The fighting game genre has always had different meanings for different players. For some, battles against bots are enough, for some it is a reason to meet with friends, someone prefers to conquer the peaks in the rating mode, and the most experienced go to esports. That is why it is not so easy to evaluate these games according to some specific criteria, because a plus for one person can be a serious minus for another. In this review, I will try to tell you about Guilty Gear: Strive through the lens of a non-hardcore fan of the series, who is familiar only with the previous part.
The first thing worth talking about is the combat system, because if it is not fun, then all the advantages will fade. The game has remained the same complex and has retained many mechanics that add depth. For every action there is a reaction, for which, in turn, there is also a countermeasure. There are such things as Psych Burst, Roman Cancel, Faultless Defense and other words incomprehensible to the average gamer.
The combo needs to be done quickly and clearly, and if you gape for even a split second, you may not complete it. And some of them are really difficult to do and you will have to get used to the timings. Super techniques are also performed by pressing far from a couple of buttons. So fans don’t have to worry about the elaboration of the combat system. By the way, Guilty Gear: Strive has an excellent tutorial mode that details the main important mechanics.
What I was a little upset about was the removal of Stylish Mode. Yes, many players have criticized this mode, so they will only be happy about its absence. The bottom line is that it makes combos a lot easier. However, this method was great for occasional get-togethers with acquaintances who do not play fighting games very often. My friend and I periodically launched GUILTY GEAR Xrd Rev. 2 and played, as they say, “for fun”, without memorizing complex combinations. Now this is impossible.
There are plenty of modes in Guilty Gear: Strive. When you first enter, you are offered to go to the Tutorial, where you can try out the combat system against a stationary opponent. Quite a strange choice, because he does not teach anything and does not even give any advice. I find the Missions mode most useful, where you take turns completing the required tasks that will definitely come in handy in battle: from simple strikes and strafes to incredibly difficult combos. There is also a Training mode, in which the inactive enemy constantly regains health, and the buttons pressed are visible on the left.
Otherwise, everything is standard: you can play against real players through online multiplayer, fight with someone behind one screen, or you can put a bot against yourself by choosing a difficulty level. In addition, there is an Arcade where you fight enemies one after another, as well as Survival, in which health is not restored between battles.
In multiplayer, there is both a rating mode with its own leaderboard, and quick matches that do not affect statistics. It is allowed to create your own room to invite friends there.
The plot has almost always been the weakest in all fighting games. Even if the developers managed to tell a really interesting and exciting story, then the gameplay was usually not so good. More often than not, we just fought against different heroes (and the battles turned out to be far-fetched), and in the meantime we watched the video.
The developers of the Guilty Gear series games decided not to bother about this at all – they just took the videos and threw them into a separate menu item. This was the case in the last part and nothing has changed in Guilty Gear: Strive. In story mode, we are forced to watch cutscenes without any gameplay. In fact, this is a full-fledged anime built into the game.
There are quite a few playable characters in Guilty Gear: Strive – only 15. Among them there are both already familiar and completely new ones. The complete list looks like this:
- Sol badguy
- Ky Kiske
- Axl Low
- Chipp zanuff
- Milla rage
- Zato = 1
- Ramlethal valentine
- Leo whitefang
- Anji mito
A small number of characters could be justified by the fact that at the launch of the last game there were also few of them. However, I only recently played GUILTY GEAR Xrd Rev. 2 and it feels like a serious downgrade to me. It is clear that new ones will appear over time, but a lot of time will pass before that. Also, do not forget that additional characters according to the canons of the genre will have to be bought for real money.
The soundtrack in Guilty Gear: Strive is almost the best there is in the game. Now I’m not belittling other aspects, such as gameplay and graphics, but on the contrary, I’m trying to explain how cool the music is here. The matches are accompanied by great driving songs that set the tone for the battles, not just the background for what is happening. Sometimes you want to pause the game and just enjoy it.
I rarely add game soundtracks to my playlist – the last time I did it with Persona 5. Now songs from Guilty Gear: Strive will take their rightful place on my list.
Guilty Gear: Strive is a great and challenging fighting game that comes with a new season of the anime series and a great rock album. The game is not at all friendly to beginners and not very suitable for playing with a friend who came to visit you. However, the new installment in the series can still offer a polished balance, deep gameplay with many mechanics, interesting characters and a beautiful anime-style picture.