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Guilty Gear is a series known for outlandish and off-the-wall characters, and the new ones introduced in Xrd aren’t slouches in that department:
- There’s Elphelt, a bubbly and slightly absent-minded girl in a spike-covered wedding dress, fights with an arsenal of guns stored who-knows-where.
- Whereas her sister Ramlethal controls a pair of floating, toothy orbs, each of which carries a gigantic sword. Is that cloak she’s wearing alive? It seems so, at least judging by the saliva that drips from it and the teeth that run along the edge.
- Leo Whitefang is a gargantuan, understandably leonine king who wades into battle with a pair of massive cross-shaped blades.
- Sin is, perhaps, the most normal of the bunch, and he’s a teenager wearing an eyepatch who fights with a flag.
In the 17 years since Guilty Gear first appeared, a lot has changed. Consoles have become orders of magnitude more powerful, and the resolution our games run at has similarly skyrocketed. Even in its earliest incarnations, Guilty Gear was hailed for its meticulous attention to graphical detail and spectacular sprite-work. So as the series moved into the new millennium, it was of paramount importance that its legacy be fully honored in any new installment.
With that in mind, Arc System Works turned to the Unreal Engine – a common enough tool in the video game development kit, but not something the fighting game world has seen before. They crafted a system that replicated the cell-animated look of the original games, but using 3D models and backgrounds in a never-before-seen blend of fantasticalness. Even in early clips it stunned audiences, and the game remains a visual tour de force.
Perhaps most important, though, is the gameplay itself, and Arc System Works has many years of fighting game development under their collective belt. Titles like BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena have spawned wildly popular franchises of their own, and now that expertise has been brought to bear on Guilty Gear. Each character has been tweaked and balanced, and old mechanics examined, updated, and perfected. If you’re a Guilty Gear newcomer, there’s also an inclusive tutorial to help get you up to speed.