Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is the 10th or 16th game released in the Guilty Gear franchise, depending on how you are looking at it. If you are looking at it on console releases as a fighter, it’s the 10th. If you are looking at it as a collection in the Guilty Gear universe then it’s the 16th.

Confusing? Yeah, that sums up this game and the universe.

This is a fighting game which has a strong story mode. At the time when this first appeared back in 1998, it was a break from the norm. A story mode in a fighting game had never really been done before. It was just turn up and fight; job done. This was following on from fighting games typically being set in an arcade environment. Your average versus fighter fan didn’t want to watch a drawn out story mode, they just wanted to get on with the part where they ram a fist/foot/projectile/weapon into your face.

The game sets the story in the future, around the 22nd century. Last year, we found an unlimited source of power which was so powerful we gave it the name magic. Yes, magic. Combining people with magic (yes, magic) turned them into gears, which were essentially just living weapons. Being superior to normal people, it didn’t take gears long to turn on their inferior human counterparts, thus  kicking off a war which would blah blah blah. Now, that was the first game, with so many iterations of the Guilty Gear franchise now available, I honestly have no idea where the story is at. For all I know, the characters could be fighting over who gets the last Ikea home card in the world. For great discounts, there has to be a great battle.

The confusion doesn’t end with the story. The in-game mechanics available are many and varied. I’ll run you through some of the base options you have available with all of the characters. You have your normal gauges as in all fighting games but in Guilty Gear XX ACP, you have a health gauge, guard gauge, burst gauge and tension gauge. So yeah, four types of gauges. Movement wise you have high jumps, multiple jumps, run/dash and air dash as well as backstepping. All have their uses. Backstepping, for example, gives you a couple of frames of invincibility. Defense wise, we have just guard, faultless/fortress guards, slash back, air recovery and throw escape. Slash back is unique to the GGXXAC/ACP universe – it acts as a counter. That leads us on to attacking. We start with throws, you can throw on the ground or in the air. You also have a dust attack, a sweep attack, knockdown attack, dead angle attack, clashing attack, force break, overdrive and instant kill and we have a couple of combo mechanics which are roman cancel and force roman cancel, to allow you to extend you combo strings. Yeah, I’m not finished yet. In most fighters there is the option to stun or dizzy your opponent; par for the course in GGXXACP. There are two type of this. One is dizzy and the other is stagger, which from what I can see, seems to be like a mini-dizzy.

Now I’m not going to spend any time explaining any of those terms above. If I did, this review would quite quickly become the most encyclopedic explanation of the Guilty Gear XX AC/ACP fighting system known to man, which would be cool, but I don’t have the year it would take to explain it all in terms that everyone would understand. So let me just say, yes, you will learn what all of this stuff is. Some is useful; some not so much.

Given its complexity, I’m thinking by this point you will never consider picking this title up and giving it a blast, which I’d say is a massive mistake. All of the core elements in this game are excellent. The gameplay is smooth, the numbers on the combos rack up dramatically, with only a few hours of playing you start to get into the flow of the game, understand the pace and even start using some of the things mentioned above like roman cancels. Quite quickly you will go from someone flailing about on the screen, to someone who’s worked out a few combos and setups of your own.

At its core (ha! See what I did there?) GGXXACP is a balance patch on the previously released GGXXAC. If you have the previous title, then unless you’re wanting the additional two character story extension and the tournament balance that’s been added, this is just the same as the game that you already have.

As solid as this plays, I feel that the complexity of the options available will simply put people off who will struggle to understand what’s happening on the screen all of the time. It takes a fair amount of time spent in game to start piecing together whats going on and while I enjoy this title, I think that people who were introduced to the new fighting game scene and are used to games like Street Fighter 4 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will simply find the information on screen too complex to be able to get into this immediately.

There are some things I love about this game, but unfortunately, there are so many things stacked against it that it balances out in the scoring. Availability on the PS2, Wii and PSP but not the Xbox 360 or PS3 is odd – it would have made an ideal downloadable title. I liked the retro look of the game, but then I realise, it’s not being retro, it’s just been updated and rebalanced so many times that the game is aesthetically the same as it was in 1998. Not that it’s ugly, but it certainly doesn’t draw the eye like some of the other 2D fighters out there. 3rd Strike would be one that springs to mind.

So I’m conflicted, I love it because I’m a versus fighter fan but I sit for alot of the time scratching my head trying to understand what’s happening, why it happened and how I make it do it again. If I had the time, I’d sink loads of it into this and no doubt it would help me understand more of whats happening, but that’s not the nature of a versus fighting game player.







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