Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha Vs. King Abaddon Review «

Initially, I couldn’t understand the weird acronyms on the Guilty Gear community forums. The community members use them liberally, embedding them in their posts about strategies and tactics without any explanation. I knew they described gameplay mechanics, but I couldn’t figure out their meaning. It was like a subculture foreign language — something indecipherable despite my background in other fighting game’s obscure dialect. But breaking the code was the only way I would understand the fundamentals, and become a better Guilty Gear player.

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus demands dedication, erudition, and practice. Like in many fighting game communities, Guilty Gear players obsesses over learning their character’s strengths and weaknesses, finding which moves are safe and unsafe, and exploiting any tactic that can give them an advantage. They study and critique match videos and pay close attention to character match-ups to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s the only way to hone their skills in a fighter known for its aggressive pacing, complicated combos, and momentum-heavy combat (not to mention its signature heavy metal influence).

Click the image above to check out all Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus screens.
Offense-focused players will definitely enjoy Accent Core Plus. The combat system leans heavily on the attack, with penalties to discourage excessive defense and slow, reactionary matches. Characters have tremendous freedom of movement, supported by double jumps (DJ), instant air dashes (IAD), and fast ground and air dashes. The exceptions to the rule are large characters, such as Pokemin, a grappler whose throws deal exceptional damage. Those characters have limited movement, confined to a single jump and slow dashes, to create character balance. Meter management, the careful balance of using the game’s Tension Meter, serves an important strategic role, opening opportunities for new tactics otherwise impossible to create, like canceling Sol Badguy’s fireball with a Roman Cancel (a mechanic that interrupts attacks), and following the flame for added offensive pressure. And the dominant mix-up strategy involving high and low attacks and throws creates tension and stress. In short, Accent Core Plus is tailored towards quick decision-making, deft maneuvering, and aggressive combat — an exciting rushdown experience.

The combo engine is flexible enough to create impressive and outlandish combos, while rewarding exploration and creativity. Combos can be as simple as attacking in sequential order, from weakest to strongest attack, akin to the chain combo system in Capcom’s Versus games. Or they can be flashy and stylish when combined with Roman Cancels, wall juggles, and off the ground attacks. For instance, the Dust Loop, one of Sol Badguy’s combos, Guilty Gear’s main character, is a series of Dust attacks (overhead attacks that launch the opponent in the air) that bounces the opponent off the wall and above the ground, juggling them indefinitely. But its execution is difficult to consistently pull-off.

Which is to say newcomers may find the steep learning curve to be a turnoff, a barrier requiring a dexterity tax that the average gamer can’t afford. I had a lot of trouble learning combos, considered basic by the Guilty Gear community, partly because my fingers — and my mind — weren’t used to the complicated sequence of events: cancel attack, move character, dash, instant air jump, chain buttons, cancel, dash, repeat. Often times, I haphazardly looked for a follow-up in the combo, pressured by the game’s fast pace, and repeatedly messed up its execution. I spent hours in the game’s robust training mode before pulling off a combo that I could be proud of.

Click the image above to check out all Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus screens.
But, alas, I probably won’t have a chance to show off everything I learned. The game lacks online matchmaking, making Accent Core Plus largely a fight against computer-controlled opponents, unless you can find competition nearby. The single-player mission and story modes are a decent diversion, but their problems outweigh their benefits. Story mode gathers the entire roster and attaches an individual plotline, but those tales are mostly nonsensical, ridiculous, and/or unexciting. Mission mode is a collection of matches under different modifiers and conditions. For instance, one match pits you against Faust, a long, gangly man in a white blazer and brown loafers, whose face is covered by a paper bag. Faust has full life, while you’re placed at a disadvantage with almost no life. One hit, and you’re dead. Sometimes, the match conditions work and give you a satisfying challenge. Other times, like the Faust match mentioned above, they feel overly frustrating.

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is an enjoyable experience, and its strengths shine when played by two human opponents. Between two skilled players, matches are exciting and fun to play, mostly because the game’s rules and mechanics require constant attacking and engagement. So, if you’re the type to RTSD, then you should check out Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus.

RTSD: Rush that sh** down.


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