Sept 19, 2007
If there's one thing the Guilty Gear games have always done well, it's get us pumped up to kick some faces in. And with its blasting rock music, brilliantly colored fighting arenas, and frantic one-on-one 2D fighting action Guilty Gear XX Accent Core doesn't stray from tradition. In fact, it's really not much of a change at all - one might call it a stripped down, re-mastered XX, which is a bit disappointing when we're used to every iteration of the series pushing it to new areas. That aside, the changes that have been made, while minimal, do make it even better, and Accent Core is absolutely a must-have for any fan of 2D fighters.
So what's different? Two new characters, Order Sol and A.B.A., have been added to the roster, and both are as unique as any other character in the game - in other words, they're completely insane. A.B.A., for instance, is a bandaged, bleeding girl - actually a manufactured human - who carries a seven foot-tall key with a smiley face on it. Both have appeared in previous games, but Sol's wasn't released in the US and A.B.A.'s was a side-scrolling beat 'em-up, so this is the first time both are in a traditional, US-released fighting game. Justice and Kliff however, are not in this version, so the roster stands at a still healthy 23 characters, not counting the alternate "EX" versions of each one.
The fighting engine has been re-tooled as well, with new Force Break (special moves that use up 25% of your Tension bar), Throw Escape (moves that allow you to break out of throws), and Slash Back (a parry with a shorter stun time) moves added to every character's repertoire and creating even more depth for the already complex system seen in XX. The game will tell you how to do these special moves, along with your Overdrives and One Hit Kills, but not how to do combos, meaning it's up to you to figure out the nearly endless ways to string them together. When you do manage to master the game's combo system, it's an intensely rewarding experience, and when two players who know their stuff sit down to duke it out it's truly a sight to behold.
Apart from these changes, the rest seems relatively minor: characters' voices have been re-recorded, sometimes by new actors, new backgrounds were added, and an unlockable generations mode that allows you to pit characters from old Guilty Gear games against new ones. The soundtrack, one of the best around, has been left alone, which is both good, because the music is so awesome, and bad, because we wanted more. Fighting modes include Arcade (play through 10 fights of increasing difficulty), Versus, Medal of Millionaire (earn medals by damaging your opponents), Survival, and Training, all of which have appeared in older Guilty Gear games. Notably absent from Accent Core is the story mode, which told the surprisingly deep and interesting stories of the various characters, but since this can be easily found online or in earlier games we didn't miss it too much.
In the end, the only real problem with Accent Core is its lack of originality - hence the 8 instead of a 9 - but it's still a fantastic fighting game with one of the deepest fighting systems ever seen and a cast of unique-but-balanced characters that will have you playing until your thumbs bleed. Good stuff.