An afternoon with Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign

Testing Arc System Works' latest in Akihabara.

Would we ever see a new entry in the Guilty Gear series that’s not an expansion? I’m sure many fans of the Arc System Works fighting game franchise have had this thought, especially with how much the developer been pushing BlazBlue. But the Guilty Gear series has always stood out among fans for its somewhat clever use of musical references, extremely unique characters, and very fun and satisfying gameplay. And nearly 11 years since the last numbered entry (if you ignore Guilty Gear 2: Overture), the series is finally back with Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign. And this is definitely one to look out for.

This weekend, I spent my Friday afternoon at a location test for Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign at Club Sega in Tokyo’s Akihabara district. This build featured seven returning fighters from the series, all with new looks. Returning were: Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, Potemkin, May, Chipp, Millia and Chipp.

Guilty Gear Xrd, for the most part, plays like older games in the series, with an almost seamless transition from 2D to 3D. There’s still your standard punch, kick, slash, hard slash, and dust—which is a launcher of sorts—and each character has a variety of special attacks, some even gaining more specials this time over. Instant kills weren’t present in this build, but it’s possible they’ll be added later on. What I really enjoyed was how Xrd feels overall. Sol Badguy was surprisingly heavy when I first tried him, but I eventually got the hang of him, and things really started to click once I learned how to use his new dive-kick attack.

Fans of the series should also be relieved to learn that the Burst system in Xrd is the same as in previous entries. Some even have their own specialized animation, like Chipp blowing up a la Luffy’s “Gomu Gomu no Fusen” in One Piece. And Potemkim has an attack where he bursts with fire surrounding him (though, I’m not sure if this was a Burst attack). Though while the demo felt very fast and responsive, some at the location test felt the game played a tad slower than previous entries.

Xrd‘s new visual flair probably dazzled me most. I can hands-down say that this is the best looking fighting game I’ve seen so far. I would imagine some even believing this to be a full 2D fighter—it just looks that polished. I was also pleased by some of the details added. The intro sequences for each character are very good-looking, and are similar to Street Fighter IV‘s, but the scale of some are on a different level entirely. While most of the characters did something cool and said a quick quip, Potemkin, for example, jumps onto the battlefield out of a drop ship, and May rides in on her dolphin with her friends shouting ‘Good luck!’ from their ship. Other nice touches include the zoom-ins for specials, dynamic camera angles on finishing blows, and the angle the screen shifts next to a downed opponent to highlight the winner.

Guilty Gear Xrd is looking to satisfy long time fans of the series and newcomers alike. Although I’ve played past Guilty Gear titles in arcades, I was never really into it as much as I was BlazBlue. But through spending a day with this build I can see why fans call the Guilty Gear series Arc System Works’ best fighting game franchise.

A survey was given out during the test. I’ve attached those questions below.

  1. On which day did you participate in the location test?
  2. How old are you?
  3. Do you have a job?
  4. Which part of Japan are you from?
  5. How long have you been playing fighting games?
  6. Which characters did you use?
  7. How was the game speed?
  8. Did you feel any lag?
  9. How was the transition from 2D to 3D?
  10. Did you enjoy the game?
  11. Please write down what you expect to see.
  12. Other than the card system, etc. what modes you would like to see added?
  13. Do you think it needs network support for the arcade version?
  14. How did you hear about Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign?
  15. How did you find out about the game’s location test?
  16. Which Guilty Gear games have you played before?
  17. Which character do you want to see join Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign?
  18. How often do you play fighting games?
  19. Which fighting games do you play?
  20. Which game systems do you own?
  21. Which system would you buy Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign for?
  22. What do you envision Guilty Gear to be like?
  23. Are there any Guilty Gear goods you would like to buy?
  24. Please write any other opinions or ideas you may have.

Also, I wasn’t able to record any videos or take any photos during the event, but here are some leaked videos that have made their way online.

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