Apparently this was originally just GGXXAC on PS3, but got updated to "Plus R"--in fact, you can still go into the menus and switch it back to AC--of even Plus, I think--if you wanted to, for some reason.
I could swear the horizontal movement speed feels slower than in Guilty Gear X (see entry 1381), which was bothering me at first, as it was in Xrd -Revelator-; but AC+R has so much craziness in it that it's hard to resist--it has the manic, crazy charm that Xrd lacked.
The graphics *are* weirdly scaled and aliased, unlike the perfect pond smoothness of the VGA high res on Dreamcast with GGX, but the smoothing filter you can apply...actually fixes it without feeling blurry. Impressively done.
The sound balance of the game is all over the place. Old stages still around since GGX now have so many graphical additions that they're incredibly distracting at first as you just try to take in the huge profusion of detail, and even many of the newer stages are very busy. But the whole game is busy, screaming (there are three separate volume settings--music, voice, and SFX--and each has a different numeric default value, like the main designer hand-tweaked it and said no, don't balance them to the same number, leave it here as I have set it), madcap--and yet, fun.
The fighting system is more complex, but not (well, I ignore Dust, which is now on a fifth, separate button, but I still ignored it in GGX when it was S+HS :P) overwhelming, ie you can mash out chain combos and still have plenty of fun that way--although I still am not used to using the huge, pulsing BURST mechanic to get out of the more frequent long chains the AI now puts you in. The old characters all have more attacks, more animations, more graphics and sounds, more options, more life. I'm not a fan of all the new characters, some are just so obscurely bizarre that they're hard to appreciate or even understand just what you're supposed to be looking at or fighting as, at least to start with. But Kliff from the first game, the small stocky guy with his huge cleaver, is back, and that's fun, and there's some kind of pink mecha dragon woman with beam attacks, which is awesome, and a noodly vampire with mega necro punching power that is just a hoot.
And the modes! Almost too many single-player modes (there's online too, I don't know if it was good of if it's still capable of making matches, but it didn't kick me off...). There's regular Arcade mode, there's M.O.M., a sort of medal-juggling score attack thing similar to the medal mode option you could flip on in GGX, there's Survival, an awesome descent against progressively crazier versions of the cast, like in GGX but now you can also choose attributes of your character to boost from time to time, although you can disable that if you prefer, there's a very challenging Vs. mode, which really is probably all you need--the did it right here, medium difficulty is a really tough challenge already--there are 3-on-3 team player and vs CPU modes, KOF-style--man just one of these had me gasping by the end--there's a story mode with really well written story-and-character-to-this-point text pieces at the beginning, followed by horrible character dialogue between arbitrary battles...but if you skip the incredibly bad dialogue, with a single press of the Start button, you do at least have a mode of a particular set of single-round battles for each character...uh where was I, oh there's a Mission mode with various fixed challenges against stat-boosted AIs (they feel a bit unfairly godlike; I guess it would take a lot of time to work through these but that's really not my kind of grind), and oh the usual 2P VS, and an unlockable gallery of course.
I said "WOW" about 50 times while trying just to skim through this madness. I've got to come back to this, and I still won't know where to start, it's awesome.
At the end--with Sol--I finally figured out that on the character select screen, you can toggle through three extra colors per character with the...well, I was hitting the Select button on my PS3/PS4 arcade stick, but I think it might actually be whatever button you have bound to the game's "Taunt" function.
1'34"02 - Limit Break! So you can have this option on (it's on by default) to, after beating one of the "shadow" or whatever souped-up mini-boss opponents every 20 "levels" in Survival mode, pick a skill ("Skill Select") to add to your character; some of these heal you, or increase your physical attributes, but some (this is according to the GGXXACP FAQ on GameFAQs by Yandy Kusanagi) are "Benefits" that give other abilities.
I started picking a bunch of those with Sol. Huh the FAQ says you can only have 3 active, though. "Life Recovery" gives constant health regeneration! And the really crazy one I got seemed to be "Limit Break"--ah I thought maybe it just gave automatic move cancels, but the FAQ says it in fact makes all your attacks Counter Hits, which I guess must freeze the opponent for a moment for an easy follow-up combo attack--but Limit Break also makes it so that you can't guard!! Which explains why fights got really quick and ridiculous after that, I suppose. Talk about risk/reward!! : ooo ... Not practical probably but it's actually super-fun. ^_^
Hmmm Yandy's FAQ indicates that the game's difficulty setting *does* affect Survival mode! Didn't realise that. I guess the default Normal or whatever is working about right for now though. (Also apparently you unlock color and "Ex Mode" of a character when you beat their "Shadow" version, and the color of "Gold" versions of the characters (haven't got that far yet : oooo...oh man those don't come until lvl 620!!) when you beat them. : o)
Correction: toggle the three extra character colors on the Character Select screen with the "Respect" button (taunt function--I had it bound to L2). (Select button backs out.) Five standard colors are on the (remapped) five attack buttons.
