"The all-new Wii exclusive controls, advertised as the gameís most poignant selling point, is really the only reason you might want to put it back down on the shelf where you found it."
If you were browsing your local games shop and happened to rest your eye on a copy of Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core, then, firstly, kudos for having an eye for quality. Though Arc Systems have been doing their level best to grind the series into the ground with awful (hand-held) spin-offs and a marginally updated version of XX appearing on a new system every second week, itís pretty safe to say that itís among the best 2D fighters you will ever play. It has a rich and varied cast, a frantic, inhuman pace and an unrivalled depth of options, special moves and counters that turns the Street Fighter crowd green with envy. Discounting Blanka; blame the Brazilian rainforests for that.
However, letís say youíre a Wii owner and you picked the copy up and decided to give it a closer inspection. The back of box blurb is standard fare, showing a few impressive screenshots, an artistic rendering of some of the cast and some praising words and bullet-notes to try and sweet talk you into a purchase. Right at the top of the list reads:
And, right there, advertised as the gameís most poignant selling point, is really the only reason you might want to put it back down on the shelf where you found it.
Which is a shame, because Core is less a XX rehash as it is a complete rebuild. The characters you know and love all return for another showing, but you'll find a lot of them sporting a whole new arsenal of moves, forcing you to relearn their best methods of attack and discover afresh how to stream flowing combos together. The game also promises two new characters, but this is another (though more forgivable) lie! Alongside those like Zappa, the possessed Aussie just looking for someone to love and Bridget, the yo-yo wielding bounty hunter far too many doujins incorrectly assume is female lines up two 'new' faces. Those being A.B.A, a bandage-clad fighter who continuously feeds blood packs to her demonic, sentient key and Order Sol, a gallant knight wielding a legendary flame sword.
Of course, Order Sol is just a rehash of Sol Badguy, one of the seriesí longest running characters and weíve seen A.B.A before in the mostly-forgettable Isuka, but letís overlook that while Iím trying to sell the gameís many finer points.
It was while trying to find A.B.A in the crowded character select screen that my counter ran out and I was auto-picked to fight with Eddie, a shadow demon named after the nefarious Iron Maiden mascot. Eddie lives within the corpse of Zato-1, a blinded fighter who was once head of the world-spanning assassinís guild. It was fitting, then, that my first opponent was Zatoís successor, Venom. This lanky warrior hides his face in a constant stream of silver hair with an eyeball drawn across where his face would be. He fights with a pool cue, not so much for whacking foes with, but more for striking snooker balls through the air to crash into his targets.
Facing off against anyone is always a challenge and a half. You can break into mammoth combo attacks, fly in with overpowered overdrives and ricochet around the screen like an out-of-control cannonball. There are uncountable techniques you can drop into depending on the fullness of your Burst or Tension gauges (which fill or empty depending on how aggressive your movements are). Roman Cancels kills your combo dead in its tracks, allowing you to throw forward a fake attack, halt it, and launch a new, hidden offensive without breaking a stride; Faultless Defence stops any attack from causing you any damage and Dead Angle Attacks allow you to seamlessly slip from stonewall defence to blistering counterattack in a heartbeat.
And, if you own the Wiiís classic controller, youíll pull them all off. If you donít, youíre doomed. Guilty Gear unquestionably sits right at the top of the 2D fighter food-chain, but all that amounts to naught when the version you play is an uncontrollable train wreck.
Try to play with an old Gamecube pad and youíll see why itís the only console not visited by the original Guilty Gear XX back in the day: it simply does not contain enough buttons on the pad to work. And should you try and play as the developers intend, with the Wii remote? Expect a nightmare.
Foolishly, the Wiiís much-marketed waggle game play is attempted, and, in this, the fast and frantic inputs needed to fight a good fight are left broken. If you want to execute a punch, you need to do a quick swing of the Wiimote while a hard swing will produce a kick instead. Even if this system wasnít prone to mixing the two up (which it most certainly is), trying to link together moves, combos and special techniques in this fashion is nigh-on impossible. Even more so when it asks you to incorporate timed shakes with both the nunchuk and Wiimote button holding to activate special states or moves
Itís a mess.
Itís also a tragedy that such a fantastic game is crushed beneath the weight of such an ill-advised system. Yeah, sure, you can easily side step this one with the use of the Classic Controller, but, really how many of you already own one of them?
With it, Guilty Gear XX Core is exactly the same as it is on the PS2. Itís a game of unrivalled depth sporting a back-plot spanning three great games well written enough to make [insert generic JRPG here] look down at their shoes and shuffle their feet with embarrassment. The problem, and the only problem, lies here:
Pro Tip: just because a system offers a unique way of doing things does not mean you have to try and use it. Trying to shoehorn in an unnatural and unneeded addition to your game may very well be hazardous to its health.
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