A Guilty Pleasure
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus just released on the PSN, and it’s about what you would expect. It’s not really an HD remix of any sort; it’s just a faithful port of the original that you can now play on your HD console. The newest feature this port has is online play, which is a welcome addition, but its implementation has a few issues that hold it back. Of course, no amount of issues can stop Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus from being an awesome nostalgia trip, but its relevance in the tournament scene can be debated. And if the tournament scene isn’t for you, then Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus’s re-release might be exactly what you were looking for.
Back when the fighting game genre was still young, simplicity was the name of the game. Street Fighter II, perhaps the most highly regarded of classic fighting game titles, really only had its basic six buttons. All other mechanics, like combos and cancels, were glitches or oversights in the game’s programming that later became features after gamers discovered them and made good use out of them.
However, Guilty Gear was built on a different philosophy. Instead of asking you do to as much as you could with a simple set of mechanics, Guilty Gear threw everything but the kitchen sink at you in one stupendously complex fighting engine. There was the gatling system, jump installs, barrier blocking, insta-kills, roman cancels, false roman cancels, dust launchers, dash cancels, super jumps, negative penalty, and tons of other mechanics you had to work into your game just to be able to play on a competitive level. All of these moving parts let you put together a strategy that was uniquely yours whenever you played a character, giving Guilty Gear a feel unlike any other game before it.
For the young’uns out there, Guilty Gear is the spiritual predecessor to BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena, made by the same development company, Arc System Works. However, GG is far faster and more frantic than either of those titles. Characters air-dash around the stage, throwing out pokes and zoning tools at a speed only Marvel vs. Capcom 2 can top. One touch can lead to combos that utterly destroy your opponent if your execution is up to snuff, and if it isn’t, you’ll be able to land sick resets that almost no one can see coming in order to get your momentum back. It’s fast, it’s frantic, and it can feel like getting hit with a truck.
Accent Core Plus was the most recent version of Guilty Gear to come out on consoles, but not the most played. It came out for the PS2 and the Wii a while back and included balance tweaks to the entire cast while adding a couple bells and whistles like survival mode. However, the greater fighting game community seems to have mostly passed this release up. Tournaments for Guilty Gear are still being run, but they are mostly run on the non-Plus version of the game (that’s Guilty Gear XX Accent Core rather than Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus.)
Then there’s the issue that Accent Core Plus isn’t actually the most recent version of Guilty Gear. A new version of Guilty Gear, called Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, has come out in the arcades and is taking the fighting game community by storm. Not only does the game feature numerous balance tweaks that make the entire cast more fun to play, it also gives them several new moves and abilities that they didn’t have before. Literally no move from the game is untouched, making it one of the biggest balance revisions any game has ever seen.
Accent Core Plus R is slated to come out on the Vita in Japan, and we in the West are hoping it will come to our shores as well. Some fans have been assuming that this downloadable version of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus will be eventually patched to the R revision, but this hasn’t yet been confirmed. For now, it’s just an out-of-date version of the game that doesn’t compare to what you can find in arcades (if you can still find an operating arcade, that is).
Frankly, the only real reason to buy this re-release of Accent Core Plus rather than to dust off your PS2 version is to make use of the newly integrated netplay. However, the game’s Internet features are barebones at best. You can play in ranked or unranked battles, and that’s pretty much it. All the bells and whistles that you would normally expect from a fully fleshed out online suite are absent. It doesn’t do much to build the online community for the game, which is a huge disappointment considering how difficult it will be to tear fighting gamers away from their game of choice. As of the time of review, the PSN servers were completely barren, and if you can judge its eventual success by the success of the Xbox version that came out earlier this year, things won’t get much better in the future.
The netcode also leaves something to be desired. The game uses variable button delay netcode, which, in layman’s terms, introduces a short delay between pressing a button and having your character execute a move in order to keep games synched up. Unfortunately, this makes combos exceedingly hard to do, and since this game is so combo-centric, you aren’t getting even a near facsimile of offline play when you are playing online. Arc System Works has always been known for using variable button delay netcode, even though vastly superior rollback netcode is available. However, Accent Core Plus’s netcode isn’t even as good as Persona 4 Arena’s, and they were made by the same company. While P4A generally gives you a smooth performance even at decently high latency’s, Accent Core Plus slows to a chug and even drops matches sometimes. It’s a huge disappointment, especially since it could have been the game’s defining feature.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is a decent game, but that’s not because of anything new. It stands on the same merits it did when it was released for the PS2 and Wii so many years ago. It’s a solid fighting game with a great roster, a killer rock soundtrack, and a gameplay system that defined the term “anime game” for years to come. It’s an important part of our history, but if you already have a copy, it’s not particularly worth purchasing again, even at fifteen dollars. You’d be much better off waiting to see if we get the Plus R revision.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.8 Graphics
The graphics still hold up, but they are showing their age. 4.3 Control
The game mechanics of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core defined an entire generation of “anime games.” 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The rock soundtrack is still amazing. 2.8 Play Value
Unfortunately, it is not the most played or the most updated version of the game, and the sloppy netcode doesn’t make things any better. 3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best