Survival mode lasts 1000 "levels," and I didn't even get half that far, but it still took 1.5 hours! This could start to be a problem. : ooP
Pressing the "Respect" button on the character select screen toggles through three extra colors per character (in addition to the normal 5 on the P/K/S/HS/D buttons): EX COLOR, SLASH COLOR, RELOAD COLOR. I normally find Ky kinda milquetoast, but man his EX COLOR, while totally stereotypically super goth...is still super-rad! He still talks kinda milquetoasty, but man, he look like a total bad-ass with the red sword, dude! Booya! Etc. ^_^ Seriously it is pretty cool.
So I was actually jazzed to play Ky for once and then it turned out that he actually kicks a heck of a lot of booty. : o That sword of his is so big it hits everything. His uppercut is surprisingly hard to hit with, but his supers are *really* handy, and he's got big easy combos. I suppose everyone else already knew this but I'd been mostly avoiding him all this time. ; )
Getting that far in Survival seems to have unlocked a lot of EX characters! Now when highlighting most of the characters in the character select menu, a "Press Start" prompt appears, and doing that pops up a select menu where you choose between their normal or EX version. I gave EX Ky a quick try, and he seems mostly the same, but some of his moves are different, so, there you go I guess. Will I have to try Survival moves with all the EX characters too? : o I suppose they probably unlock when you beat one or other of their boss versions in Survival.
One funny thing about this run was that I hardly got offered any new abilities at all--whereas, in my little EX Ky jaunt, I got offered the coveted health regeneration ability at only level 40! : ooo
The "R" update, which was there when I downloaded the game just months ago, is now no longer available; when downloaded from the store, the game is version 1.00, without the "R" version toggle option under Help & Options - Game Settings, and selecting the game with the Triangle button on the PS3 XMB and choosing "Check for Update" returns "The latest version is installed."
The lack of the R update was pointed out to me by a viewer on YouTube. I've asked Arc about it via their Twitter @ArcSystemWorksU Twitter account and their https://arcsystemworks.com/contact/ web contact form; hopefully I'll hear back and this will all turn out to have been a temporary mix-up.
I don't have the Japanese PSN version so I'm not sure if that one still has the update available.
Why it went away and how it came back is a mystery. Arc's only reply to my filling out their web contact form was an email to say that the PS3 version of Accent Core was published by Aksys Games, not them.
I replied, saying this appeared to be incorrect, but Arc did not reply again. I called Aksys (unlike Arc, Aksys gives a phone contact number in addition to their contact form), and they made a very thorough check, finding that they did *not* publish the PS3 version (they published the PS2 version, also I think--according to GameFAQs--PSP and Vita versions).
My subsequent attempts to fill out Arc's contact form were timing out, so yesterday, the 4th of March, I tried a direct email to the address by which they had replied to my first and only successful use of their contact form, firstname.lastname@example.org. I told them that Aksys had determined they were not the publishers, that the PS Store page for the game lists Arc as the publisher, that Arc's web site entry for the game -- https://arcsystemworks.com/game/guilty-gear-xx-accent-core-plus-r-2/ -- mentions no other company (and it hypes the R update extensively, including for the PS3 version), that only Arc's name appears during the game's start up and on the title screen, and that GameFAQs and Wikipedia both say Arc is the publisher; and then I described the problem of the missing 1.01 "R" update again. I have not received a reply to this email.
Another facet of all this is that the game's Network mode had stopped working: selecting it would lead to an error screen saying "Disconnected from PlayStation Network" or something like that, and returning you to the game's main menu. Switching out to the XMB showed I was still connected to PSN, however. Then, on March 3rd, seven years to the day since the 1.01 R update came out in North America, according to Wikipedia, Network mode started working again--at least, I could get in, search for games, and start a room; didn't get into a match as I didn't find other players.
One possible explanation could be that the server had been rolled back to version 1.00. I was unable to find anyone with version 1.01 still installed, who could have checked if they were at that point able to use Network mode. My version had a "Kliff&Justice" disabling option available, and that--I'm guessing--was a 1.00-specific option, since one of the changes listed for the 1.01 "R" update was balancing those characters for Network play (the update mostly had to do with Network mode adjustments, as far as is listed).
But today, the YouTube user who first told me they had just bought the game but couldn't get the R update got back in touch and said it was working--and indeed it is: the R update is downloading and installing again, (and Network mode is available). (And Arc's web contact form is working again.)