Developer: ARC SYSTEM WORKS
Publisher: ARC SYSTEM WORKS
Platform: Xbox 360 / Xbox LIVE Arcade
Review Copy Provided By: ARC SYSTEM WORKS
Release Date: October 31, 2012
Coming in to the review for the latest edition in the popular fighting franchise Guilty Gear, GUILTY GEAR XX ΛCORE PLUS, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had heard of the franchise before, but I had never honestly played any of the installments. Growing up, I wasn’t very exposed to the uber Japanese, anime style fighting games like Guilty Gear or BlazBlue. To me, fighting games meant Soul Caliber, or Mortal Kombat, or even Killer Instinct, which are clearly very different in style and tone than Guilty Gear.
So, skeptical and curious as to what I would think, I decided the best approach would be to dive in headfirst. I loaded up the game, found the arcade mode, and shuffled through the surprisingly hilarious cast of characters. I finally decided on a female called A.B.A that reminded me of a zombie, wielded a weapon that can best be described as a Keyblade on steroids, and sounded suspiciously like a man (speaking of voices, one really thing I noticed was the fact that all the voice acting was done in Japanese with English subtitles).
I was then near immediately launched into the fighting. After blowing through several opponents with the game’s unexpectedly easy to pick up controls, it’s a delight to say that the fighting was incredibly fun, and very much reminded me of the fighting games I played growing up. There were a wide variety of moves/combos to master, all moves tried came naturally, and best of all, the difficulty kept me on my toes. It’s clear that at it’s core, GUILTY GEAR XX ΛCORE PLUS is a pure fighting game that doesn’t try to ruin the main experience of the game by throwing in strange gimmicks (cough… Shaq Fu… cough), and it definitely works in the game’s favor.
It does however, include some cool modes to supplement the fighting at the heart of the game. There’s standard fighting game fare such as versus modes (VS CPU, Team VS CPU, and Two Player VS), arcade mode, survival mode, training, and online play. On top of those though, there is a mission mode, which presents you with different objective based matches, M.O.M. mode, which drops cash bonuses that are relevant to the damage you cause, and story mode, which allows you to play through each of the character’s individual story lines.
Speaking of the character’s individual story lines, prepare to be completely entertained, weirded out, and baffled as you go through the story mode. The game is populated by a very bizarre and entertaining set of characters, and fittingly, the story lines don’t make a whole lot of sense.
For instance, the character Zappa is an Australian who is possessed by a ghost and wants to get it exorcised, but is completely oblivious to the fact that the ghost is doing any harm because he always faints. He goes to search for a teleporting doctor named Faust, who wears a bag over his head for some reason, to help him. When he goes to help Zappa, he decides that the best thing to do, naturally, is to fight him.
Another funny example is a character named Jam. She’s a master chef whose apparently not so successful in the restaurant business, so she uses bounties to help pay off the loans she took out. When those bounties run out, she decides that the best thing to do is to walk the streets, asking people to come eat at her restaurant. She then comes across an ancient vampire, who politely refuses. Naturally, Jam tells him to shut up and calls him a bad liar. Guess what happens next? They fight so that Jam can prove how good her restaurant is.
Thankfully, the strange story lines don’t take themselves too seriously. After fighting with all the available characters, I feel comfortable in saying that it would be strange if their stories weren’t so weird. It doesn’t matter much though, because you likely won’t pay much attention to the story lines. It is a fighting game after all.
Hands down though, the most attention grabbing and best parts of this game were the backgrounds and the soundtrack. Every single background was meticulously beautiful and detailed, and there were times that I literally just stopped fighting to look at stuff in the foreground. They are among some of the coolest backgrounds I have ever seen in a fighting game. In addition, it was refreshing to see how well the backgrounds (and the fighting for that matter) paired with the soundtrack. The music was really heavy and fast paced, and it fit in exactly with the game. I can’t imagine how different and worse the game would feel if the developers had used different music.
Overall, GUILTY GEAR XX ΛCORE PLUS is an amazing fighting game. If you’re a fan of the Guilty Gear series, you don’t need convincing as to why you should pick it up. If however, you’re more used to other fighting games, or just haven’t ever came across a fighting game that looked good enough for you to give it a chance, GUILTY GEAR XX ΛCORE PLUS is the perfect place to jump into the genre.