It’s that time of the year to make possibly the most self-indulgent post in this blog and tell you what were my Top 5 games of the year. As per usual, the year the game was released doesn’t matter, just the fact that I played the game for the first time in 2016. There is no order to these either, thou to be honest with you here, I really should write the games I think could be good contenders down as soon as possible in order not to wonder what the hell did I play this year. However, one of the criteria for personal top games is that I still play them after an extended period of time and don’t just drop it. Let’s get on with the show and start with a Vita title.
The reason why both Dizzy and Jam get so much attention from me is that they were the characters I mained. Seeing them back is great, and I got to pay my respects to ArcSys for going through and respecting the poll they had about what should be the character to be added.
This is gonna be an image heavy entry.
Dizzy as a character was set up to be a tragic one. Born from one of the most hated Gears in history, fathered by a hellhound roaming the Earth and being targeted for the sake of being a Gear, most stories would’ve end up her hating humanity or have her meet a bloody end. Instead, Dizzy was shown compassion by numerous different characters who couldn’t give less a damn about the world history and the fact that she’s probably one of the strongest Gears in the story. She was allowed to have a chance at a normal life as an air-pirate alongside May, until she had an accident due to an enemy and met Ky. Now, she’s probably one of the best mother’s out there, despite that one situation where she needed to seal herself.
We haven’t seen one glimpse of Dizzy, and while I’ve been holding back from going into any new Guilty Gear character design comparisons, the time’s been too long since we ventured into this territory.I admit going way overboard with Jam, and from now on I’ll stick with two characters per post. That’ll keep me from going into too much useless detail.
This time we’ll go over two returning cast members; Raven, who originally appeared in XX #Reload as a non-playable story character, and Elphelt’s Revelator redesign.
Above we have Raven’s Guilty Gear 2: Overture and Xrd: Revelator designs as a comparison. The change in style is drastic, but he had a different look originally.
The only real thing that has survived across Raven’s designs are the spikes. His original visage above is basically a black, skin-tight bodysuit with dark grey skin with the occasion spike coming from his body. His left eye is completely white, and while it’s not clear from this angle, he has a crack going just over his eye, running down to his jaw with spikes jagged next to it. The chest plate he has us supposed to be some sort of bird, but looks more like generic chest hair. It’s not the most unique design out there, and feels rather 1990’s in its own way.
The bodysuit theme survived into Overture, as we can see from his left arm, but now he dons a mask, dropped painting his skin in grey and seemed to have moved to more tactful finger spikes. Because the promo pictures have him don that cape like a little prance, we’ll need to check some of the books for a better visual.
I can’t fault ArcSys for consistency and sticking to the idea. Raven’s Overture suit carries the bird motif further with far better, if not more generic green chest plate, added feathers and he is supposed to have the kanji 烏 (karasu) on it, meaning, crow or raven. It’s pretty much what you get, especially how they hammer in his resurrection power with LIVE tamped unto him. Of course, the whole Raven motif itself is from the UK heavy metal band. There’s not much subtly in him. The coin on his eye is taken from the Roman tradition of giving the dead a coin to the grave so they can pay the ferryman over Styx.
The same really goes for his Revelator design. The only thing that really got carried from the previous incarnations was the spike driven through his head, as even the finger sticks he has have been redesigned to have golden rings instead of steel ones. The cape saw an overhaul with more slender and ragged feather ends to it with a hood, and much like with other Revelator designs, he has text stamped into him pretty much everywhere. He also looks far more slimmer, nearly anorexic.
The bird on his chest has been dropped, and while the cape governs most of his design, the constant raven references have been tidied down to the YATA reading on his crosses. This is of course a direct nod at Yatagarasu, or the Three-Legged Crow. The bird from his chest has been moved unto the cape’s back. The second element that governs his design are the two, immensely large belt buckles on his waist. These two don’t keep anything up and are simply for showcase. Raven’s design overall is rather neat, but I would argue that the existence of these two bits drops its effectiveness. Prior to this designs, Raven has been rather lean and lacking in any bulky accessory, and now he has these two. The weird thing is that in-game these two buckles are much smaller and sit far more in his sides rather than in front of him. His lanky outfit also is supplemented by his baggy pants with generic metal plates on them, which of course don’t seem to have any weight to them.
Raven’s design is contrastive to the rest of the cast in that it’s very 2010’s in every regard. From the broken neon-mint straps on his shoulders to the bandage design on his torso, it looks more like how a modern designer would create a Guilty Gear character. The rest of his colour scheme is very subdued, laden with broken colours outside the white and black. He looks the part, but perhaps
The last two notable things, outside his open shirt he wears, is that his hood has what looks likes eyes, and the rest of the spike on his forehead forms a raven’s head. The second one is that Raven uses his cape to fly, like Gatchaman. Raven’s edgy, and he looks the part.
Now, until redesigned newcomer, Elphelt.
Whoever decided that Elphelt needed a redesign because of plot reasons should’ve gone back to the workbench. The overall character silhouette is still the same and recognizable, but the amount of tweaks is large.
First off, she doesn’t haven have a wedding gown any more. She now dons more or less a dress and with a corset with black undergarments. These garments are largely the key to her design look, as they are ragged and ripped, unlike her original trim and proper “strawberry” patterned one. She lost the bulky half belt and spiked ends in exchange for a white-striped black belt with only two hanging crosses. One big one without a red centre sits on her left hip. Strange that they didn’t that consistent.
Original design had spikes, or rose thorns around her body, and the redesign pretty much just paints them black. Elphelt changed her gloves though, and the wrist belts grew in width, as did the buckle on them. She lost her spiky bow and replaced it with what looks like a black tiara. She also lost her soft collar with the clover, which got replaced with a large dog’s collar with a chain coming from the back.
What was pink is now green, and what was red is now black, outside the roses on her back. Her hair lost its colour and went white, and the laces she had from her hair and under her bust are gone. While her expression hasn’t changed, her eyes are more green with far smaller pupils. The rose markings on her headdress/hat’s “ears” were also replaced with something else.
The change Elphelt went through, visually speaking, is from pure bride to a more Gothic one, someone who has gone through some rough shit. Spoilers here, but in Xrd she’s a sleeper agent, programmed to get close to the main cast, observe them and ultimately taken them down. Seeing how she’s very bright, smiling and positively lovely, being used in that way really dents her conscious self-image, and the redesign reflects this. Then again, being a Gear with developed feelings must suck. Her nature in Revelator is partly amnesic, remembering the basic points, but e.g. can’t remember who Mother was.
However, I must say that the redesign is not all that successful. While both contain some elements of wedding as a theme, Revelator version should’ve stand more apart from the original. Going with black and white is far too obvious choice. The collar on her neck should’ve really been much smaller, as it looks tacky, maybe the worst huge-as-hell accessory in the franchise and that’s saying something. However, much like with Raven’s two buckles, the collar looks more reasonable in size in-game.
Despite the plot changes, pretty much all of her animations and after-match scenes are largely unchanged, giving this redesign overall a half assed feeling. Even Elphelt’s Instant Kill stayed the same, despite being a right opportunity to play with her new status. At least Elphelt got a new intro, which was pretty much the only thing couldn’t get away with. If her redesign was supposed to reflect her shattered persona, all that’s coming through is the easy way they chose to go with.
Elphelt also has larger hips in the new illustration, and I think we all can approve that.
Next time, whenever that is, maybe we’ll tackle Sin and Leo. Unless Dizzy is revealed.