Will’s Game Review: Guilty Gear – Strive –

Will’s Game Review: Guilty Gear - Strive -

William Smith, Sting Reporter

Guilty Gear is back, better, and simpler than ever. I should probably explain Guilty Gear first, however, because it’s a fighting game that isn’t as well known next to the fighting game giants such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Tekken (I really like fighting games if that wasn’t clear already). So the first Guilty Gear game came out in 1998 and had good reception for it’s fast, snappy gameplay and the ability to just be able to get in and do practically anything you want due to the game’s unique combo system known as gatling combos. Gatling combos pretty much let you press one button right after another, like a gatling gun, and have it combo into one another. All of the intense rushdown features of the game created a large fanbase. It even brought in a large casual audience because if you just wanted to get in and do whatever you want and just press some buttons to watch some cool stuff happen, you could. Now with the most recent entry of the Guilty Gear series, Guilty Gear -Strive-, how have things changed or improved since the last game that was released in 2017. Let’s take a look.

Guilty Gear -Strive-, released on June 11, 2021, went for a more simplified approach with combos, now prioritizing basic combos with cool, flashy special moves that feel like they carry impact. Gatling combos have been removed and now every character has high-damage potential with only a couple moves. Guilty Gear as a whole has had a mechanic called Roman Cancels that allows players to cancel literally any move possible in the game from normals, specials, and even supers. I guess I should talk about the moves too. So there are 5 types of normal moves in the game and they are Punch, Kick, Slash, Heavy Slash, and Dust attacks. Punches and Kicks are some of your fastest moves but are some of the weakest and often are your combo starters. Slash attacks are used for good poke options and combo extenders, as they have far range and fair damage. Heavy Slash and Dust attacks are often used for combo enders and high damage but have extremely different properties. Heavy Slashes are very good for roman cancels to get some good damage and for continuing combos. Dust attacks bring about an entirely different approach. Holding down and then doing the Dust attack allows you to do a sweep attack, knocking them on the ground and allowing you to put more pressure on them. Holding forward and then pressing Dust attack allows you to do a grab. Grabs are good if your opponent is very defensive and you want to get them to stop. Holding up and doing a Dust attack allows you to launch your opponent up in the air to follow them up in the sky to do major amounts of damage. All of the moves are very basic on a face level but are all integral to combos and an overall game plan. One thing that hasn’t changed in Guilty Gear -Strive- is the fast-paced, insane movement. Every character besides Potemkin and Nagoriyuki have a forward, back and airdash. You are rewarded by moving forward by giving you some meter to spend on Roman Cancels and the game even gives you a negative penalty and takes away ALL of your meter for backing away and not fighting. While -Strive- has less characters than the last iteration, it also has a vast amount of character archetypes for you to play. You want a fairly easy character that is a fair, all-rounder? Then Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske are the characters for you. You want a glass cannon with faster speed than anyone else? Chipp Zanuff is here for you to play as . A big bodied grappler that can do 40% damage from just a single command grab? Potemkin is your guy. What about a character whose whole basis is how random his playstyle and moves can be? Well, Faust is here. How about a character that likes to fight from a distance while also doing well up close? Axl Low and Ramlethal Valentine exist for that reason. Literally almost every play style imaginable is present in Guilty Gear -Strive-. The online portion of the game is also phenomenal. This is hands down, the best online connection I’ve ever seen in my many years of playing fighting games. I have yet to have a single problem with the online, it’s that good. With the ranked section of the game, the more matches you win means you go up a floor on a tower where other stronger and tougher opponents await you. There are also casual matches that just allow you to play against anyone despite your rank or anything. It really is a good blend of what the online portion of a fighting game should be. Winning fights, online and offline, will also give you in-game currency that you can spend on fishing to get customization for your lobby character, pieces of artwork, new music, and even character skins and the best part is that that currency can’t be bought with real money so nothing is locked behind a paywall. The only thing that can be bought are the DLC characters and some alternate colors for characters that are released, but that just makes sense. So after all my praise of the game, let me get to my final thoughts.

First off, let me just say that I wholeheartedly agree with the choice of -Strive- getting the award of best fighting game of 2021 at The Game Awards. I absolutely think that this game is a 10/10. Just how fun and how smooth everything is just cements it in my top ten fighting games of all time. Playing it with friends is some of the most fun I’ve had in recent memory with any game. I have no problems with this game. It is exactly what I think of when I think of what fighting games should be, and don’t even get me started on the music. Everything culminates to create the perfect experience and as I already said, I give this game a 10/10.