"Heaven or Hell: Lets Rock!" is a phrase that has dominated the minds of many Guilty Gear fans. And it's one that they don't seem likely to forget either, as Arc System Works is going back to update Guilty Gear after all these years. Last year saw the digital release of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus for PS3 and 360. This sparked a breath of fresh air into the fighting game community and now the game is on PS Vita, opening it up to a whole new audience.
This is more than just your normal port to a portable platform as it features a whole new batch of changes to every character for balance. These changes are live in Japanese arcade versions of the game, but still haven't made their way to the console versions. This means that if you're heavily invested in the Guilty Gear franchise and want to experience the latest changes, you need to pick up the Vita version.
However, unless you have a craving for all things Guilty Gear related and a Vita itching for fighting game action on the go, it will probably be quite hard to warrant buying the system instead just waiting for the console patch coming at a later date. That is not to say that this updated version doesn't offer a lot of content, as this is only one step away from being a feature complete version of this classic fighter.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R has the story mode that made the series' characters as memorable as they are today. Arc System Works has always been great at delivering a surprisingly deep story mode and while it is far from the time sink of BlazBlue, it still is sure to entertain anyone who is remotely interested.
There are also plenty of other modes to challenge your skill and also hone your skills no matter who you play. Training on the other hand is probably the most dated part about this whole game. If you are new to fighting games and somehow what to start with Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, you will not have an easy time learning how the game plays. If you really want to be good on a competitive level, you will have to spend a lot of time in the training room or researching online.
The difficulty of the gameplay isn't that much of a problem here though, as the game is just meant to extent the original experience to fans of Guilty Gear. It's not actively trying to bring the series to a whole group of new players. It will be interesting to see how these latest changes take the competitive scene for the game when it hits consoles.
While it is nice to have these balanced changes, you will have to have an extra Vita with a copy of the game if you hope to play with friends. For some reason Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R was advertised as having online multiplayer, like the PS3/360 versions previously released, but this is not the case at all and only has local multiplayer.
This is a huge miss in terms of the replayability of this almost perfect port for a fighting game classic. There are not even any sort of cross-save features that take advantage of the PS3 version. We can only hope that this changes when the PS3 update is released, but there is no word on any of these features making their way onto the Vita version.
Sticking with this portable version of Guilty Gear feels like the real arcade experience - the game even sticks with the 4:3 aspect ratio. While the game may not take advantage of the widescreen OLED screen the Vita has, the game still looks great even after all these years. The 2D hand drawn sprites still look as great in motion as they did playing back in the day. It is a bit of a shame that there are so few options to use that fill out the extra space on the side of the screen, but this doesn't take away from the experience at all.
The same can be said the soundtrack that still holds up along with most everything else in this digital package. Even without the online, there are tons of new ways to keep yourself busy on the go playing Guilty Gear. Still it seems like it was only catering to the die hard fans who can't wait to try out the new balance changes. So if you aren't around many Guilty Gear players with a Vita, you could be out of luck multiplayer wise.
While it is great that the entire arcade experience of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R was brought over to the Vita, that really isn't enough to completely satisfy. Releasing a fighting game without online multiplayer is one of the quickest ways to get your game to die before it is even out a year. Still the Guilty Gear experience that is here is still the best has ever had and playing it on the Vita never suffers a bit. As long a you have a special place in your heart/wallet for anything Guilty Gear and have friends who can play it with you, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R gets the job done.
|» Addictive gameplay|
|» New balance changes|
|» No online multiplayer|
|» Not friendly to new players|
|» Only fighting against the computer|