E3 2014: Guilty Gear Xrd- SIGN hands-on preview


We got down and dirty with the PlayStation 4 version of Arc System Works’s newest 2.5D fighting game, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-. The build we were able to play at E3 had all fourteen playable characters from the arcade version out in the Japan currently, even the boss character, Ramlethal Valentine, herself. When asked if there were any additional characters that might be included in the future, the Aksys representative could not comment on.

From the moment the matches started, seeing the cel-shaded character models were rendered beautifully. For those who aren’t in the know, GGXrd uses 3D models and backgrounds powered by Unreal Engine 3, but through Arc System Works expertise, the models looked as if they were high resolution sprite. While I thought Skullgirls had some amazing hand-painted sprites, GGXrd’s bright palettes definitely give an illusion of 2D. (Which has come a long way since their last 2.5D game, Battle Fantasia).

The core fighting gameplay remains largely the same, with the inclusion cinematic super cut-ins and a camera shift when you launch your opponent with a “dust” attack. The tension bar is split into increments of four now with roman cancels, costing only a quarter of the bar. The pace of the same has been slightly slower perhaps due to the 3D model animations. I did play a little bit of the new character, Bedman, and he was very interesting to say the least. His specials comprise of only quarter circles plus any of the attack buttons, giving them a moveset of 4 unique special moves. While it may not seem much to other characters, the move leaves a mark on the field that the player can input the same command in the reverse direction to “playback” the same move. This creates a unique way of setting up traps and pressure that the opponent must be aware of. Another command unique to Bedman is his ability to move in the air in eight directions (known as an 8-way dash) from a jump. Performing his Instant Kill move sets the opponent on a movie screen where Bedman sits in the audience, the screen goes black and the words “Bad End” flash on the screen. All in all very eccentric character to say. After the matches there are these unique set of achievements that are summarized on the post-game screen. I do like how the defeated character appears in front of the victor. Gives a sense of humility to say the least.

I was told that the PS3 version would run at a native 720p while the PS4 runs at 1080p. Cross online play between versions will be possible so there won’t be any division in online communities.

Guilty Gear Xrd is set for release for this Holiday 2014 for both PS3 ($49.99) and PS4 ($59.99).

Update: Added E3 Trailer.

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