If you’ve ever taken a serious interest in fighting games, and not just drove Mortal Kombat in a big company on the holidays, then the name Guilty Gear may sound familiar. This is a fairly niche game series from Arc System Works, the creators of Dragon Ball FighterZ and the BlazBlue series, which, nevertheless, has managed to gather around itself not the largest, but a devoted army of fans over the years. And Guilty Gear Strive will definitely appeal to them, while not disregarding a less hardcore audience that is not yet familiar with the series. Because this is, without exaggeration, the most beautiful and driving 2D fighting game today.
Strive is an exemplary work that adds deep game mechanics to the stunning visuals that justify the phrase “easy to learn, hard to learn”. The pace of the gameplay was slightly reduced compared to the previous games in the series (or even in DBZ), they added huge prompts on the screen, made a little less emphasis on combos of dozens of hits, and made the hits themselves more “heavy” and “evil”. which made it possible to update the gameplay formula. The game feels more tactical, thoughtful, and responsive, as well as the chance to counterattack and flip battles. At the same time, it remains quite accessible and friendly to button-mashing, that is, leaving a lot of fun for those who play from time to time, just for fun.
And if all the other game elements were updated in the same way as the basic game mechanics, the project would just get a 10 out of 10, and there would be nothing to discuss. In fact, he has enough strengths and various flaws that do not allow us to say that this game is recommended to everyone.
Therefore, it is worth starting to deal with the shortcomings in detail. Unfortunately, this category includes almost everything that the game developers have prepared for solo players. Including the plot component. In general, looking back, it cannot be said that Arc System Works has ever made story-driven games, and always the presentation of the story was, let’s say, specific. This time, instead of a story-driven walkthrough, they prepared a 4-hour anime on the engine, which looks great, except for the moments when the characters are running somewhere (they are sliding instead) or … are fighting. For some reason, combat scenes look pale, especially when compared to gameplay. In addition, for viewing it would be nice to know the plot of the game series, so it will be at least not very interesting for beginners to watch. Better to dive right into the fighting.
The rest of the solo content is tailored for the player’s training, and although we are taught all the basics and even the specific tactics of different characters, most of the techniques have to be learned from team sheets, not challenges, which would make it easier to dive into game mechanics. Fortunately, you can queue up for a multiplayer match from practice, but it’s worth spending some time learning how to hit. And for some reason, fighting with a dummy for training is sometimes more interesting than in arcade mode, which is strange.
Another problem is the 2D multiplayer lobby. With an avatar, floors and the like. It looks cute and presents a kind of mini-game, but quickly becomes boring, although both time and effort were spent on the entire system.
However, all these shortcomings do not interfere with the gameplay in any way. As soon as it comes to battles, the game is fully revealed and all the flaws are immediately disappeared from the head. 15 detailed, thoughtful and well-balanced characters with completely different fighting styles provide the player with a huge space to experiment and find a fighter that suits his style. And some also have unique mechanics, like Nagoriyuki (he can transform into a berserker form and gets a unique Overdrive move). Therefore, it does not matter whether you like fast fighters who can deliver a lot of blows and immediately break the distance, or prefer tanks that can withstand this series of blows in the face and then trample the enemy into the ground in 2-3 combos – for fans of any of the strategies there is, Whom to choose.
The battles are made in the best traditions of 2D games, that is, you always see the fighters on the screen, fully possess information about what is happening around you, and at the same time you can also use the environment. Arenas offer the opportunity, using a special technique during combo attacks, to transfer the battle to another part of the location, which adds dynamics. And the gorgeous full-screen effects this time, unlike Xrd, do not distract from the battle (although sometimes the eyes get tired of the effects on the screen, but this has already become the hallmark of fighting games from this developer company).
To match the great graphics and a stunning metal soundtrack, where vocals are present. Not distracting from the fight, but setting the right tone. It is amazing that, having played several dozen OST matches, not only did not get tired, but also asks for the player for separate listening.
And I would like to give a separate line of praise for the network code, thanks to which I had no problems with online matches. Even when connecting with players with high ping, it was possible to play more or less comfortably, and with players from the same region there are no lags and problems with animations at all, which would critically affect the feeling of the game.
As a result, Guilty Gear Strive turned out to be not only a great fighting game for fans, but just a great fighting game for everyone. Moderately accessible, with an excellent picture, amazing music, and varied enough that after 2 weeks of active play I would like to continue again and again. Therefore, if you are not afraid of the almost complete absence of a coherent single-game, you are ready to train and love to fight online with other people, it is not recommended to skip Strive.