Guilty Gear: Accent Core is the latest revision of, technically, the original Guilty Gear. Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX, and all the other games in that direct line, have been revisions and updates to the series, sometimes adding to the storyline, while other times introducing new characters -- but always, the game aims to balance and re-tool the gameplay.
Accent Core is no different. There have been heavy updates to the series since X2#Reload, both in the character moves and in the artwork. In the review contained within, I'll tackle both the updates that affect the veteran players, as well as how the game stands up as a whole for those who are looking to take their first dive into Guilty Gear.
Heaven or Hell! Let's rock!
This new version of Guilty Gear sports several updates. First, they promised new artwork for the game. The full-body character art has been redone, making the images cleaner, and giving yet another picture to ogle at. In addition to this, all the backgrounds have been updated, giving longtime players something new to look at.
What needs updating the most, though, were the sprites. They haven't been re-drawn at all, and sorely need it. These are the exact same sprites that have probably been around since Guilty Gear X. It's the number one problem with the series -- before long, the game's beautiful graphics are going to seem too old and outdated. The game was released in Japan long before it was worthwhile to consider developing on either system, so Sammy stuck with the PS2. Hopefully the next iteration will appear on one of the two consoles, and will feature new sprites.
Many of the voices for the game have been re-recorded to give the characters more phrases for their attacks, so that the old ones will finally be swapped out. Unfortunately, the announcer ("Heaven or Hell! Fight!" voice), has been swapped out for someone who sounds decidedly less macho -- a change that I could do without.
The character moves have also been shifted around plenty since X2#Reload, enough so that I've actually had to change my strategy for fighting with Anji. For some characters, they've acquired some new moves, or had some shifted to a "Force Break," a new feature in this game. Normally, you have special moves which consume 50% of your special bar. Force breaks, on the other hand, consume only 25%, and are a less powerful alternative, but can still do some serious damage.
As for the contents of the game itself, there's the Arcade, vs. CPU/2P, Survival, and Medal of Millionaire mode -- this revision lacks a story mode. This edition introduces A.B.A. and Order Sol into tournament play, and removes Kliff and Justice. For those of you who were wondering: Order Sol is just as irritating as regular Sol.
Why should I even bother with Guilty Gear? This is what I'm sure some of you are asking. Think of this game as a combination of Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom. The game has fairly straightforward play sensibilities (like Street Fighter), with two characters facing off against each other -- no allies, no character switching, etc. Now, add in the seizure-inducing special attacks that are common in Marvel vs. Capcom and the later Street Fighter titles, and you've got an idea of what Guilty Gear is like.
The game features slash rock tracks, all done by the game's creator (and character artist), Daisuke Ishiwatari. The music adds to the bright visuals produced by the game, between the unique character designs and the beautiful stages. To boot, the game's got a great story that's periodically updated (Guilty Gear X2#Reload is the most recent update on a console).
So, you've taken the bait -- should Accent Core be your first purchase? Well, for one thing, this is the most updated version of the game, with further play balancing occurring as well as the inclusion of all the characters that people will be playing as. If you intend to get serious with this game, then you might as well start off with Accent Core.
Does this nullify you buying all the past versions, though? Well, no. Each of the major versions -- Guilty Gear, Guilty Gear X, and Guilty Gear X2#Reload -- build upon the game's universe through the story mode. Accent Core doesn't feature this, and so you'll have to either buy X2#Reload or read all the Wikipedia information available on Guilty Gear to figure out why the characters are fighting.
Accent Core provides some new updates to keep veteran players on their toes, along with making it easier to actually buy a PS2 Guilty Gear game (I've had to resort to eBay to get all of mine). A new story mode would have been nice, so as to give the game some more playtime. The graphics update is a nice touch, but is ultimately marred by the fact that the sprites are showing signs of old age. In the end, it's an update -- but it's a hell of a lot more new stuff than what's in the same ol' Madden box each year.
Final Score: 7/10
And yes, this game still does make you gay for Bridget. He's still straight, too. There's even more evidence in this game.