Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is a fun and unique, but extremely challenging fighter with one huge, inexplicable omission.
As a casual fighting game fan, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when reviewing Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. As it turns out, this game most certainly belongs in the “hardest of the hardcore” category, with one of the absolute steepest difficulty and learning curves I’ve experienced – not to mention the game’s severe case of SNK Boss Syndrome. After many hours with the game (during which I’ve still yet to defeat final arcade mode boss Ino – who makes Mortal Kombat’s Shao Kahn look fair and balanced), I’ve come to the conclusion that while this may not be the fairest or most balanced fighter ever, it’s certainly fun and challenging, with some of the best music in the genre.
I’ll be direct: if you’re a casual gamer without a high level of patience, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is not the game for you. The Vita is an expensive piece of hardware, and there’s not much to keep the emotionally unbalanced from chucking their roughly $300 purchase out of the nearest window. This game is made for those die-hard fans that need the most polished, latest iteration of the game available (this is the fifth iteration), and those that want to be able to practice their skills on the go. If you bought the PlayStation 3/ Xbox 360 version of the game last year, there’s not a lot of improvements between the versions, and it’s been stated that the console versions of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core will be patched to essentially convert them into Plus R.
Also, it needs to be said that online has been dropped from the Vita release, which is a huge blow for a fighting game. While the game supports ad-hoc play, let’s be honest- there aren’t exactly a ton of PS Vita owners out there, so you’ll mainly be testing your skills against the computer. While there’s a solid selection of modes available, I definitely found myself wishing for the ability to fight online – though I’d probably get my ass kicked even harder than I did against the CPU.
Since Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is essentially for tournament-level players to practice their skills, the infamously overpowered Kliff and Justice characters are unlocked from the start, and significantly nerfed to attempt some sort of level playing field. In fact, all of the 25 characters have been heavily modified and re-worked, so even longtime players may need to put a few hours in before getting back in the swing of things. The characters themselves deserve special mention, as they are all incredibly diverse, unlike the cookie-cutter fighters in some of the games out there today.
Vita owners out there looking at this review who’ve never heard of the series will want to know how it stacks up to modern console releases. Graphically, the game is quite solid. The animations and sprites and the entire art direction in general is fantastic, and the music is some of the best hard rock/ metal you’ll hear in any game. The bright colors look amazing on the PlayStation Vita’s OLED screen. Sadly, the game is limited to 4:3 aspect ratio to try and stay true to the classic gameplay, which does hinder Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R a bit aesthetically.
What it really comes down to is that Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is a fun and unique, but extremely challenging fighter with one huge, inexplicable omission. Fighting game enthusiasts looking for a new fighter to sink their teeth into may want to give it a whirl, and for the die-hard GG fans, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R on the Vita is the only way to get your hands on the latest arcade release in the West. If you’re fine with playing exclusively against the computer, I see no reason not to check it out.