Guilty Gear XX AC Plus is one of those fighters that many gamers gush over, but very few have played. Since the fall of 1998 and the dawn of the “anime fighter,” the Guilty Gear series has set a standard for deep and engaging combat that doesn’t involve Capcom characters. You’ve likely heard gamers talk about the series’ flashy fast-paced action and incredibly steep learning curve, but don’t let it sway you from jumping into the fray. If you missed Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus for Xbox 360 or PS3 (or any of the other games in the series), this newly updated and re-balanced PlayStation Vita game is a great place to start.
Deep fighters run a serious risk of isolating more casual players or interested beginners. Yet, if a fighter is too simple, the fighting game community shuns it. Finding the balance has been a daunting task for developers, with most failing to strike a balance between complexity and simplicity. Guilty Gear XX AC Plus, on the other hand, is rewarding and satisfying no matter the skill level. Beginners will have a great time chaining together simple combos without worrying about the underlying deep mechanics, while someone who spends an innumerable amount of time playing will discover OTG bursts, unblockables, and advanced defensive tactics. It’s an underappreciated accomplishment that many in the fighting game community are beginning to realize.
The visuals complement the fun fighting mechanices. Guilty Gear XX AC Plus’ character sprites are amazing, and the PS Vita enhances the graphical fidelity with its bright colors and luscious OLED display. Arc System Works once again dazzles with its eye for unique and amazing character design. My favorite is Order Sol and Sol-Badguy. It’s the same person — Order Sol is just a representation of Sol during his time with the Holy Order. Although they’re the same person, they play completely different. Even better, Guilty Gear XX AC Plus is stunning in motion. Animations are smooth, and the action is incredibly fast, though not unbearably so. The only issue I have with the visuals are the borders set in place on both ends of the screen. It’s there to force a 4:3 ratio and there’s no way to remove them. It’s a shame that the entire PS Vita screen isn’t utilized.
My main issue with Guilty Gear XX AC Plus R is that it’s dated. The game is a port of the 2009 release (Accent Core Plus) which was a port of the 2007 hit Guilty Gear XX Accent Core. In six years the games core mechanics have barely changed. Newcomers will find that there is no tutorial to teach you the games mechanics, which might turn some away. Sites like Eventhubs.com are a great resource for an old school fighter like this, but a tutorial mode would have been an excellent addition. The menus also look dated. Guilty Gear XX AC Plus’ saving grace is its excellent story which quickly brings players up to pace with the happenings in the previous versions of the game. Each character has a different story, and every Japanese voice actor remains intact.
Besides story mode you’ll likely spend your time honing your skills in a barebones training mode where you can practice combos. M.O.M. mode, survival mode, and team battle all make a welcomed return. These are all great distractions, but the lack of an online mode damages what would be a stellar package. It’s a hindrance especially when every other game in this genre features online play, although it does support Ad-Hoc multiplayer.
If you’re wondering if the rock heavy riffs and the melodic chords return to amp you up during matches, they do. I was never a big fan of the game’s soundtrack, but it fits the edgy anime motif designed by Arc System Works. You can tell that the creators take pride in the soundtrack as you can change the background music and sample the soundtrack.
Fighting games and the fighting game community continue to carry the Vita. Guilty Gear XX AC Plus R is another welcomed addition to its stellar fighting game library. It’s a hard game to get into and master, but even beginners can enjoy it and have a great time learning. I urge interested newcomers to pick it up and give it a chance. I only wish there was an online mode included as its exclusion damages the overall package.You’ll have exciting matches from the start and if you decide to spend the time, you will discover a deep fighter that looks as good as it plays.
You can buy Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (PS2 version) at Amazon.com for $34.49.