Heaven or Hell – Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- (Review) Playstation 4

Heaven or Hell – Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- (Review) Playstation 4
Review Score:

Online competition is fierce for Aksys Games’ latest fighter, as gamers everywhere spend the Holiday season fighting their way into the New Year. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- for Playstation 4 is the first time the franchise has appeared on a next gen console, and the end result is a reboot that has eye-popping HD graphics, massive cel-shaded characters, and a dynamic camera system that adds a new perspective (no pun intended) to the action.

All these enhancements are the result of Epic’s Unreal 3 Engine, which developer Arc System Works adopted for their fifth installment of Guilty Gear. The end result is a fighting game that takes full advantage of the Playstation 4’s capabilities.

XRD -Sign- includes fourteen playable characters, two of which were not available in the original arcade release – Bedman and Ramlethal Valentine. The character roster increases to a beefy seventeen fighters when you unlock Sin Kiske, Leo Whitefang and Elphet Valentine by purchasing DLC via PSN. But without the additional content, the game includes Faust, Millia Rage, Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, May, Chipp Zanuff, Potemkin, Slayer, 1-NO, Axl Low, Venom and Zato-1.

The core elements of Guilty Gear have remained the same. Combat still uses the four button attack system pioneered by its predecessors (i.e. Punch, Kick, Slash and Heavy), and the basic move set for every fighter has been retained. Where the game differs from previous installments is the inclusion of a ‘Tension’ meter, which prevents gamers from turtling and forces them to be more aggressive during matches. For example: gamers that play defensively will struggle with maintaining the Tension meter if they don’t include a balanced offense in their strategy. And since Overdrives depend on this meter, it’s important to maintain it during the entire match.

The Dust Attack system uses two styles of attacks – one that launches your opponent into the air and the other throws your opponent horizontally across the play field.  The first Dust Attack renders your opponent dizzy just long enough to execute a combo / juggle attack. Thanks to Epic’s Unreal 3 Engine, the attack is shown from a dynamic camera angle that can only be described as mind-blowing.

As the camera follows the action, you are shown graphics that resemble a cinema (or a Manga cartoon), but none of it is pre-rendered. Overdrives and Instant Kills are shown in a similar fashion. The second Dust Attack is less interesting, as it only throws your opponent horizontally across the play field, as mentioned earlier.

Online multiplayer received the attention it deserved in XRD -Sign-. After setting up your online profile – which involves selecting a fighter, stage to fight on, etc. – you are sent to one of the largest regional server maps ever seen in a fighting game.

The map is divided between Asia, North America 1 (East Coast), North America 2 (MidWest and West Coast) and Europe. Each Country has ‘Districts’ that can host a total of thirty-two, 64-player lobbies. Logging in to one of these lobbies sends you to a large, interactive room where players corrospond using icons. Player made lobbies appear as ‘Portal’ doors, and these can sustain up to four games simultaneously. As far as online matches are concerned, Guilty Gear Xrd’s netcode provides a stable gameplay experience regardless of the server you play on (this includes servers in other countries).

Guilty Gear Xrd’s cel-shaded graphics provide a hybrid form of 2D that is indiscernible from the real thing. It works so well, in fact, that you don’t realize you’re looking at in-game graphics when a cinematic sequence plays out during an Overdrive. Even the pre-fight sequences have you second-guessing whether you’re watching a cinema or not. In short, the graphics are some of the best ever seen in the series.

Playstation 4 gamers have been anticipating the arrival of a good fighting game ever since the Playstation 4 launched last November. Thanks to the efforts of Arc System Works, Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- is, without a doubt, one of the best next gen fighting games of the year.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $59.99

Guilty Gear XRD -Sign- Official Website

Review Score
The Unreal 3 Engine drastically improves the graphics and allows for dynamic camera angles during combat
Classic Guilty Gear sound effects enhance the experience.
Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- is the best game in the series, bar none.
  • Darklurkr23

    Looking forward to it! “ve heard great things about GG! 😀