Guilty Gear -Strive- – Preview
Follow Genre: Fighting Game
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Arc System Works
Platform: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Guilty Gear -Strive- – Preview

Good: Really does its famous character roster right
Bad: Beta didn't seem that balanced yet and a bit messy in general structure
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Guilty Gear is a big player in the fighting games scene. If you never heard of it, it was a bit of a latecomer that started in 1998, following a popular decade of fighting games. That being said, it immediately stood out with its special character roster and explosive combat. It’s serious about competitive fighting, and we got to check this out first-hand with the Closed Beta of the latest addition named ”Guilty Gear -Strive-”.

After a bumpy start of the Beta, we eventually got to check out some battles versus CPU opponents, as well as real online enthusiasts. Enthusiasts being the right word as the CPU seemed to be very easy compared to real players (and reviewers) who got to be in the Beta. As far as the game showed us, there will be multiple game modes in the future, but a certain lobby and progression system was the only thing we got access to. You make an avatar that’s as serious or quirky as you like, and you are put on one of ten floors. Each floor is home to players of your skill level, where the first is the easiest and the tenth the very hardest, though during this beta we barely noticed the difference.

There are numerous things to do in a lobby that belongs to your floor. Some are obscurely hidden for no apparent reason, such as a bartender who can tell you the skill list of the single fighting character that you want to represent you. Others seem a bit out of place on the PS4, such as typing a lot, hence we didn’t see anybody saying anything customized. The entire lobby is arranged as one would arrange a 2D chat room with avatars walking around, which might be a bit of a weird choice for a fighting game. Especially since it seems all too messy when you get players to overlap while trying to challenge each other and such, which you do by either standing still and pressing a ”ready” button until somebody challenges you, or by challenging somebody who has done so himself.

When you (finally) get somebody to agree to fight you, there’s no such thing as a character selection screen as you have chosen your preferred character before challenging somebody. You can even see who will play what character before you challenge, which abolishes some of the classic fighting game experience.

It’s good to see that besides that, Guilty Gear still is the same as it uses the same character roster but with updates. Each character now looks much more hand-drawn with clean animations like it would in a manga compared to the pixelated characters when the first 1998 release came, and it’s also better and cleaner than the last game (Guilty Gear Xrd) from a few years ago. All characters have their own unique auto hanging around them but are divided into balanced, ranged, speedy, and powerful. This does make a difference depending on what you prefer to play, as well as that some characters are way harder to follow visually thanks to their special skills, or can provide to be real tricksters.

The battles set off with great explosive hard rock/metal music, and matches are based upon the classic two–out-of-three-system. New players will definitely need a tutorial in the full game, as the input that’s needed to control your character to its fullest potential is not as intuitive as most other games, and the strongest special powers go unexplained. Other than that, the game actually plays really smooth and it’s incredible to see how characters with such different sizes, skills, and potential manage to feel balanced when they are put up against each other.

Guilty Gear keeps the same old potential with six buttons that allow you to punch and kick (close combat), slash and heavy slash (more range), dust (escape/breaker) and a taunt button that’s for the over-confident. That being said, it does manage to feel new in a way with the newer graphics and slight reworks of characters that are aging well. Other than that, we don’t know much though. The Open Beta had a lot of focus on competitive-heavy gameplay and had a lot of things that it didn’t show yet, but at least we can say with confidence that it’s heading the right direction for fans and veterans. For new players, probably some more things need to happen first.

Conclusion

Guilty Gear -Strive- has great visuals, explosive combat, and a nice soundtrack, and really bring the ever-existing characters that are in every Guilty Gear game the respect they deserve. That being said, during the Open Beta we felt that the game was not as accessible to new players yet, and the 2D chat room lobby is a bit of a weird choice that doesn’t really improve the game’s experience as much. To truly see the game being balanced out for players of each and every skill, we will probably have to wait until the full release takes place.

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Guilty Gear -Strive- - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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