Arc System Works is good at making fighting games with characters whose play styles require you to think outside of the box. It isn’t as simple as everyone falling into certain categories, where if you’re good at using Grapplers in general, you’ll be an instant Potemkin master or zoning fans should immediately rush to Bedman. Things are more complicated than that, and both Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator’s Jack-O’ and Raven highlight that. Both of these new characters are the sort that require people to have an idea in their mind of how they’d like a fight to go before it even begins, due to Jack-O’s minion management and a need to make sure Raven takes enough damage to power himself up, but not put you in danger.
While Jack-O’ is complex, she’s the kind of character you could pick up and learn immediately after grabbing Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator. Many of her special attacks are incredibly easy to pull off. Both her Dust Attack and Remove the Chain of Chiron only require you to push the Dust button, and each consumes the Tension gauge to boost the attack. Her Hunger of Dopoulos special, which is great for ending a combo, is executed by holding back on the d-pad while pressing the Dust button. The Elysion Driver command grab is executed by pressing forward and dust at once. Want some Zest? Down and Dust. She’s not terribly complicated, which bodes well for beginners.
Even Jack-O’s Overdrives keep things simple. Calvados being a quick 214+slash away. Forever Elysion Driver’s a full circle with a punch. They’re easy to time and put together, which will benefit anyone coming into the game and excited about using someone new. I was hesitant to go with her first, because she’s new and seems complicated, but I feel like she’s one of the most welcoming fighters.
It’s like this is done to help ease you into the more complicated strategic measures. Jack-O’ can set up groups of minions and both direct and buff them. It’s basically like playing a real-time strategy game while having her fight an opponent. Good multitasking skills are key to maintaining her little buddies, while also taking time to jump in and unleash her own attacks. She can have three Ghost Houses set at once, and they’re easily placed by pressing down twice, then punch, kick, or slash for Knight, Lancer, or Magician ghosts. Two ghosts can of each type can be out at a time, with Knights and Magicians flying out and Lancers walking along. Once you have at least two Ghost Houses set, it’s smart to bring up Organ Deployment by pressing down twice and heavy slash to issue commands. When Jack-O’ is in this state, pressing punch retrieves all ghosts, kick triggers Clock Up to increase their attack and movement speeds, slash causes an Explosion that resets their levels and makes them all explode, and Aegis Field protects Jack-O’ and all ghosts within the spherical shield for five seconds. It sounds easy, right? It basically is.
Jack-O’ only gets more difficult once you factor in the other player. Having two to three Ghost Houses out at a time, with Ghosts constantly getting stronger and probably buffed from regular castings of Clock Up, is dangerous. Especially if the player using Jack-O’ sees someone trying to make an opening to get in, puts up an Aegis Shield to protect her, makes the minions go off in an Explosion, then uses Retrieve All Ghosts to pull them safely home again. She’s not the most difficult character to learn, but figuring out a way to safely set up your little buddies and bear down on enemies can take some time. I recommend lots of practice in the dojo, because you’ll need to work out specific strategies and plans ahead of time for optimum efficiency.
On the other hand, Raven is a character where planning is key, because you’re going to be putting him in danger to make him more efficient. Excitement is the name of the game with him, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m still nowhere close to mastering him. In fact, he’s probably the Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator character I have the most trouble using. Part of it is because putting him out there to take damage is what makes him more effective, but I haven’t personally worked out a way to do it without letting my opponents take too much advantage.
Raven is a high risk character. It’s possible to power him up for the rest of a round by going 214+kick to trigger Give It to Me Here. By holding this and taking damage, his excitement will be raise. He’ll be vulnerable, but increase power as a result. Seeing as two of his special moves, Grausam Impuls and Wachen Zweig, and both his Getreuer and Verzweifelt Overdrives increase in power if his excitement is high, with the special requiring that gauge to be three or higher.
As a positive, once you do have his excitement raised, some of his other specials are good at helping him stay alive. The moves above are powered up as a result of taking that chance, and his Schmerz Berg and Grebechlich Licht projectiles temporarily slow down opponents when they hit. His air dash is a swoop that deals damage without pressing any buttons, which is handy since it has an unexpected arch to it. I find the projectiles are a helpful lead-in to the Overdrives, especially since I had trouble getting the range right for Getreuer at the start. Due to his odd reach, it felt like sometimes I’d be getting too close to properly land a hit.
Raven’s nature helps explain why he’s normally locked away. While he’s currently free via an unlock download in the PlayStation Store until June 21, 2016, he normally costs 200,000W$. He’s really a difficult character to work out and, even after a week and a half, I can’t get him right. I had to earn the money to get him, and I feel like that extra experience helped. Spend a lot of time in the Dojo with him too, because you need to anticipate attacks and have various strategies in place to make sure he’s properly powered up every round.
Both Jack-O’ and Raven are great additions to Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator. They’re unique fighters with interesting personalities and movesets. I especially like how Jack-O’ is one that anyone could come in and enjoy using, thanks to her simplified inputs and reliance on allies in the field, while Raven’s more of a reward for putting in the effort by giving you a chance to spend even more time learning to use a difficult dude. As long as people are willing to practice with both and plan ahead, they’ll find them both to be great characters to use for fun or as mains.
Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator is immediately available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.