Arc System Works may not be that well known here in the States, but it’s a company that has earned its place among fighting-game stalwarts SNK and Capcom with its flagship 1-on-1 series Guilty Gear--known for its high-res 2D visuals, innumerable references to heavy metal and rock music, and a colorful (to say the least) cast of characters. Take Faust for instance, a brilliant doctor turned a serial killer who now wants to save lives again, while wearing a paper bag over his head and wielding a giant scalpel. Then there’s the androgynous Bridget, raised as girl but really a man, despite the female voice and rather questionable attire. And these are just a couple of the more than 20 playable characters.
An instant hit with the Otaku crowd, Guilty Gear never would have received so much mainstream attention if it weren’t for the incredibly deep combat system, making it a tournament staple and a torch-bearer for the modern 2D fighter. What’s more interesting is the latest version, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, found its way to the current-gen console least expected: the Nintendo Wii. Sadly, you can wiggle and waggle yourself to death and never really experience Guilty Gear the way it is meant to be played--with an arcade stick. The inclusion of motion-sensing controls is by no means a negative, but if you are buying it for this reason alone, don’t. Playing and enjoying Guilty Gear requires precision controls that just can’t be replicated with the Nunchuk and Wiimote. Hori did release an arcade stick for the Wii, or if you’re a pad player, the classic controller will suffice.
The inclusion of motion-sensing controls is by no means a negative, but if you are buying it for this reason alone, don’t.
Because it favors the aggressor, combat is built around utilizing the tension gauge to maximize combo damage. FRCs and RCs allow you to cancel moves to keep the damage coming, the difference being that FRCs use less tension than RCs, but are only usable with specific moves. Each character has ground, air, and dust combos. Some combos can be finished with supers called Overdrive attacks.
Accent Core adds even more elements to the already chock-full arsenal: Force Breaks, new special moves that add significant options to each character’s strategy; throw escapes; and Slash Backs, a way to lessen stun after blocking. Though this doesn’t even scratch the surface, the best way to put all the pieces together is to check out matches on YouTube and read more about the game at Dustloop.com, the hub for anything and everything Guilty Gear.
Other additions in Accent Core include new anime-styled artwork, backgrounds, and unnecessary voice work. Seriously, that new announcer needs to go! The most important update though is that characters have been rebalanced. New players may not notice, but veterans surely will. Though I’ve focused on the versus mode, there’s also training, arcade, M.O.M, and survival, to keep you busy. The Wii version of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core can tell you how many calories you’ve burned while busting up your opponents.
Is this enough to make you choose it over the PlayStation 2 version? It really doesn’t matter which version you choose as long as you have to proper controls. It may seem as if Arc System Works is whoring out the series for everything it’s worth and while that may be true, Accent Core is a much different game to those who have played it before. With new mechanics, a rebalance of the characters, and tweak to the overall presentation, Accent Core becomes the definitive addition to an already fantastic series. As one of the deepest and most versatile 2D fighters ever, the question shouldn’t be whether or not to buy it, but rather for which system? Let’s hope an Xbox LIVE-enabled version isn’t too far off.