|Arc System Works
| The Good
Sweet 2D visuals
Fun, fast paced gameplay
Relatively solid soundtrack
Fresh and original characters
| The Bad
Somewhat shallow experience
As any self-respecting fighting game fan would know, the
2D Fighting genre has been around for more than 15 years.
Over this long period of time, it's only normal that the genre
gets a fair share of clichés. The main game that is subject
to being ripped off is the Street Fighter series. Ever
since the first one hit the block, many companies have stolen
many key elements in gameplay and character design (to name
a few). It's hard to find a fresh and innovative fighter with
the sea of worthless imitators and cash cows. Thankfully,
developer Sammy didn't take that route and came up with something
fun and original.
The first thing you'll notice when you start playing are
the Hi-res sprites which bring this game to life. Many companies
forget to incorporate modern technology to their titles (Capcom,
I'm looking right at you and your ugly, pixilated sprites),
thus hurting the game's flare. Fortunately, this is not the
case with Sammy's new brawler. In addition to some sweet background
and fluid animation, this shows just how well the Playstation
2 can handle the 2D side of things. The clean and ultra vibrant
colors also add to the title's already slick style. Each character
sprite is big and fluidly animated, thus rounding out this
graphical power house.
The music is composed of some upbeat heavy metal - each background
has it's own track to match the mood. While some people may
find the heavy metal a welcome addition, others will be pushing
the mute button. I personally thought the music went well
with the game's already aggressive and fresh style. Not the
best stuff in the world, but decent enough. The sound effects
are equally solid, sporting all your bashing and slashing
noises from other titles. My main gripe in the sound department
is the announcer - I could never understand anything he said,
all I could make out were a few queer grunts and growls, which
The story revolves around some all-powerful warriors called
"Gears" - you have to stop these guys before they take over
the world. The character you choose is the one that stops
the powerful "Gears". Upon playing the Arcade mode, there
are no cut-scenes, or anything to keep the story going. In
the end, all you get is a measly picture. With little in the
way of extras, this brings down the game's overall score.
In my opinion, GGX's greatest strength lies in the
unique character designs. Each of the 16 characters are bursting
with personality. Yeah, sure, they borrow a few pages from
Capcom and SNK's franchises, mainly in the character fighting
style (you've got your slow, big-hitting character, fast but
nimble characters etc.), but overall Sammy has out done themselves
in the character development.
The gameplay is about as traditional as 2D fighters go. We
have our four attack buttons - hit X for a kick attack, Square
to punch, Triangle for a slash attack, and Circle for a hard-hitting
Heavy Slash attack. Now you're probably wondering what a "Slash"
attack is, well, each fighter has his or her own special weapon,
including swords, small blades, and even flags. When pressing
Triangle or Circle, your character uses his or her weapon
causing a bit of damage. The game also features every other
thing any Capcom or SNK fighter has, including air combos,
dash ins, and projectile attacks.
A major element to Guilty Gear's gameplay is the overdrive
gauge, similar to that of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2's - the
more damage you do, the more you gauge builds. With this gauge
you can pull off a variety of special moves, and instant kills.
This addition adds a little strategy to the mix, and could
turn one-sided match upside down.
My major beef with the game are the button-masher friendly
qualities. The blocking techniques are relatively useless
and the game rewards you (by filling up your overdrive gauge)
for your aggressive style. This throws almost every strategic
element right out the window. Some of the fighter's moves
can also be abused (like the air combos for instance) resulting
in a cheap win. While these qualities are enjoyable for your
average casual gamer, I'd much rather have more emphasis placed
on defense and strategy.
All in all, anyone looking for a good 2D fighter for their
Playstation 2 - look no further. Hardcore Capcom and SNK fans
may be turned off by the games offensive gameplay. Personally,
I'd recommend Capcom Vs. SNK 2 and Marvel Vs. Capcom
2 over this title any day. But if Street Fighter
isn't your bag - check this gem out.