Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- for PS4 feels like high school. And that, surprisingly, is high praise. I obsessed over Guilty Gear X when it launched on PS2. My friends and I picked apart every fighter on the roster, experimented with particular match-ups, rocked out to the soundtrack for hours, and even developed inside jokes based on the fighter intro quips.
And with Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, the team at ARC System Works is plugging a high-voltage generator into the series and flipping the switch with a smirk. The latest Guilty Gear, which hits PS4 and PS3 on December 16th, embraces everything about the series’ roots while reworking every visual component on screen. Even after spending time with an early build of the PS4 version, Xrd -Sign- is a flood of great memories.
If you’re new to the series, Guilty Gear is a highly stylized 2D fighter with one of the most eccentric rosters to ever grace a fighting game. Do you want a charming vampire boxer? How about a pirate girl with dolphins for weapons? Or perhaps a tall, repenting surgeon with a bag over his head and a giant scalpel in hand? Yes, series favorites like Slayer, May and Faust return in Xrd -Sign- — many sporting a new look.
ARC System Works has fused 2D and 3D art styles together, allowing for a jaw-dropping switch between each perspective at key moments. Intros and outros use stunning 3D models, but when the duel begins the models appear as high-resolution, 2D sprites. It’s a marriage of two drastically different visual styles, and it looks excellent. And fortunately for fighting enthusiasts, it plays well, too.
Xrd -Sign- is as fast and frantic as you would expect from ARC System Works, with heart-pounding battles that litter the screen with effects, fire blasts, and the occasional bullet shell. True to Guilty Gear’s legacy, each fighter has a punch, kick, slash, and heavy slash, as well as a bevy of special moves that can close gaps, push/pull opponents, and generally control the spaces around the fighters.
Even with my antiquated knowledge of Guilty Gear, Sol’s and Ky’s movesets came rushing back to me without a hitch — the fighters even have a few new tricks up their tightly-buckled sleeves. If you want to familiarize yourself with the basics, Xrd -Sign- comes packed with dozens of tutorials and training options to help you get a feel for the basics, and also push your knowledge of each fighter further.
Besides its basic versus modes, Xrd -Sign- features an arcade mode, story mode, and loads of other challenges and unlockables (Including a gallery!). ARC System Works is filling out Xrd -Sign- with lots to do outside of traditional fights.
Even without the full roster unlocked, I spent a long while just getting reacquainted with the fighting systems that Guilty Gear has used for so many years, from Faultless Defense to Roman Cancels. These systems encourage players to stay aggressive and flow between offense and defense with almost staggering quickness.
Xrd -Sign- is aimed squarely at those long-time fans that have followed Guilty Gear for years. It’s a fiery, rock ‘n’ roll reboot for the series, and a screaming reminder that Sol Badguy is still a total badass.