that added value factor is in the second offering, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. This is an updated and expanded upon version of the classic that boasts improved graphics and a whole heap of supplementary gameplay modes. It really is the complete package including standard arcade, versus, team battle, online, survival, story, mission and many more modes. It even has a great gallery that slowly unlocks with progress providing original artwork and access to the games many cutscenes. There are over twenty fighters to slash it out with adding to the longevity of play.
Again with Accent Core Plus R, like its predecessor, the fighting mechanic is solid but time is needed to really get to grips with each of the characters move sets. It benefits massively from the extra game modes and visual upgrades. The anime vibe is present throughout and the cutscenes are a notable area of improvement. The biggest gripe as with the original is the inclusion of a hard rock soundtrack, it becomes a little overpowering at times. The game looks great on the big screen and even better in handheld mode with no issues around performance. As with any fighter worth it’s salt multiplayer is where the game comes alive and both offerings do not disappoint on that front.
Guilty Gear: 20th Anniversary Edition is pure fan service, it will entertain for hours and benefits from some good extras (especially if buying the physical release). It’s a hardcore fighter that, for newcomers, will take time and dedication to master. That’s not to say it isn’t accessible for all but doesn’t have the same pick-up and play appeal as other fighters out. Fans of the series will rejoice at the opportunity to own it again on the Switch adding that portability factor. If you are thinking of buying this digitally then maybe just take a look at Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R for the time being,
Review code provided
Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 17/05/2019
No. of Players: 1-6
Category: Fighting, Action, Arcade
Developer: Arc System Works
Download link: Guilty Gear / Guilty Gear XX