|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Arc System Works|
|Pub: Arc System Works|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core + R is easily one of the weirdest ideas to come out of the Japanese fighting game market in recent days. The original Guilty Gear series started in the days of the original PlayStation and was carried over to the PlayStation 2, but there was never an entry on our current HD consoles. Still, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core + R isn't actually a new entry to the series. It's just a retooled version of Accent Core, which the fighting game scene largely accepts as the definitive version of Guilty Gear.
Here's a little history of the Guilty Gear franchise from the perspective of a hardcore fighting game player. Guilty Gear was made by Arc System Works and was vastly different from any other fighter we had experienced at the time. It introduced some fundamental fighting game concepts like barrier guarding and bursting, which show up in many different fighters today. It was also one of the first "anime fighters" that the American fighting game scene became enthralled with. These fighters are characterized by their high mobility, long combos, and flashy moves. In fact, Guilty Gear helped popularize the idea of the air-dash in modern 2D fighting games. To this day, every Arc Systems Works fighting game has made use of Guilty Gear's mechanics, from the air-dash to the burst to the hard-to-execute-but-awesome-if-landed insta-kills.
There was one problem though: Guilty Gear was severely broken. Certain characters were just too good. Justice and Cliff, the boss characters of the game, were essentially banned from competitive tournaments. However, the "S Tier" of the game was so powerful they were nigh untouchable. A well-played Testament, Eddie, or Slayer could either tear you to shreds in seconds off one simple touch or prevent you from touching them for the entire game through the use of their highly expansive toolsets. Most of the time, they did both.
However, we kept playing this game on a competitive level no matter how broken it got. The original version of Guilty Gear XX came out in 2002, and the first version of Accent Core came out in 2006. So depending on how you look at it, we have had six to ten years to figure out what aspects of the game are problematic and how they could be fixed. Arc System Works, fresh off the release of BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena, took notice of this and decided that they would give the game one more shot. So now, so many years later, we are getting Accent Core + R, essentially a balance-patched version of the game we all know and love.
Now, this isn't a simple balance tweak like what you may have seen in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. This is a full-on change to the core of every character in the game. Many characters have completely new moves, which is nearly unthinkable for a game whose sprite art was made nearly ten years ago. Every character's core moves have changed in some profound ways. Characters have picked up new FRC's (cancels that cut moves short), new combo properties, and even new aerial moves.